Friday, June 25, 2010

Self-Promotion that's Fun!

You are your business.
Do you have as many clients as you want?  Are you “landing” the type of clients that you want to work with?  Are you having fun doing what you do?  Okay, here is one more question… If you don't have the business of your dreams working with the people you want to work with, what can you do differently?  
The ability to promote yourself and your business is crucial to your continued growth.  People need to know who you are and what you do in order to hire you.  I understand for some of you this is tough.  The reason most of us started in the business we are in was more than likely to help others, not necessarily to focus on ourselves.  However, to be truly successful in business we need to do just that.  We need to find a way to become comfortable promoting our best product or service – ourselves and more importantly, our unique personality!  
Here’s why:
Unless people know about you and understand who you are they can’t hire you or use your services.   We are not talking about bragging here, we are talking about effective marketing!  The fact is, if you don’t promote yourself your potential clients may end up hiring those less qualified individuals instead of you.  You've given them no choice because you haven’t promoted yourself to them as an option.
If you think about it you have an obligation to promote yourself so that the clients that really need to work with you have a way to reach you (and not someone else).  The good news is this doesn't have to be an obnoxious task.
Here’s how:
The professionals that are successful at selling themselves and their services aren’t really selling at all.  They are promoting themselves in subtle, yet convincing ways.  They are allowing their prospects to get to know them.  They are building rapport and trust.  In a nutshell, they are just being themselves.  This is the first step in effective lead generation.
If you put yourself in situations where you allow people to experience you, you will have your pick of clients.  And they’ll be the best clients for you!  Feel good about promoting yourself by recognizing that marketing your professional services is nothing more than relationship building. 
Mainstream sales and advertising has sometimes given the marketing of professional services a bad rap.  When self-promotion is done right, it’s fun and rewarding, PLUS you can feel good about it.  Go out and be yourself with as many people as possible. The ones who are attracted to you will work the hardest for themselves.  They will also be the most valuable for you to have as clients.
Here are some fun & easy ways to promote yourself and what you do:
1.  Wear a name tag or logo ware that represents your company.
2.  Host client parties – invite past clients to a bbq, a coffee hour, brunch, wine & cheese – to thank them for their business.  They will appreciate the invitation & will most certainly remember you the next time they need you or someone they know could use your services.
3.  Become an expert and share your knowledge whether it’s writing an article or a blogs or an advice column.  Become a trusted resource.  It becomes apparent why someone should do business with you then.  It gives you the opportunity to show them your level of expertise and knowledge.
4.  Create opportunities to call your past clients like random monthly drawings.  Give away gift cards to local coffee shops or movie tickets.  The gift should not be more than $20 or $25.  What’s really important here is that it gives you the opportunity to get into your database and talk to the people in it. 
5.  Sponsor local sports teams and attend as many games as you can and bring water or snacks.  Great way to meet the community.  Don”t forget to wear that name tag when you do!
6.  Who are your customers?  What do they want to know?  Who do they need to hear it from?  Why not sponsor a mini workshop or information night in your local community.  Bring in guest speakers from industries that are parallel to yours.  For example, if you are a Realtor, hold a first time home buyer seminar and partner up with someone from the mortgage industry, a home inspector, a home stager etc.  You can each present a 20 minute workshop on your individual business and present the consumer issues that those in attendance want to know more about.  
7.  Instead of sending a typical marketing message via email why not make it a video message.  It can be a fun, short video that will definitely showcase your personality and make you stand out in a crowd!
8.  Become a volunteer.  Choose to give your time and talent to organizations that are important to you.  The people you meet through your volunteer work will see you as your genuine self and as a caring and generous individual.  Someone they want to work with!
9.  Use social media to build an online profile.  Platforms like Facebook give you an exceptional opportunity to utilize low or no cost marketing opportunities.  The user base is huge, now about a billion registered users on Facebook alone – which means many of your customers are already there and many new customers are waiting!  We talked about blogs and video blogs earlier, there are so many opportunities available to small business owners today via the internet and social media networks.
Social media networks are worth using if you can use them effectively.  Profiles on these sites can boost awareness about your business as they can contain pertinent information about your products and services.  So they extend your brand and your relationship with customers.  Twitter and Facebook offer two-way communication as well doubling or tripling the average number of people you can communicate with in one day.  And don’t be afraid to show your personality either. 
I could share so many more ideas, they are truly endless.  Mostly because so are the opportunities!  Leads for your business are truly everywhere!  Generating new leads for your business must be a #1 priority for you.  It is how you will support your business and its growth.  You come in contact with people everyday, don’t be shy about self-promotion and most importantly have fun! 
Remember, people do business with people they like.  So get out everyday and show people not just what you do but show them who you are!

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