After a gentle start to January, I’ve hit the road with renewed force, throwing myself into a whole new world – early morning meetings with complete strangers, distributing and displaying my telephone number in prominent public places, soliciting meetings with prospective punters, looking at different avenues of exposure…
Otherwise known as networking, breakfast meetings, advertising, introductory consultations and well, the dreaded ‘M’ word – Marketing.
You see, despite (or perhaps because of) my background in marketing,
the thought of marketing my own business or myself, gives me a sinking
feeling in my stomach. The idea of having to be clever with ‘hooking
in’ people’s attentions, herding them down a funnel, getting your foot
in the door, countering their objections and luring them to buy – let’s
face it, just doesn’t paint a nice picture.
Especially in a
profession like coaching where values of honesty and helping people to
make their own choices are pretty fundamental.
as I’ve been trying to reframe it in my mind as Client Attraction
rather than Marketing, I have come across a few terms like Marketing
Intimacy and Romancing the Customer, which got me thinking. If I was on
the dating scene, I certainly wouldn’t be door-knocking, or throwing
myself at every man I meet! And while some girls are incredibly
upfront, or work the speed dating circuits really well, that’s just not
me. I came to realise, I have to find what works for me, and play to my
own strengths and confidence.
So with that in mind, how to attract the perfect
1. Being confident
It’s a cliche but confidence is so sexy. Whatever look or type you normally fall for, there’s something about a natural confidence that glows and draws attention. And here’s the wonderful thing, I don’t have to be the best to be confident in myself!
2. Playing to my strengths
Fashion gurus a la Trinny and Susannah say to accentuate your best assets in what you wear, so I guess the same goes for what you do and where you go.
I am useless at telling jokes, know nothing about football and am a complete lightweight when it comes to alcohol. However, I can sing in tune and at least used to be a good dancer, so you’re more likely to find me at karaoke or on the dance floor than say in a sports bar.
In terms of promoting my business, I know I love writing, which is why I blog, and would definitely consider article writing and newsletters. Having said that, I have everything to gain by trying my hand at areas that initially terrify me, and try to find strengths that I can draw on in those situations. For example, I know I can communicate fine in a one-to-one conversation, so when I stood up to give a 60 second speech at my first networking meeting, I tried to keep it quite ‘chatty’, and definitely refrained from telling any jokes.
3. Having fun!
It’s by far more enjoyable, and it’s infectious and memorable. If you’re having fun, those around you are more likely to have fun, and hence enjoy and remember your company.
I was at a club before Christmas where the descent of office parties created a real mix of people, and I swear the two guys, who I wouldn’t say were conventionally good looking, who were having an absolute whale of a time dancing their hearts out, got more attention than the oiled, tanned, designer-clad ‘prowlers’ hovering uncomfortably around the edge of the dance floor. And even if they left empty-handed, I know they had a great time!
So the attitude I’m taking at the moment is to try and have fun – even when I’m doing something that terrifies me!
4. Being myself
Again a bit of a cliche but why be an imitation of someone else when you can be fully, authentically, fabulously you? Some companies invest an incredible amount in developing a brand image and personality. So if I’m marketing my own services, it would make sense to recognise my own personality!
I guess if I’m comfortable with who I am, other people are more likely to be too. And this way the people I attract will genuinely want to work with me, which gives me a good head start in having satisfied customers.
5. Being selective
A friend told me about this girl once, who spent about eight years in a succession of difficult relationships, until she eventually got together with her now husband, who had held a torch for her all that time. Turns out, every time she came out of a relationship, she was soon approached by someone else and in another relationship before he had a chance to speak up. I know, some people will be thinking ‘Coward! He should have been quicker!’
But it got me thinking – what about my ideal customers? Are they the type to be first in line? Or might I have to clear the path a bit before they will step forward? I’m not sure but for now it comes back to not throwing myself at everyone I meet, being courageous enough to try new and different things, with a view to getting to know people and taking my time – being selective, rather than being desperate!