Do You Find It Easy or Difficult to 'Toot Your Own Horn?'
One of the biggest concerns I hear from my clients, almost on a daily basis, is “How can I market myself without being pushy?” or “How can I be assertive without being aggressive?”
A client’s story:
One of my clients, Shelley, came to the session bewildered. “I didn’t know approaching people and giving out my cards was going to be so difficult. I’m afraid I’m imposing on people and they won’t like me.”
As we explored further she began to remember that whenever her mother was assertive, she was judged by her father and terrible arguments would ensue. To protect herself, she decided she would be safe by not asking for what she wanted. That worked beautifully in her previous job, she explained, because she was a waitress and all she had to do was act charming and serve people.
“I like serving people and I like putting them at ease. I just feel anxious about approaching people and trying to sell them on my service.”
Reframing marketing yourself:
Shelley was making the mistake that a lot of entrepreneurs make which is to feel like they are sales people trying to manipulate a client into buying something. When I point out to my clients that it isn’t their job to “sell”, they start to wonder what to do. “Your job," I explain, “is to approach a prospective client with the attitude of giving, not taking.”
Ask yourself how you approach a prospective client? Do you get anxious, thinking “I have to make the sale” or do you approach with the attitude of “Wow, this person can really use my service, and I want to give them the gift of offering to help them.” Whether you’re a real estate agent helping others to buy and sell homes or whether you’re a coach helping your clients to live their dreams, in either case, you are giving of yourself.
Shelley’s story had a happy ending:
Once Shelley understood that her job is to give, not take, she started to give herself permission to be assertive. She released the old belief that it wasn’t safe to be assertive and realized her safety now depends on her success and her success depends on being able to “toot her own horn.” She concluded the session that there’s nothing to be nervous about. All you need to do is realize that what you have to offer is valuable and being willing to communicate that in a consistent way.
Questions to ask yourself:
- Am I convinced that what I offer is valuable?
- Am I willing to communicate that on a consistent level?
- What is my "Unique" selling point?
- How can I be assertive without being aggressive? (It depends on whether you see yourself giving or taking.)
(Maya Bailey, Ph.D. is a psychologist, life coach and a business coach. She specializes in helping real estate professionals who want more clients, more free time, and a better lifestyle to create confidence, a positive mindset, and a step-by-step blueprint for success.)
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