"If you Google me, I’m Quite a Big Deal"
Can only be said by someone who genuinely thinks they are a big deal. This is the same week that online, someone locally was called, “The best coach in the world.” So whilst it may be a personal opinion, whoever that coach is, has a lot to live up to and possibly an even longer way to fall.
At best playful arrogance; at worst a slightly skewed issue with self-awareness. Which brings the phrase, “Fake it, till you make it”, into play.
Now there’s a story about a turkey, a bull and a farmer. The turkey was chatting with a bull “I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree,” sighed the turkey, but I haven’t got the energy.” “Well, why don’t you nibble on my droppings?” replied the bull. “They’re packed with nutrients.” The turkey pecked at a lump of dung and found that it gave him enough strength to reach the lowest branch of the tree. The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch. Finally after a fourth night, there he was proudly perched at the top of the tree. Soon he was spotted by a farmer, who shot the turkey out of the tree.
The moral of the story is that bullshit might get you to the top, but it won't keep you there.
So this got me thinking; how do promote yourself as something special, but without sounding like an arrogant dick?
Remember Gerald Ratner? In the 80’s the UK jewellery market was his oyster. He dominated the high street and the business elite saw him as a success story. Until “Crap-gate”. In front of hundreds of his peers and a newspaper reporter, Gerald Ratner called the stuff he sold to the British public, “Crap”. It wasn’t just the word that upset people, it was the way in which there was a huge amount of contempt for the people that had made him the success he was, stood on that stage. The public immediately turned on him and Ratner began to close the stores as the company fell into trouble. All down to arrogance, contempt and one word.
The story highlights something quite simple. We are always marketing. Every single day. Every single moment we are on view by anyone or in view on social media platforms.
“Don’t you know who I am?”, no-one should say ever…
As self-employed people, we spend a lot of time making sure the LinkedIn profile is up to scratch. We spend hours worrying about websites, reviews, business pages, Facebook videos and the like. Yet as you can see, some arrogant comments and needless hype, will affect how people perceive you. As soon as you put your head above the parapet, you are there to be shot at. It’s hard to not react when you are there…even harder not to react to a point where you shoot yourself in the foot.
The substance of individuals is also important. I would be stupid and a liar to say I haven’t got things wrong in my past. Hell…everyone has a past, but one of the quickest ways to establish you are good at what you do is how you handle questions about it. Being open and honest about it. In some cases, it can prove attractive to people. Anybody can get qualifications. Anybody can write blogs and do videos. What they can’t do is tell your story. And when your story relates to the work that you do, that is a winning combination.
I’m known as Marmite and not a ’typical’ type of business coach. I’m happy with both of those. And for all the photos’ of me on my website, on my books and other marketing material, it’s not through any form of narcissism. It’s actually because I’m proud to stand in front of my business. I’d like people to know what they’re getting before they meet me, unlike the faceless aspects of franchised coaching websites. If you like that and like the substance that backs me up, then great, lets work together. If not, that’s fine too.
I also have begun to brand myself ‘The Best Kept Business Secret’, because that’s what people have genuinely started to call me. It’s a fun title and something I’m comfortable with. I'm using it because it's something you'll remember but it aligns with what I believe in. That a business coach shouldn't hog the limelight. (OK, this might seem a little weird, even as I write these words because I am getting some limelight as you read this blog.) But what I have found, is that there are several that will post about 'their colossus success stories' and about how ‘they’ did this and ’they’ did that. Whilst that might be true to a point, it was probably the hard work of the team that they had an influence over with their coaching. They were in the business for a fraction of the time and the team were working on things for a majority of the time. So at best, it’s a team effort. I'd like to be the silent director of the business and share the success of the business in their words, not mine. You won’t see, “Amazing what happens when you do what your business coach tells you…” from me.
So quick tips to promote yourself, without being an arrogant dick…
- Be humble. You might well be good, but always remember there is probably someone better than you. Strive to be the best that you can be. That’s all you can do. By trying to be better, you’ll rise above the rest the ‘exist’.
- 24/7/52/365. You are marketing every single second of the day, of every week, of every month, of every year. In public, in private, online and offline. Everyone you meet is a potential customer or client. And everyone is a critic whether you like it or not.
- If you wanted to be at the top, be prepared for the shots to be taken at you. Like the turkey, as soon as you get to the top, people will take pot shots at you. It’s not what they see that determines how people see you. It’s what you say when are there, and how you deal with those that aren’t there yet.
- Before you say anything to anyone or post anything anywhere, think…”Is it genuine? Is it helpful? Is it worth it?” If the answers to any of these questions are “No”, then simply don’t bother.
By the way…I did Google them. Interesting that the search bought up an American gentleman that has something to do with National Parks, who died in 1930. That’s not the person that asked me to Google them. So I guess they’re not as big as they’d thought. Still…plenty of time to change that.