Chances are, like most of us, you spent your childhood being taught that bragging and showing off are character traits you should avoid at all costs. If you’re one of those people, I’m also willing to bet you’re now an adult who can’t accept compliments, hates talking about your achievements, and never makes a fuss about big wins or promotions.
If you’re a business owner, this is a serious problem. You might think it’s harmless, but unnecessary modesty could actually be holding you back. In fact, whatever area of business you’re in, talking about your achievements is not only acceptable, but critical to your success.
Telling the world about your wins isn’t arrogance: it’s simply stating facts. If an independent expert gave you an award for your work, that’s something your customer deserves to know about. If your business has recently gained some new clients, it’s important to keep the industry in the loop. If you’ve found a niche that you excel in, how are you going to service your potential clients without telling them about it? You owe it not just to your business, but to them too.
When potential clients are seeking out solutions to their problems, they will always choose the award-winning service provider who has tonnes of case studies and articles brimming with examples of their great work. Funnily enough, they’re not going to choose the plain old business that doesn’t appear to have done anything noteworthy.
The difference between these two types of businesses says nothing about the actual quality of their work. In fact, there’s every chance the more modest company might actually be better. But the potential customer doesn’t know that, nor should you expect them to. Why would they take a chance on a plain Jane, when they’ve already found what seems like the star of the show?
Every day, I meet business owners who hate talking about new clients, award wins, or how well their business is doing. They downplay the news, and figure that by adding a line at the bottom of their monthly newsletter, they’ve done enough promotion.
But just because you know how great your work is, it doesn’t mean anyone else will go out of their way to find it out too. Instead, you need to make it as easy as possible for a potential customer to figure out why you’re the best in the business.
I’m not talking about delving into irritating sales tactics or pushing your business into places it doesn’t fit. Don’t even think of it as selling, if that helps. Instead, simply think of it as telling your business’s story. Even mistakes and struggles can be turned into an engaging underdog tale that ultimately helps your business come out on top.
Make sure you’ve got at least some reference to your biggest successes in any place your customer might visit. The front page of your website, for example, is a chance to talk about your most recent award wins, clients, or game-changing work. Try adding your wins to your email signature, presentations, brochures, or even business proposals. If you can get it to the point where there’s absolutely no way anyone could miss it, you’re on the right track.
And if you’re still struggling with the idea of selling yourself, public relations might the answer you’re looking for. Instead of talking directly about your business, PR allows an external, trusted publication to do the telling. The coverage will be filtered through the eyes of the trained journalist, who knows how to add value to their readers and provide content that people actually want to read, see or hear. If you want to tell a great story, there’s no one better to turn to than someone who does it for a living. PR can also be a great confidence booster, because if a journalist is willing to run a story about you and your business, then you must have a story worth telling.
I’ve seen proof of this working within my own business too. In fact, more than half of our current clients have come from our own PR efforts. Done in the right way, you can craft media coverage that talks about your successes and wins, while still providing value for the publisher and the reader. In fact, this very article you’re reading is a great example of social proof in action. See what I did there?
By talking loudly about your wins, it’s not just your own business you could be boosting. According to a new study, for example, women are more likely to achieve professional success when they feel that they’re surrounded by other successful women. The researchers found that more than 75% of women in high-ranking positions have a female-dominated inner circle, or strong ties to a few successful women within their network. By sharing your successes with the world, it’s possible you’re helping those around you too.
So don’t be afraid to embrace who you are, what you do, and why you’re good at it. Once you start to see the positive responses rolling in, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. And if your competitors are already doing it, can you really afford not to?