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A question that I like to ask my audiences is, "How many of you feel comfortable marketing yourself at any given opportunity?" I'm amazed to see how few hands go up every time I ask this question. On an average, 87 percent of every audience I have polled this question do NOT feel comfortable promoting themselves. That means too many people are holding themselves back from opportunities to do more business with more prospective customers. It does not matter who is in the audience, the percentages are usually the same.
I thought that Americans would be more comfortable with promoting that other countries but what I discover is that overall they are not. And if you think that men are better at self-promotion than women you would be wrong too. The younger generation seems to be more open to the idea than boomers or seniors, but most hold themselves back due to the lack of self-confidence. What this means is that 80 percent of humans on earth don't promote themselves enough - much less do it EFFECTIVELY.
You may be in the small percentage of those who already feel comfortable with the concept of self-promotion. Or you may be honing your self-promotion skills and beginning to use the concept more often. But are you doing it effectively? Are you promoting yourself in the service of others?
Many of you are already aware of my definition of SHAMELESS. It is to believe in yourself first and then promote what you do in the service of others. Therefore, to promote yourself effectively it must come from your heart not your just your mouth.
If you want to make more connections and create more opportunities you must embrace self-promotion effectively and avoid costly mistakes.
Here are a few mistakes to avoid when self-promoting:
It's All About Me
People that are only focused on themselves and their needs will have a hard time making personal connections with others. Not only does this come across as self-absorbed, it will bore people to death and make them want to run away. People don't care about you and what you do until they know you care about them.
Take the time to get to know others first. When you discover someone that might make a good business alliance say, "How can I help YOU get more business and be more successful?" Ask them how you might work together and pass along referrals. Once you make a strong connection and offer to help them, you begin to develop a new shameless fan for yourself in return.
Coming Across too Pushy
When someone comes across like a used car salesman giving a sales PITCH, it builds a wall between that person and the prospective customer. Everyone is turned off by this behavior. We all enjoy talking about things we BUY but no one talks about what they were SOLD. Effective selling and effective self-promotion go hand in hand.
Build relationships and trust first. Learn to do 80 percent of the listening and just 20 percent of the talking. This is often a hard thing to do when we are selling, but critical to selling yourself, your products and your services effectively.
We all have something to sell and often want to share it with such a passion that we have a tendency to over-sell and talk too much. I confess that I'm guilt of this myself at times. But what I have learned is that if I have the wrong audience there is nothing I could say to make the sale. When you discover this, stop and move on. There is plenty of business to go around. Once you create more opportunities for yourself and build shameless fans in the process - success and prosperity comes naturally.
Allowing Your Ego to get in the Way
One of my favorite quotes is by Zig Zigler, "Egomania is a strange disease, it makes everyone sick except the person who has it." Successful shameless self-promoters know how to toot their horn without leading the band. Doing this effectively takes some practice and a lot of self-confidence.
When you show confidence you won't have to boast when telling others of your achievements. You will learn to do it in a way that allows others to support you. When you remain humble with your success, others are more likely to be thrilled to share in the success along with you.
As a professional speaker, it is some times difficult to keep my ego in place when I get off stage. When this happens I stay humble by remembering my past mistakes and understand that they lead me to improve step by step. I'm also quickly reminded when someone else brings me back down to reality.
A couple of days ago while presenting a speech for over 1,000 people, I received a standing ovation from the audience. This is the most rewarding gift any speaker could ever receive. I remember walking off stage feeling great about myself and couldn't stop my ego from taking over. I couldn't wait to share the news with my new assistant Audrey who was waiting in the convention hall lobby.
Right after she congratulated me on my success, a bum walked in the door to get out of the cold. I took note of him as he walked over to my product table and picked up my award-winning book, "Confessions of Shameless Self Promoters." He said "Hey, is this free?" I offered to give him the book as my gift if he was really to change his life. He gave me some weird look as if he was thinking, why would I want to do that? And then he walked away.
Now if that doesn't humble you, what will?
How quickly my one-minute of fame and an inflated ego brought me back down to reality. Again I learned a lesson that I had already discovered earlier but had forgotten for the moment.
It was not about ME. Instead it was about the audience. It was about how I shared my knowledge and expertise in the service of others. It was about what I had to share that could help others be more successful, not about how successful it made me feel.
Copyright © - Debbie Allen. - Reprinted with permission. Debbie is a professional speaker, author, publisher, and entrepreneur. As a speaker, Debbie Allen will energize, motivate and inspire your audiences to make positive changes to increase business growth and build profits. She is the author of, "Confessions of Shameless Self Promoters." Visit her Website: www.WebMarketingMagic.com.
Read a chapter from Debbie's book.
Read "5 BIG Tips to Developing Shamefully Successful Self-Promotion" by Debbie Allen.
If you would like to talk one-on-one with Larry James about issues related to this article, you are invited to arrange for a private coaching session by telephone. Go to Author & Speaker Coaching for specific details and fees.
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