“Can I ask a question? I love working for myself and don’t want it any other way, but it seems that when you work for yourself you have to be a salesperson. I’m not a huge fan of sales people and hate feeling like I’m pushing something on someone. If you have any opinions on that I’d love to hear them!”
- Dani Griffin (via Facebook)
Dear Dani and the leagues of people who hate self promotion:
I never really understood people who are loathe to sell themselves or the stuff they make. But then again, my whole twenties (okay, and thirties) was solar-powered by the rays of my seduction. From boys to gigs to new age notions, I had a deal for you! “I got what you want and you don’t even know you want it. And I make house calls.”
Now? Meh. I’ve got what I’ve got, which is a lot. If that warms your cockles, let’s talk. If not, my engine is running, and I trust that your tribe is waiting for you elsewhere. Meep meep.
Do I sell my self? Damn straight I do. Everyday, all day. I’m doing it right now. I’ll do it on Twitter, CBC TV, Facebook, this week’s speaking gig for the Travel & Media Association of Canada, and when the waiter asks me what I do for a living. But I’m no longer TRYING TO CONVINCE YOU TO BELIEVE AND BUY. Rather, (and this has been one of my most gnarly, redeeming spiritual journeys) I radiate and state the facts. That’s it. And it’s a helluva lot more efficient than sales.
So, why do you hate self-promotion?
1. Because…it makes you feel like you’re pushing something on someone?
Passion is a force – and an essential one at that. If you’re not passionate about your service or your product, you shouldn’t be selling it in the first place. If you’re not passionate you have to fake it, and that’ll just make you feel like a sleazeball.
But let’s assume you are fully and truly turned on, and you’re offering the world something that you wholeheartedly believe in. Repeat: you’re anchored with integrity to purpose and meaning. That being the case, and the premise for everything I’m about to say after this, let’s proceed:
Don’t burn energy trying to assume how people will perceive you. What some people will read as enthusiastic stamina, others will interpret as pushy intruder. It’s your job to show up as you, passion and all, and let the right customers make up their mind about you.
2. Because…you’re shy?
You have three choices here: a) Get over it. Nothing like motivation to put food on the table or achieve your life dreams to cure shyness. It happens all the time. b) Let someone else do the selling for you – a writer, a rep, an agent, a virtual assistant-type. c) Pray that your good intentions and the high quality or originality of your offering will attract customers and prosperity. This tact, on it’s own, never ever works.
3. Because it’s not a “strength” of yours?
4. Because you’re afraid that people will think less of you? That you’ll be less of an artist, social steward or true professional if you’re hawking your wares or blowing your own horn.
Then I have bad news for you: everything you do is promotion, so you may as well do it with aplomb. The good news? Everything you do is promotion You are always radiating. From the personalized note that you tuck into your product shipment, to what you say at a party when someone asks you what you do, to how you pitch the art gallery or the corporation to get the big account — to the message you leave on a Facebook page.