If personal marketing and self-promotion makes you a little nervous, don’t worry — that’s perfectly normal. In fact, it’s instinctual, and it’s been documented. So how do you market yourself, without turning off potential clients? Sometimes, you need to get someone else to do the footwork for you.
According to research conducted by Jeffrey Pfeffer of Stanford and Robert Cialdini of Arizona State, the difference between good marketing and annoying marketing is simply whose mouth it comes from. If it’s your touting your own successes, it’s viewed as bragging. However, says Dorie Clark, if it’s someone else, it’s a different story.
“If someone else — if a third party — says those same flattering things about you, people will listen, and they will think you are amazing.”
So how do you get a third party to say nice things about you? Borrow an idea from the collegiate set, says Dorie, and find a wingman.
“Find a trusted ally. Who do you like? Who do you trust? And who would you not hesitate to reccoment? Go to that person and say ‘I will make a deal with you. If you talk me up at the next networking event, I will talk you up.’”
It may seem a little gimmicky, but consider this: If this really is a person you like and respect, you’d probably like to be doing this for them anyway. And, odds are, they’d like to do it for you, too. However, hyping other people “isn’t usually top-of-mind for most people,” says Dorie — so a little reminder goes a long way.
Getting someone to hype you is also a nice way to take a break from the arduous, uncomfortable work of self-promotion, says Dorie.
“This isn’t like personal branding — guess what? It’s a lot easier to talk about your friend than to talk about yourself.”