Clients approach me all the time saying, “Tell me what I need to do to market my services.” I ask, “What do you mean?” They say, “Tell me how to blog/podcast/what to say on my website,” (fill in your own specific here). That’s when I know they lack the one thing without which they’ll never really make it.
It’s easy to hung up on details. Marketing advice often makes it even more enticing, promising you phenomenal results if you only do X. The “X” changes every few weeks and usually says more about the person who wrote the advice than what you really need to dod. Since advice is ever-present and ever-changing, for anyone trying to keep up it always feels like marketing is a big overwhelming thing that can never be fully tackled. In this dread, they are both right and wrong.
Marketing methods ARE endless. You can spend a lifetime learning about them, implementing them, collecting data as to their efficacy and tweaking your results. For the service professional (not the professional marketer) it is not necessary to learn them all. So the good news is, while marketing information is endless, your grasp of it need not be complete.
What you really DO need is marketing confidence. It is a key ingredient without which your marketing will fail. Of the over 700 people that signed up for a recent series of teleclasses I did on the subject, nearly every one either during the classes or via e-mail told me the same thing: “I am very confident in life but when it comes time to marketing, I get uncertain and afraid.” In short, they lack marketing confidence. It’s different that regular, “garden-variety” confidence. But what to do to build it up?
The methods I had participants employ were simple and gave results right away.
1. Get serious about what your REAL goals are.
9 times out of 10, your goals are not what you think they are. Going after artificial goals will wreak havoc on your marketing confidence (and, hence, your results) because you’ll never have the steam to keep on going until you get them. If you’re going after goals that don’t make you jump out of bed in the morning and enthusiastically cheer, “Time to get to work on those goals!” (and I’m only half kidding there) then you’re not working on your real goals.
2. Do it, don’t think about doing it.
Probably the most critical thing you can do to build your marketing confidence is DO things. So many service professionals get into paralysis by what they consider the overwhelming job of marketing. That’s when the marketing research overdrive response kicks in. You figure if you just gather enough information, you’ll feel they have a grasp on marketing. Actually, the opposite is true. The more you research, the more overwhelmed you become. The only way to alleviate the overwhelm is to start trying things out and experiencing the results to understand not just what works, but what works for you.
3. Give to get.
Too often in marketing a professional practice, we measure success in terms of results. Results are critical, of course, but in a high-trust exchange, such as happen when you sell a high-ticket service, very often the prospect will not buy on first contact. If you walk away after an initial “no,” or “sorry, not interested,” you are walking away from great opportunities. The practice of giving to get, wherein you demonstrate your expertise by giving people either free or low-fee access to it, is a great way to start building a reputation.
4. Build mastery in your craft. It takes being good to know you’re good.
Very often I hear from clients, “I fee like, ‘Who am I to be charging those high fees?’” Often they want a pep talk when they ask that. Instead, I ask them, “What would it take for you to know without a doubt that you MUST be charging that?” Too often we want to coddle ourselves and others when we don’t feel “good enough.” But in order to really build your marketing confidence, you must be excellent at what you do. So what’s that going to take? How must you hone your skills, what training must you attend, how many people must you work with until you know you’re excellent without any hesitation? Once you know the answer to that, set out a path to accomplish it.
5. Be continuously challenged.
Piggybacking on #4, it helps to get out of your comfort zone at every opportunity. You’ve heard the old metaphor about building muscles with increasingly heavier weights. If you want to be a highly sought-after professional, respected in your field, you need to push yourself all the time. What’s it going to take?
6. Research. Then do it your way.
People seem to have an insatiable urge to “just do a little more research.” While this is great, very often it’s detrimental, as I explained above. So if you must research, please know this. Everyone who gives you marketing advice is telling you only PART of the information. The part they can’t possibly tell you is how it’s going to work for you. So understand that when you read about the great new method you MUST try, or how you won’t be able to make it until you try X, know that may not apply to you. The sooner you take ownership of your practice and your marketing future, the happier and more successful you’ll be.