Blowing Your Own Horn - A Key Marketing Strategy for Small Business


-- Building Credibility Through Success Stories --

Successful solo entrepreneurs spend quite a bit of time building and expanding their networks. These networks can cover a broad spectrum - professional associations, community service, school or alumni networks, virtual communities, athletic groups, neighborhood associations. There are a variety of choices when creating our support system.

What they all have in common is this: we engage in the same activity - relationship building. We may meet face to face, over the telephone or online. We exchange pleasantries, information, referrals or resources and in doing so, strengthen the bonds with individuals and the whole organization. What is not quite as common in our exchanges is the use of a personal or business success story. A success story has a double message: it highlights a specific activity that we accomplished or service that we do AND it communicates a distinguishing level of achievement. Both messages serve to build credibility with the listener, which in turn builds trust.

Success stories need not be complicated or lengthy. Here are a few considerations when preparing your own.

Be Proud About It - A good success story translates as truly genuine when you feel proud to share it. "I am so thrilled that I was able to save my client $5,000." -a Financial Services Representative

Be Prepared - Think through your list of recent business achievements, honors, awards or professional certifications that represents something you are proud of and demonstrates an achievement. Then select one or two to share with your contacts at an appropriate time.

Be Specific - Describe exactly what product or service that you delivered or the type of honor or certification that you received. "I recently completed the requirements for the Master Certified Coach designation." - a Business and Personal Coach

Make It Current - Be careful to use situations or events that occurred within the past six months. This keeps it in the category of "news" that your listener may be interested to know.

Keep It Brief - A few good sentences about the award or business achievement is all it takes. No need to dominate an exchange.

The next time that you interact with a client, colleague, friend or family member, try blowing your own horn. Humorist Will Rogers said, "It ain't bragging if you done it."

Copyright 2003, Charlotte Farrior

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Charlotte Farrior of Coaching Connection (http://www.corporatecoaching101.com) and Founder/Team Member of Solo-E (http://www.Solo-E.com) is a corporate and professional coach. She works with professionals, entrepreneurs, directors, and executives to define and achieve the personal and business goals they set for themselves. She coaches in the areas of goal setting, skill development, priority management and career transitions.

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