Going beyond the pitch: Why action results in successful self-promotion
You've heard a lot about networking, marketing and using a social media strategy to spread the word about your small business. But there's more to self-promotion than a strong handshake and a good pitch. You need to follow through with action that leads to results for both you and your customer.
Taking action is the best self-promotion. Networking, marketing and social media are useful ways to promote your business, but they are the beginning of the conversation that you need to continue. Start with a good first impression; follow up for successful relationship-building.
These approaches can take you beyond the pitch:
- Do your homework before you network. Research key players that you're likely to meet, so that you can take your introductory conversations deeper faster.
- Learn how to recognize opportunities that could turn into business relationships. Ask many questions to determine whether you're making a useful connection.
- Bridge your online and offline worlds: make contacts at an event and follow up online by adding them to your networks. Or plan to meet online connections in person, if possible.
- Only start conversations that you can continue with a solid product or service.
Support your self-promotion efforts by having the tools you need and paying attention to details. The pressures of producing your product or service should not stand in the way of getting back to potential customers.
You will be judged on your ability to keep to your commitments. If you're unable to get back to a potential client with an estimate, how likely are you to complete the job? Build trust and credibility by following through. This could lead to future transactions and referrals. Why risk this opportunity?
How can you keep all your balls in the air?
- Be selective about what you commit to, or how often, if you are too busy.
- Keep track of people you meet and the promises you make.
- When you follow up, ask if the outcome was met with satisfaction.
If you are the business, in that you run a sole proprietorship, self-promotion and branding can be crucial, so aim for the balance between overselling and selling yourself short. Find out more about promoting and advertising your business, and learn about networking opportunities that are right for your situation.