It seems that a considerable amount of marketing and sales advice to self-employed professionals is aimed at extroverts. “Go to networking events and meet new people,” the authorities say. “Speak in front of groups.” “Call people up and chat with them.”
If you are an introvert, these experts might as well be telling you to fly to the moon. What if you don’t enjoy public gatherings, dislike being the center of attention, and hate to call strangers on the phone? Can you still do well at personal marketing?
We self-employed professionals spend a great deal of our marketing effort on searching for the right words. We read books, take classes, and hire consultants to help us write copy for our marketing materials. Composing web pages, writing sales emails, and drafting ad copy consumes hours or days of precious marketing time.
It appears, though, that many professionals have mistaken all this wordsmithing for productive action.
Don’t get me wrong; the words you use to market yourself are important and deserve your attention. But crafting the message, and effectively delivering the message, are not at all the same thing.
Many self-employed professionals believe they don’t know how to sell. You’re justified if you think that of yourself. You didn’t go into business to be a salesperson. You became self-employed because you wanted to help people with web design or personal training or architecture or resumé writing. In order to get clients, you need to have sales conversations, but they aren’t something you’ve ever trained to do. You may even believe you’re no good at them.
Let’s fix that.
To the average self-employed professional, following up with prospective clients feels awkward or even scary. You hate making phone calls that might not be welcome. You think you might be pestering people. You worry about being rejected. You aren’t sure what to say. After all, how many times can you ask, “Are you ready for us to work together?”
I get it. My clients and students share concerns like these with me all the time. I’ve even had them myself.
When you think about following up, does it seem fun to you, or does it seem more like a hassle, a should, or something you wish you wanted to do? Surprisingly — or perhaps not so surprisingly — following up is something that quite a few of us don’t love doing. What if there was a way to make it fun? Read on for ideas on how to follow up in ways that actually sound good to you!
Do It with a Buddy
Pick one of your favorite people to buddy up with and hold each other accountable. Rather than thinking of it as work, think up a fun name for the time you spend together (virtually or in person). For example, you can say things like, “How’s the alligator wrestling going?”
When self-employed professionals come to me with questions about how to attract their ideal clients, one of the first places I look is whether they have a blog. In my experience, most self-employed professionals have the potential to be excellent bloggers, even when they haven’t written anything longer than an email since leaving college.
Authoring a blog can solve several of the stickiest marketing problems for professionals. Here are five reasons that blogging is one of the marketing methods I recommend most often to my clients and students: