To Market or Not To Market: The Double-Edged Sword of Self-Promotion

SwordHave you ever felt strange about marketing your services for fear of people thinking you weren’t successful enough or good enough at what you do? I was reading a transcript of marketer Dan Kennedy’s Coaching and Consulting Business Boot Camp this past week at the beach and I came across a section about the fine line between the need for marketing and not wanting to look like you NEED business.

It struck a cord with me because I remember being stumped a few years ago, when a photographer I met at a networking function asked me, “So, if you’re such a marketing expert and you help people attract all the clients they need, what are you doing here at a networking group each week?” I didn’t know what to say at first. Never had it been posed to me that way.

But then I started thinking about it all and I realized that I always have clients, because I’m always marketing. I feel comfortable knowing that marketing is part of my business, a large part of it. It doesn’t matter what you DO for a living, your primary job is marketing and your “skill” is whatever else you do to get paid by clients.

So, if you’re a consultant, you’re not really a consultant, you’re a marketer who consults. If you’re an interior designer, you’re not really an interior designer, you’re a marketer who happens to help clients decorate their homes. And so on and so forth.

Until a client of mine really GETS that, they always put marketing on the back burner, and as a result of not making marketing a priority in the past, they’ve gotten lackluster, mediocre results. But when they realize that their MAIN job is marketing, then they just accept that that’s what you do and start to do it well. Alternatively, they can just go back to the corporate world and get a paycheck again while having someone else breathe down their neck. (Yuck!)

But I think the fine line we talked about between looking successful enough not to market and needing to market is really about CHASING clients. It’s like anything in life: if someone is TOO eager about something, you start questioning their motives. Here’s the line I read in that seminar transcript:

The Ultimate Incongruity: “If you’re so good, why are you so available?…let alone chasing business???”

The first key is that you never CHASE business. It’s just too cheesy and it doesn’t make people want to work with you. If you seem like you need them more than they need you, then you’re in trouble.

However, if you are a student of mine, you know that it’s about creating VALUE, trust, believability, and credibility over the long haul. It’s about establishing yourself as a problem solver to your ideal clients and their biggest problems. It’s about creating a RELATIONSHIP so that clients naturally come to YOU and no one else, WHEN they’re ready. It’s never about chasing clients or strong-arming them to sign up with you. Here’s the formula:

Value plus Trust over Time.

(As a side note, that photographer who almost stumped me with her question ended up being one of my favorite clients of all time, a RAVING fan and a consistent referral source of new clients to my practice. She’s also become one of the best and most diligent marketers I’ve seen, and she markets consistently, not just when she needs clients. She GOT it.)

Your Client Attraction Assignment:

So, now that we’ve gotten away from any semblance of you chasing business and looking too eager, what would you say if someone asked YOU that Ultimate Incongruity question?

Here’s what I say:

“I market consistently because I know that if you don’t market consistently, you don’t always have clients. Even when I have a waiting list of people waiting to work with me, I still don’t stop marketing. I’d be foolish to do that.”
“Two clients recently graduated, so I have openings for just two new clients.”
“I have decided to take on more clients because…(tell the truth).”

Oh and by the way, always tell the truth. That’s what authentic marketing is about. That’s how being a marketer with integrity makes you stand out in the marketplace. Anything else would be sleazy and that’s not Client Attractive.

OK, it’s clear that you HAVE to market, but what if you don’t know where to begin or what to do first? This is just one of the many best practices we dive deep into with the students of The Client Attraction Business School, the premier training school for growth-minded entrepreneurs looking to quickly attract more clients and make more money. If you’re interested in finding out more, visit for more details. To speak to an enrollment coach, click here.

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Comments 9

  1. Marketing is the key. If you’re not marketing, you’re not in business. Great post, @FabienneFredrickson:disqus! I’ll share this with my clients as we head into Module 2 of a program I’m running right now. I think it’s perfect way to kick off Module 2 “The Marketing Module”. :-)

  2. When there is a message of hope that empowers others, one MUST market to get the word out! Great article Fabienne! I love the Value plus Trust over Time.

  3. Marketing is a very integral part of being “in business”, and I believe that when marketing is done well, it is a form of self-expression that allows us to share our message authentically to world. If you don’t “market”, you are not sharing your genius with as many people as you can.

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