The key to effective self-promotion is being an honorable salesperson. Sound like an oxymoron? Lawrence M. Kohn, president of Kohn Communications in Los Angeles and co-author with Joel Saltzman of Selling With Honor (Berkeley Books), lays out several strategies for "selling yourself without selling your soul." Selling With Honor emphasizes the ways in which people can both communicate value and build long-term relationships with clients:
- Be crystal clear about what you do. It's not enough to say "I'm a good architect" or "I work hard for my clients." Be specific. Write down every benefit and service you provide.
- Ask questions. Before you tell people what you have to offer, find out what they need.
- Be honest. If you're soliciting business through cold calls, disclose your intention to do business. This alleviates the prospects' fear they're being yanked around by one more salesperson posing as a friend.
- Stay in touch. It's important to realize there are sales cycles to most businesses. You can't force prospects into buying if they don't have an immediate need. Instead, get their business card and follow up later.