Nothing feels better than impressing someone else. No one wants to be the ugly duckling, after all. What you want to hear in business often sounds just like this:
“Wow, that’s a fantastic website!”
“What great products!”
“This service is the best I’ve ever tried…”
Yeah, hearing compliments like that feels good. It’s validating. It makes us feel that our hard work and efforts have paid off.
When you’re first starting out, though, these compliments don’t exist. You haven’t built up a client base or referrals. You may lack testimonials. So you have to toot your own horn and tell people how good you are.
It’s Tough to Promote Yourself
It can be tough to tell people how good you are. At first, you might think, “I’m just a regular person… nothing special really.” You might know that your product is really good or that your service is tops, but conveying that doesn’t always come easy.
It’s important to do, though. Force yourself to believe that you really are the best and learn to tell people that you offer great stuff. Why? Because psychologists say that if a person hears something often enough, that person starts to believe it.
When your potential customer or someone in your target audience starts to hear about your business, they may not think twice. But when they hear that you’re very good, continually and constantly, they’ll start to believe it – and they’ll be more likely to choose you over an unheard-of competitor.
The Problem with Self-Promotion
When you get into the habit of some self-promotion, you find it gets easier. Hey, you tell everyone how great you are! You may even have some clients by now, and they’re backing up what you claim.
That can pose a problem. Self-promotion may quickly turn into bragging, and that’s just bad for business. People may get tired of hearing you talk about how you’re the best. No one likes to feel inferior, and if your customers get the impression that you’re some big hot shot, they might look elsewhere for someone less lofty.
Have you ever thought to yourself, “Who does he think he is?” If you start going on about how great you are, that’s exactly what might happen. It’s important to recognize when it’s time to stop telling people about your business, and it’s important to have a sixth sense about how much self-promotion is just enough.
Learn Less is More
A good way to figure out the right amount of self-promotion balanced by client testimonials is to know when to stop talking.
Opportunities to slip in a little bit of self-promotion usually happen on a fairly regular basis. A good way to appear as modest while still getting your business recognized as one that can help is to simply mention, “You know, I can help with that.”
Less is more. Once the person perks up with interest, mention how you can solve their issue with your product or service – and then leave it at that. Hand them a business card. Don’t push the matter. Let people make their own decision and never come off as someone who doesn’t shut up.
Remember You’re Not Perfect
Part of being successful in business involves the transparency you may have. Think of cleaning products – do you truly trust those who claim to clean any room of your house, any amount of dirty and any type of stain?
Come on. Don’t we all buy one product for the bathroom, one for the kitchen and one for the laundry room? Nothing truly does it all – and we know it.
Your product or service isn’t perfect either. People aren’t going to trust you if you claim to resolve all their worldly issues – so be specific. Mention that your service helps them cook meals faster, yes – but that it won’t clean their dishes (and laugh.) Mention that your product won’t help them earn more money – they have to do the hard work – but that it helps give them the boost they need.
False claims and misleading clients are a fast way to losing customers. They’ll buy once, maybe, but they won’t be back if they feel that your product or service didn’t do everything you said it would.
Transparency breeds trust. Use it. Tell people how great you are, but do so in moderation. Tell them how fantastic your service or product is, but remember not to mislead them. Be open, honest, and trustworthy – and stand out as a business with good ethics.