Should Professionals Promote Their Expertise or Services?
“If you are a Professional and if you think you are good then you should not need to market or promote yourself. At least you don’t want to be seen marketing yourself“. That’s one school of thought.
“I am a professional, I don’t sell and I don’t solicit for business“. I hear this very often.
Do you agree?
As a Consultant in the corporate world I had to not only know my stuff but the higher up the ladder I go, the more I had to sell my services – to corporations. From a content expert, we are moved along the line to being sales person with Key Performance Indices tied to how much time we can charge out our own services as well as that of our teams.
Few years back, I left corporate world. Having been certified as a Trainer and a Coach and armed with a Masters degree in Education, I applied for a Trainer’s role with an Academy. I was sort of interviewed for that job but was instead offered a sales job – selling coaching programs.
Initially a little confused and discouraged, I was thinking “Do you know how much content and expertise I have and you are asking me to sell?” (do you sometimes also think of sales in an unfavorable light?). Yes, they were and they saw something I did not see then.
In the months that followed, I was consistently one of the top performing sales consultant breaking all sorts of record, surprising even myself. It was then that I saw sales and marketing in a new light.
As it turned out, it was perhaps one of the best things that helped me understand the importance of integrating content with sales – if I want to effectively impact more people.
You see, as front line sales or marketing person, I was giving my prospects a chance to experience the content (what I am selling). I was selling coaching program and services then and in the marketing of the program I was already offering my prospects the experience of being coached and trained through their interactions with me.
Many who signed up for the program with me thought that I would be their Trainer and Coach in the classroom since I was already providing the content to then. I was the Trainer in the Marketplace providing them the experience of the content.
The one with the subject knowledge who addresses the prospects’ concerns is offering an experience of the content (or service / product). In this case it was an experience of being coached during the conversations leading up to enrollment. I, the marketing person was the content they experienced.
Sales and marketing is not separate from content and expertise. Try selling without knowing the product and you will be turning people away. Try being a content person or expert without promoting or positioning yourself in the marketplace and you may be the best expert that no one knows of.
If you want to impact the masses, you need to let others know of your services whether it is through traditional marketing, word of mouth marketing or social media marketing. You will need to position your expertise in the market place.
If you want to be the go-to-person in your subject field then you will need to demonstrate your expertise through your content (writing or speaking or videos). Even Google is recognizing and rewarding businesses with content and expertise with their search engine algorithms.
Do you know why doctors, accountants and lawyers are connecting in BNI chapters? Word of Mouth marketing maybe? Do you know why LinkedIn has 150 million professionals? Why do you think they are on LinkedIn? Social media offers you a digital Word Of Mouth platform that is not limited by geography or time.
I hear this phrase from successful online marketers and I think they hit it on the nail. They say that “The marketing is in the content and to let the content be your marketing”. I can’t agree more.
So should professionals like doctors, lawyers, Coaches and Trainers be marketing themselves? And if so what is a way of doing that that is responsible and ethical? Love to hear your views!
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