Luck is What You Make Yourself: Zen and the Art of Shameless Self-Promotion
Every now and then you meet someone who you just know is going to succeed no matter what because they have the characteristics that people would describe as a real go-getter. That person for me is Rachel Thompson (aka @RachelintheOC and @BadRedHeadMedia).
Within minutes of connecting with her on Twitter, she immediately engaged me in conversation. Not the slimy auto DM “Hey <INSERT NEW FOLLOWER NAME HERE SO THEY FEEL SPECIAL> please download my free whatever” conversation yuck, but real conversation BEFORE she launched into her shameless promotion.
You see Rachel knows she has to make her own luck so she takes advantage of conversational situations to build connections and also make people aware of her eBooks. Within that very first conversation, she offered me a free download of her eBook, no strings attached, and not before she engaged with me personally.
That’s how she got invited to write for MOMeo Magazine and I have no doubt that’s how she got profiled in the Huffington Post and the reason why her books, A WALK IN THE SNARK and MANCODE: EXPOSED, have hit #1 on the Amazon Kindle bestseller list multiple times. She consistently looks for opportunities to turn simple conversations into promotional opportunities (without resorting to the slimy push tactics).
Lessons in the Subtle Art of Shameless Self-Promotion
Don’t Be Shy! Tell people what you do! Don’t open with your blatant self-promotion as you will put people off. Use your social savvy – engage with people about their interests and what they do, ask questions and wait for the opportunity to talk about what you do. More often than not, people will invite you to talk about yourself.
Do Your Homework! Research who you are talking to before you jump into the conversation. If it’s in social media, doing your homework is as easy as reading their profile and visiting their web site. At a networking event, it may require a bit of sleuth work to find out who’s in the room. It’s worth the effort to know who you are engaging with as you may be missing important opportunities.
Ask for Help. Remember, asking is free! Because you have already done your research, you likely know how that person can help you. Know what you need help with, the more specific the better, and simply ask. My colleague, Craig Elias, makes it a habit of asking everyone he meets if they have a connection to a particular CEO he’s targeting – eventually he finds someone who can make the personal introduction!
Respect Boundaries. Be aware of and respect boundaries. That’s where shameless self-promotion becomes a subtle art. Continually slamming people with requests is not only annoying, but it’s ineffective. This is where your relationship building skills are essential. Start with the relationship first and foremost, then move into self-promotion.
Focus on Win-Win! Know what you can offer others. Requests that benefit both parties equally tend to go farther than a simple “Can you help me?” Try to figure out an equal trade or make it clear that you are eager to find ways to help them. Asking how you can be of assistance is the best way to break down those sales barriers.
Are you a shameless self-promoter? Share your best self-promotion tips and stories in the comments below!