Consultants and coaches often come from a corporate background where they have honed their skills over time, and had excellent training and mentoring.
Their expertise is high. But skill and interest in selling that expertise? Not so much! It can be one of the most disheartening aspects of the business for someone with passion, creativity and a big vision to do the tedious work of marketing themselves.
Don’t wait until you’ve spent years and gone through multiple sales people before you figure out that as a solopreneur or micro-firm you are the best salesperson for your own company. Once you have the experience of being in total alignment with your strengths, passion and purpose, it is very hard to shift into the much less appealing sales mode. What so many of you say out loud is: “clients tell me I’m great at what I do; I just need someone else to sell it.” Underneath that is the message: “when I try to sell my services I feel sleazy, manipulative and inauthentic; and since I’ll never be able to do it well, why waste time on something I’m terrible at? Why not let someone who is good at sales do that?”
All good points. One valid solution is to work for a company that sells the kind of service you offer. You get to do what you love and someone else does the marketing and sales. But that means fitting yourself into their vision, and being satisfied taking the clients they assign to you — you may have already decided against that. If so, and you are a coach, consultant or spirited entrepreneur intent on pushing the envelope in your industry, what it takes to market your own company is as unique as the vision and creative approach you put into founding it. This may be the antithesis of what you want to hear, but wait! Don’t touch that mouse! There really is hope! The good news is that the challenge of learning to market yourself will make you better at what you do well. The trick is in getting the creative,visionary right brain and the pragmatic, numbers and systems-oriented left brain to play together.
Marketing is like a tango or salsa dancing. Flowing with the music, knowing intuitively when to sway, where to step, connecting with your partner — when you and the music are in harmony you can touch your greatness, feel your grace, more of the amazing person you know you truly are. But it starts with learning the steps, counting to the beat, figuring out the system.
Not a dancer? What makes you feel your greatness — golf? Swimming? Playing guitar? Gardening? Sudoku? Preparing a great meal? How did you align your left and right brain — your orderly, able, “follow the directions” side with your creative, inspired, “color-outside-the-lines” side — to get to where you could do it well?
Choosing to align the capacities of your left brain and right brain will jump you up to the next level in your business, too. That means the more skilled you are at routine chores like marketing yourself, the better you will be at the things you instinctively do well. Someone else can articulate your vision so that others totally get who you are and what you can do for them — but only you can sell “brand you.” So find mentors and skilled experts who can help you implement the marketing, but accept that you have chosen to lead this dance, and the unappealing discipline of learning the steps. Set aside time on your calendar. Work on your mindset. Read and listen in on tele-classes. Value the challenge to get better at marketing yourself. Your choice of work has already taught you that the payoff when you experience that left brain in harmony with the right is worth it!
About the Author:
Maggie Anderson Words That Work is a marketing communications firm that works with executives, consultants and coaches on effective communication strategies to stand out so they attract more opportunities and prospects using speech writing and presentations, email marketing, web content, blogging and other communication tools. Find out more at http://www.maggieanderson.com.