your story written on a wallMany creative entrepreneurs, self-employed professionals and even mid-size business owners shudder with disgust when it comes to marketing themselves. Clients often tell me that they don’t want to come across as a sleazy salesman type of person when they engage in self-promotional activities. Others feel uncomfortable tooting their own horn and rather not talk at all about their business. Ah, the dreaded m-word! Don’t you sometimes wish for a world without “marketing”?

Unfortunately, self-marketing or hustling is part of the game when you’re running your own show. But here’s the good news: You can ditch the dirty m-word and still run your biz happily ever after. How, you ask? Here’s my advice on how you can turn the spotlight on yourself without leaving a sour taste in your mouth.

Don’t sell, be of service instead

Ever noticed what happens when you flip around your story? Instead of you talking about your awesome product all day pointing out amazing new features to your prospective client, turn the focus on how your product can help buyers solve a particular problem. If you’re in the consulting business, make sure to mention what results other businesses achieved when they hired you.

Always begin each conversation with the question: “How can I be of service?” And then explain how you or your product can help your customer reach a certain goal. If you put service before sales, you’ll never ever look like a sleazeball. Period.

Ditch the m-word, use “connecting’ instead

Yes, let go of the m-word. Think about it, all you want to do really is connect with people that might have an interest in what you have to offer. Making connections sounds so much better than “marketing”. It takes the “dirty” and the “awkward” out of what you’re doing and replaces it with “ease” and “fun”. Who doesn’t love to connect with interesting people?

So from now on, don’t stew over your marketing campaign any more. Think about how you can make long-lasting connections with people in your circle of influence.

Don’t preach, tell a story instead

Every product has a story. Every business has a story. And every individual has a story. Ergo, behind every brand lies a story. What’s your story?

Spend time on getting clear on the story behind your product, business or service. People love to hear great stories. And even more importantly, people connect over a great story. A great story makes your brand more memorable, builds trust and adds to your brand recognition. So, don’t hold back, tell us your story!

photo credit: _Fidelio_ via photopin cc

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