As a branding and design specialist, my clients often tell me how uncomfortable they are with selling their work. I'm hearing this a lot right now from the women in my Creative Fire Mastermind. They’re afraid of bombarding people and being seen as a pain in the neck. And they ask me what they can do to share the word about their good work without pestering people.
I have this problem too. I’m an in introvert, kinda quiet, very thoughtful, and very sensitive. I can totally relate to that feeling of alienating and pissing people off because you’re trying to sell them something.
Since I began working with a business coach, I’ve gradually been learning some helpful tips that crack the code on this topic.
One of them is that branding and marketing is a conversation more than an event. And it’s a conversation that we need to have with people whom we connect to and who connect with our work.
We don’t want to be having this conversation with just anyone. Pitching to random people really isn’t fruitful, because they may not care about what we have to offer. They might, but chances are, a large percentage of them are just not interested. It’s like fishing for bass in a goldfish pond: you ain’t gonna catch a bass in those waters. (You can tell I grew up in Indiana, can’t you?)
So, the idea of a conversation with people who resonate with our work AND who we enjoy working with is the key place to start.
The other thing I’ve been learning is that we need to push the edge of our comfort zone if we are to have any growth. This is true in business as it is in life. And research shows the average human being needs to hear a message SEVEN times before it sinks in. At first, seven sounded like a LOT to me, but now I take great comfort in this bit of research. I lean on it every time I feel like I shouldn’t share that Facebook post, or send my newsletter, or share my blog, or tell someone I see in person about my program or upcoming offer. I bring myself back to the mantra: seven times…seven times.
Classroom teachers use this with their students. They have to repeat. I come from a family of teachers who all say they must repeat something over and over again for it to sink in. And this is not just the case with children. It’s true for adults too.
To flip this idea for a moment, I appreciate repetition when I'm on the receiving end of a message. It gives me more than one chance to "get" something, especially if it’s something I might be interested in purchasing or investing in. I want to be in relationship with it over a period of time so I can track my response to it, to hum along with it, and see if it resonates or not.
So, when selling our products, services, programs, or packages, we need to remember to give our audience an opportunity to resonate with our offer. That’s the conversation. That takes it out of the realm of knocking on doors and cold calling. Because with the exception of Girl Scout cookies, cold calls really are annoying and intrusive.
Here's an invitation: think for a moment of some ways you can create warmth and connection with your audience. And think of seven ways you can share your message with them. And remember, this takes time and practice. Don't give up!
Did this article stir any ideas or questions for you? What's your biggest frustration with marketing yourself? I look forward to reading your response in the comments below.
Author and Branding Consultant
I am passionate about helping mission-centered business owners share their message through compelling written and visual content.
My memoir, What I Gave to the Fire, is available in both print and Kindle formats on Amazon.com.