On my favourite podcast for consultants, The Consulting Success Podcast, experienced consultant and business owner Michael Zipursky tells the story of Eric, a guy who left the corporate world to become an independent consultant, but was held back by a fear of promoting himself to others. Eric didn’t want to come across as too full of himself. But as Michael points out on this episode, if you refuse to promote yourself, you are expecting people to read your mind! How else will they understand what you can offer if you don’t tell them?
Despite personal branding being my thing, listening to this podcast did remind me that there are areas where I am expecting people to be mind-readers in my business. For example, I run several really well-received workshops for teams that I had previously not included on my website – I was waiting for enquiries before telling people about them! (They are on there now, by the way.)
Similarly with corporate personal brand strategy consulting, it was important to demonstrate more widely NWC’s unique approach and how it makes sense for the business world we now live in. I am continuing to share this message through keynotes, the media, content writing and of course, the website.
When you’re going from being an executive in a company to running your own show, you MUST learn to self-promote because you no longer are part of a household brand; nor are you still in a situation where more work lands in your lap than you can deal with. Even if you are part of wider company, if you want to step up to the next level or win more clients for your team, you need to think about self-promotion.
To get the work, people have to know what you do and why they would want to work with you.
Some tips to promote your consulting or advisory services in a way that works for a professional personal brand:
- Ensure you have made full use of your LinkedIn profile to explain what you do in detail, and to demonstrate how your past experiences serves this.
- Spend time reflecting on your strengthsand achievements so that they come to mind when you are called on to communicate them – for example, in a performance review. In addition, clarifying your value as a professional will infuse all your communications with authentic confidence that can only serve you.
- Think about the most important thing people need to know about you in order to want to find out more about doing business with you. This may be your experience on a big project, your area of niched specialisation, or a different approach you offer. When you meet someone new, frame your very first sentence in a way that gently draws attention to the things that matter most about what you do. This is not a sales pitch; it’s a lens you are inviting people to see you through, but it still takes preparation.
- Be ready with business cards wherever you go, just in case someone asks to know more about what you do. It’s an old-fashioned idea… but I like it, especially if your card has a touch of the wow-factor to really leave an impression.