Have you ever been to a chamber of commerce event or any kind of networking event, where there was that one self-promoting person that comes up to you, hands you their business card and says something corny like, “If you ever need a ______, I’m the one for you”…
Think about how you feel when you are approached by someone that is trying to push you in a direction to hire or buy, do you feel good or do you want to get the heck away from them? This is why selling has such a negative image today.
I am very surprised about how many “gurus” online are telling us that we need to “sell” ourselves. But I am going to have to disagree with them! And here is why…
Selling is annoying
I have found that people that are always trying to sell themselves are often very self-centered, annoying, pushy and willing to throw people under the bus to to make themselves look good. Now, if you like those qualities, you might want to stop reading and go to another site that promotes annoying your prospects, but for those of you that don’t, there is a better way.
It’s important to know that you may not always be trying to sell yourself, but you are always branding yourself. Everything you do, say, don’t do, and don’t say is branding you. In other words, people are creating an image or perception of you by what you are expressing. For example, if you are a very caring person that is always doing nice things for people, others will see that and have that image about you. But, if you say you like caring for people, but you are always a jerk to people, you will be viewed as a hypocrite and will have a negative image in their minds.
The same holds true for your business, everything you post via social media, every interaction you have with a prospect at Starbucks, every email you send out, it’s all telling others something about you… Your brand.
So if you are always branding yourself, why would you want to try to sell yourself? If you can express a brand image that others will love, there is no need try to sell and promote yourself. In fact, once you start trying to sell yourself, you risk turning people off. Keep in mind, I am not talking about big corporations like Apple where you expect to see all their updates about them and their products. I am talking about your personal brand that can carry over into your corporate brand.
My own experience with a self-promoter
There is a lady I know online that is a consultant, she is always promoting herself. She will post pictures of quotes from famous people and add her web site link at the bottom of the picture, as if her company is responsible for what Abraham Lincoln said. She will promote her web site or a sales page 95% of the time via social media, instead of engaging people. What she is doing is selling herself and let me tell you, it’s getting old! But, at the same time she is also branding herself.
She is branding herself as a self-promoter. Isn’t that a shame?! I’m sure she is very good at what she does and if she focused on adding value instead of promoting her, she would hold a totally different image in my mind (and most likely many others as well).
The main point here is, you should be strategically branding you and don’t worry about selling yourself. People do not like being sold, so why would you try to do something they don’t like?
Here are 4 steps that you can do to make sure you are strategically branding you and not self-promoting:
- Have a clear definition of what your brand is. Know what you are wanting to express and what you are not. Define what you stand for and what you don’t. Know what the message is you want to express. Be real and not fake.
- Focus on offering value to your target audience. This does not mean you spam them with self-promotional posts, Tweets and updates. Know who your target audience is and what they like, then give them that. This way, when you post something like your latest blog post or something you are offering, it wont come across as spam. When you offer value, people will begin to take notice and view you as an authority.
- Engage and build rapport. This is where you build the approachability factor in your brand. Which means you show people how you are a real person that cares about them. You strategically engage your target audience and build relationships with them. Because after all, isn’t business built on relationships?
- Be clear on what selling is and in what ways you do not like being approached, promoted to, mentioned, tagged, etc. and then, don’t do those things! In fact, do the opposite and you will stand out even more to your target audience.
We really need to stop selling and marketing to people in ways we do not like being marketed to ourselves. We need to be careful who we are taking business advice from and examine everything to make sure it is in-line with our core brand image and message.
Have you ever been approached by a self-promoter? What how did you feel? Please leave your comments bellow.