Posted: Mon 30th May 2022
Many business advisers and consultants hesitate to market their value and expertise, because they associate marketing with boasting. In this article, Cynthia Wihardja explains the difference between the two.
Marketing yourself will be easier once you’ve mastered your belief systems. Many of you have been ‘sold to’ by really awful marketers. Their techniques feel a lot like boasting and it simply puts you off. And perhaps that’s where you developed the belief that ‘marketing is boasting’.
But here’s the good news: people who are put off by pushy marketers typically never become pushy marketers themselves. You’ve resisted it. It goes against your values. And subconsciously you’ll never allow yourself to do the same.
So trust yourself and your intentions!
The challenge with believing that ‘marketing is boasting’ is that it keeps you from helping others. You may feel shy talking about your past achievements and client stories because you don’t want to ‘boast’.
But in the professional services industry, clients want to buy from people who have a track record. They want to feel confident in your value before they buy from you. So if you’re not telling people of your track record, you’re actually doing your prospective clients a disservice. You’re not equipping them with the information and confidence they need to buy.
And if someone else with less expertise is able to convince them that they are the right service provider, then your perceived humility has caused your prospective clients to invest in a lower-quality service.
Most professional service providers I meet do what they do to make a positive impact. It’s not just your business, it’s your mission. You’ve successfully solved a problem in the past and now you want to help others do the same.
So what is the difference between boasting and marketing?
To me, the difference is in the intention. Is it for YOU or for THEM? Is it mainly to make yourself feel good… or is it to help your clients feel good about their buying decision?
In my view, the purpose of your marketing is to help clients make the right buying decision. You can never force people to buy. If there’s a need and they like and trust you, they will buy. But your job is to inform them of your expertise and your experience. With that, they can make the decision whether or not to buy from you.
Is it boasting if a restaurant displays its menu on the front door? Of course not. It helps you to see whether or not you want to reserve a table. Is it boasting if a hotel shows you pictures of their rooms and lists out their facilities on the booking site? No. In fact, it helps you plan your trip better. Is it boasting if a theatre production shares the reviews made by critics and previous audiences? Definitely not. If anything, it helps you decide how you want to spend your evening.
We’ve all benefited from companies sharing their expertise and information so that we can make a better buying decision. Now let’s take it back to our business.
So is it boasting if you share your list of expertise, your menu of services, and your testimonials? Is it boasting if your intention is to help your clients buy the right services for their needs? Is it boasting if your intention is to make sure you attract the clients that really appreciate your value?
In my view, the difference between boasting and marketing lies in the intention. As long as your intention is to help clients make a better buying decision, I invite you to look at marketing as a process of building trust and to get your clients closer to the solution they need.
Clients ask two subconscious questions before they buy a service
Do I like you?
Do I trust you can help me?
The purpose of your marketing is to answer those questions. And in doing so, you’ll be helping your audience to get closer to the solution they need.
Liking you comes from character, not just competence. It’s about understanding what you stand for, getting a taste of your personality on your videos or website, liking the tone of your writing. Not everyone will like you and that’s OK. You’re only wanting to engage people that resonate with what you’re about.
You build trust by providing educational content and telling people of the success stories you’ve created. When people see your content, do they trust you have the competence to solve their challenges? You’ll also build more trust if you have a clear signature solution or framework about solving a specific need. Just talking about your ideas may not be enough. Finally, trust comes from believing that you have their interest at heart. And again, that’s why having the right intention will make all the difference in your marketing.
Authentic marketing starts with being clear on your intention, and knowing how to articulate your value and solution to the right audience.
Marketing is about helping them make the right buying decision, even if they don’t end up working with you. Marketing is about attracting the right type of clients to you; it’s not about chasing after clients.
With all this in mind, true marketing is very far from boasting. It is about serving and informing.
It’s not about making you look good. It’s about making them feel good about their buying decision.
If this type of marketing feels more comfortable to you, then you are on the right track to build a good reputation as the go-to expert in your field.
Would you like to share your tips for a successful service business? You can.