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You Can't Sell if You Don't Advertise (or . . . 3 ways to not feel "icky" braggin

As someone who’s been in the marketing field for over 25 years I’ve used the expression “you can’t sell if you don’t advertise” countless times . . . with my students at the university where I teach . . . in my business with my clients . . . and in talks that I give to business groups. And, while it sounds like a casual quip, it’s really one of the most important pieces to the puzzle of building a successful and fulfilling career or business. You LITERALLY cannot sell your services as an employee or business owner if you don’t get your brand message out to your audience. (Check out my blog post about The 3 Cs to Brand Yourself (Like a Boss!) to start building a personal brand that helps you reach your goals!) But what I hear from many of my clients, mostly women, is that they aren’t comfortable talking about themselves. They don’t want to boast. They feel icky when they sing their own praises to promote their skills or offerings.

They tell me that it’s uncomfortable and they often feel like they are being judged for “bragging” about themselves.

I can totally relate to this! There was a time in my previous corporate career where I was not at all comfortable letting others know about my accomplishments, asking for a raise, or going after a promotion. My thinking was that if I just worked hard enough the people in positions above me would notice and they’d give me that raise or promotion. But guess what . . . that rarely, if ever, happened. This phenomenon has been discussed a lot by many authors and speakers as of late. I know that promoting yourself can be hard, scary, and feel very uncomfortable. So I want to share with you three tips that I think will make it a bit easier to tell the world about what you have to offer so you can get your brand out to your audience and attract your ideal jobs, opportunities, or clients.


First, don’t think about it as bragging. Instead think about it as sharing with your ideal audience how you can help them solve a problem. The people you serve, whether through your business or in your corporate job, have a need or a problem to solve. And you have the knowledge, skills, and abilities that are the perfect fit for solving that problem. So who are you to deprive them of finding the best solution? When you don’t share your genius with the world you’re depriving your audience of a solution to their problem.


Second, let others do the bragging for you. It’s easy to sing the praises of our fellow professionals or entrepreneurs and tell everyone how amazing they are at what they do. So team up with others you trust who know your zone of genius and support one another at networking events, conferences, and even online. Introduce each other to new people at networking events. Share each other’s content and accomplishments on social media platforms and talk it up. And even make introductions via LinkedIn. This takes the pressure off of each of us and helps to build our own personal support network that’s mutually beneficial for all.


Finally, hire a professional to do the bragging for you. When you hire someone to design your website, write copy for your website or email, or craft your LinkedIn presence, you put the bragging role in their hands so you don’t have to feel weird about saying really great things about yourself. For example, when I work with my clients on their LinkedIn profiles, one of the things I do is to write their Summary section so that it calls attention to their zone of genius and accomplishments and also conveys a bit of their individual personality. The end result is almost always met with happy surprise, and sometimes happy tears, as they read about themselves in a way that’s both authentic and confidence boosting and is probably something they never would have written about themselves. So before you miss out on any other amazing opportunities because you’re not comfortable “bragging” about yourself, give these tips a try. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!


The Brand Teacher

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