Too often I hear people say ‘I’m confident in my skills but I find it hard to promote myself to others‘ or ‘I feel like I’m being arrogant if I promote myself, so I prefer to let others do the talking‘.
I’m sure a lot of you can relate to the above statements, the key here is understanding every successful business person is confident in promoting their products & services. Ask yourself this question, if I can boast about someone else’s business then why am I not confident in promoting my own?
In 2009 I started working for the well known company Salesforce. It was here I learnt my first real lesson in sales. All the management in our building wore the same shirt emblazoned with ‘Just Ask’ on their backs. The mentality was simple, ask every customer you interact with whether they are interested in our services and the worst they’ll reply with is ‘no’. I ignored this for a while, letting my intuition decide which customers were likely to buy from me. In the end I only climbed to the top of the sales ladder because I stopped assuming things about others and just asked. It’s really that simple. You’re probably thinking… I know that! Tell me something new. Well here’s the truth, most business owners are too scared to bring up their services beyond surface level when networking. Business may fall into your lap occasionally but this is not at all scalable.
The first step in changing this habit it to keep your elevator pitch in the forefront of your mind. What services do you offer? What makes you different from your competitors? How can your business fulfill the needs of others? That person you’re speaking with might not have a need for your business, however never underestimate their network and contacts list. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
The second step is differentiating the way you think about your own business. Do you repair computers or are you enabling business owners to maintain services with little-to-no downtime? Are you a carpenter or do you create custom pieces made to order for local clients? You choose whether you blend in or stand out, find your niche but more importantly learn how to explain exactly what you do differently in a few words. Promoting your business is not something to shy away from, people want to believe in the owner behind the business, not just the service they receive. Try this in small steps, practise your pitch and be confident in what makes your business better than the rest. Believe in yourself and only then can others begin to.