We may not realize it, but we are constantly marketing
ourselves. Whether we are searching for a job, promoting a business, choosing a school, asking for contributions to a cause, part of the process includes selling ourselves. Some people are naturals at this; they can walk into a room full of people and talk to anyone. They can exude complete confidence and ease
in an interview. They can glow with the passion they feel for the business or cause they’re describing. At the same time, they don’t consider themselves to be marketing-they’re networking, they’re connecting, they’re providing information, they’re meeting a need.
However, some of you are a bit more reticent about putting yourself out there. A room full of strangers can be frightening; at the very least intimidating.
Promoting yourself feels like bragging or boasting. Even talking about your business or cause may make you feel like you’re trying to convince someone to buy snake oil.
We'll look at one way that you can “network” or “market” yourself, your products or your services without feeling inauthentic, salesy or egotistical.
The most important tip to marketing is to be yourself.
Be authentic. Don’t walk into a room pretending to be someone you’re not. A whole room full of strangers can definitely be intimidating. Change your perspective; pick one person with whom to talk. Make it your goal to get to know one person at the event. Ask that person questions, find out about his/her family, business, interests, problems. Don’t view it as a sales call; approach it as meeting a potential new friend. By doing this, you will feel more comfortable in the conversation. And, the other person will most likely be doing the same thing.
As a result, you will, in turn, be asked questions to which you can easily respond. Because now, you’re not trying to sell them on your business, your qualifications, your experience; instead, you are having a give and take conversation. If they ask you about what you do or how they can help, you can answer truthfully without feeling like you’ve got to sign them up. Finally, give them your full attention. Don’t be looking over their shoulder, as if you’re looking for someone more important to talk to.
Next time, we’ll talk about following up with the
information you received from that one-on-one conversation.