To Attract Attention, You have to Show Off
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a client of mine complained, "I'm really good
at what I do. I shouldn't have to market myself."
In fact, he is quite good at his profession, but the
problem is that not enough prospective clients know
about him. Like many professionals, he is reluctant
to talk about his accomplishments. "It feels
like bragging," he says. "Doesn't it make
me seem unprofessional?"
If thoughts like these often cross your mind, ask
yourself this -- who are the biggest names in your
profession? In your line of work, who might be considered
unquestioned experts, those with maximum credibility?
Now, how did you get to know about those people's
work? Did you read an article or book they had written,
hear them interviewed, learn about them on the web?
Or perhaps you were told about them by others who
had heard them speak or read their words.
The point is that these well-known people became well-known
because they showcased themselves, usually in multiple
ways. They shared stories, examples, and ideas about
the work they had been doing with a wider audience
than just their friends and family. You know about
their work because they showed it off. And I'll bet
it never occurred to you to call them unprofessional
for doing it.
Showing off your work doesn't have to sound like, "Ta da! Aren't I great?" It doesn't have
to contain even a hint of bragging. There are a host
of very dignified and appropriate ways to let a wider
audience know how good you are without ever saying
so. Here are a few you might try.
1. Writing articles - Putting your
expertise in writing and sharing it with publications
your target audience reads is a powerful -- and very
professional -- way to let more people know about
your unique talents. Submit your articles to both
print publications and web sites that serve your niche
and watch your visibility grow.
2. Public speaking - Appearing as
a speaker allows you to broadcast your expertise with
three different audiences -- the people who attend
your talk, the people who are invited by the sponsoring
organization but can't attend, and the people you
tell about it before and after. If standing in front
of a room makes you too nervous, serve on a panel
of experts instead. You'll get to sit behind a table
and speak from notes.
3. Media interviews - Being interviewed
by magazines, newspapers, or on radio and television
can spread the word quickly about your capabilities.
Landing interviews is not that hard to do if you remember
to start small. Begin by approaching easy targets
like association newsletters, neighborhood newspapers,
and local cable programs or talk radio.
4. Telling stories - One of the secrets
to effective articles, talks, and interviews is to
tell stories about your clients. When you describe
their challenges and accomplishments, you reveal the
value of your role in helping them without having
to boast about it. You can use the same technique
in a client presentation to boost your credibility
without being arrogant.
5. Testimonials - Whenever you do
a good job for a client, ask them to write you a simple
thank you note describing what you did to make them
happy. Then make their words available on your web
site, brochure, or other marketing materials. Let
them tell others about your value, and you won't have
to say it yourself.
6. Building a portfolio - It's not
just artists that should capture their best work to
show off in a portfolio. You can collect photos, examples,
and other evidence of your accomplishments and display
them on your web site, in a marketing kit, or with
a PowerPoint presentation. You don't have to sell
people on your abilities when they are seeing for
themselves what you can do.
7. Creating products - Packaging
your work into merchandise that prospective clients
can take home and sample gives them a compelling way
to discover your real value. Products like ebooks,
white papers, and audio recordings allow you to showcase
your expertise and increase your credibility. They
can often be advertised more widely than your services
can, giving you another avenue for getting your name
Pick just one of these ideas to pursue and make a
plan to showcase what you can do for a wider audience.
If you truly want to spend less effort on marketing
yourself, start letting your prospective clients know
how good you really are.
C.J. Hayden is the author of Get
Clients NOW! Thousands of business owners and salespeople
have used her simple sales and marketing system to
double or triple their income. Get a free copy of "Five Secrets to Finding All the Clients You'll
Ever Need" at http://www.getclientsnow.com
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