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    Finding the comfort in self-promotion

    Many of us were brought up to believe that it’s not becoming to ‘toot one’s own horn’. While this may fit how some of us behave socially – not wanting to come off to others as self-centred, boastful or arrogant – you must realize that the same rules don’t apply when you’re promoting yourself and your business.

    In fact, to be successful, you’ll need to become comfortable with self-promotion, as you’ll be doing it all the time. As a real estate salesperson, you are the product your business has to sell.

    Even if your product is the best on the market, if you don’t do anything to put it in the public eye, or be seen to stand behind your product, chances are you won’t make any sales.

    We all rely on self-promotion to an extent. An actor has to audition for every role; a candidate for a new job has to prove he or she is capable of doing the work - and well.

    Promoting yourself to potential clients is no different for a real estate salesperson or business. They need to know you can buy or sell their house for the best price, will be there for them throughout the whole process and – importantly - can be relied on to look after their interests.

    The key is in promoting a genuine, authentic image to your potential clients, so they feel they can develop a relationship of trust and comfort with you.

    For some of us, the thought of self-promotion sprouts images of arrogant and pushy insurance salesmen – perhaps you’ve encountered one or two of them in your time? What you need to realize is that while you may have got a bad feeling dealing with such people in situations like that, the majority of the time they would have been looking for a quick sale, payoff, evaluation or vote, rather than looking after your best interests. And their insincerity would have shown through.

    Real self promotion doesn’t aim for the quick pay-off - it plans for the future! Because after all, if your customers are going to spend their hard earned money with you, they’ll be looking out for their best interests for now and for the future, and will want to know that you’re doing the same.

    So how exactly do you ‘plan for the future’ with self promotion? Think of it the same way you build relationships with those around you – you don’t give somebody a quick list of reasons why you’re so good so that they’ll talk to you for 10 minutes then dismiss them, do you? Not usually, no.

    Rather, we try to show the best parts of us, building trust in those around us so they’re comfortable with the idea of working with us over the long haul.

    Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re getting the word out about your business –

    • Clearly define what separates you from the competition – why should people choose you over anyone else? How can they benefit from the services you provide?

    • Stick to the facts – don’t write cheques your business can’t cash, so to speak. Hell hath no fury like a consumer scorned, and bad word of mouth publicity can often do more damage than your promotional campaign can do good.

    • Stand behind your business – after all it’s your name on the line! Confidence in your business will instil confidence in your customer.

    • Adapt to your surroundings – your market isn’t likely to always be the same. There are often many factors to take into account when you’re trying to promote your business, such as age groups, gender, financial situations, etc. Chances are you won’t use the same pitch for a teenager as you would for a middle-aged family-minded adult, and again for a pensioner. There are many different types of people in the world with many different needs, so be ready to adapt to meet them.

    • Take aim before you shoot – make sure you’re promoting to your target market. If you’re trying to sell a house to a teenager, unless the teen is Richie Rich, you’re not likely to have much luck.

    • Timing is everything – make sure you consider the times and places you promote yourself. How often do you get calls from telemarketers when you’re head is buried in work, or you’re trying to enjoy dinner or relaxation time? If you’re dealing face to face (or voice to voice) with a potential consumer, make sure that the time is convenient for them or find out a convenient time you can get back to them.

    • Get to the point – once you have their attention, don’t let the pitch drag on! People put a high price on their time, especially when someone else is taking it up trying to convince them to spend their money somewhere, so be brief, clear but still passionate about your business.

    • Be clear with what you want – once you’ve defined what you can do for them, be clear with what they need to do next. Do they need to meet with you again? Go to your website or read your brochure? Buy something off you? Promote you?

    • Make them care – lots of the time businesses will offer free product giveaways if you “BUY NOW”, and while these can grab the attention of potential customers (and can be a good idea to include from time to time), establishing a relationship of trust and comfort is much more valuable to them and to you than a free product giveaway will ever be.

    • Maintain the relationship – it’s an ongoing process, so make sure once the fish is in the net, you take it home and nurture it, rather than discarding it.

    If you’re genuine, stay true to yourself, your word and your customer and lose any hang-ups you may have about self-promotion!

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