As one of my readers, you are probably a giver. You are used to giving support to others, but not accustomed to reaching out when you have a product or service.
If you feel shy about this, know that it is normal. It’s not your natural style to ask people for help, so neither is it comfortable for you to contact your network about your offerings.
See if this reframe is helpful to you:
You aren’t asking them for a favor.
You are giving them the chance to receive help for their needs -- if they are an ideal client.
Or, if they know others who need your offering, then you are giving them the opportunity to be a blessing to those they will introduce to you.
You are a blessing when you reach out thoughtfully. Your outreach is a blessing if they need what you offer, or if they know people who need you.
I’m not asking you to make yourself “believe” it by using affirmations or other mental tools. If that helps, go ahead and use them.
What I am saying is that this is the actual reality: by reaching out to someone who needs what you have, or know people who need it, they experience it as a serendipity or a blessing.
However, you first need to do the work of sifting through your network (look at the list of your Facebook friends, Linkedin contacts, or Email address book) to reach out to those that you understand well enough to know that they do need and would want something like your offering, or whom you believe have a network that would love it.
If you haven’t been great at keeping in touch and understanding your network’s needs and wants, the alternative is to be building a genuine audience of people who actually care about you. Your audience will likely need and want your offerings because they value your content!
Therefore, if you reach out -- to the right people, in a service-oriented way -- they won’t think “why are you bothering me?”
Instead, they will say something like: “Wow, this is perfect, and right on time.” or “I had forgotten that’s what you do… thank you for reminding me!”
Do this 1-2x a year, and they will be glad to hear from you.
(With your audience that you've been blessing with consistent content, you can outreach or announce your offerings a lot more often than that, e.g. once a month is not too often.)
That’s how I filled my Group Coaching program even before I announced it publicly (see my post about announcing my group coaching program). I personally reached out to those in my audience that I believe might love my offering and would be a great fit. I heard back from most of them, grateful that I reached out and gave them that opportunity to say Yes to something they want!
You’re giving them the words
Your friends, colleagues, even your family, can’t describe what work it is that you do, especially if you’re building an authentic business that is not mainstream. Seriously -- go and ask 5 of them to say what you do, and whom you help, and see what they come up with without having to really think about it.
If they can’t quickly describe what you do and whom you help, your services are definitely not top of mind even when they happen to be talking to your perfect client.
So when you reach out to your network, once or twice a year, to give them an FYI about what you do, whom you help, and how you’d be honored to serve anyone they refer to you, you are giving them the words to help you.
A chance to reciprocate
If you have already been a supportive resource to the person you’re reaching out to, then they are probably quite grateful for the relationship they have with you.
If so, they are looking for the right chance to give back to you.
When you reach out to such a person and give them the opportunity to either say Yes to your offering or spread the word about it, you are giving them that opportunity to reciprocate for the goodness you’ve given to them up to that point.
Or, maybe you create content and give value consistently to your audience, but haven’t been consistent at announcing your offerings.
Your friends and/or your audience haven’t had enough of an outlet to express their gratitude for you. You’re giving them a good opportunity to reciprocate, to show that they care about you.
Give them the chance to finally use your services, or to be a connector for you and a blessing for others who need your services.
This is not a “favor” to you. If they are an ideal client or know others who are, then your outreach is a blessing to them. Allow this goodness to happen by reaching out!
Remember: You are a blessing.
George Kao is a Marketing Coach for small business owners, especially solopreneurs such as Coaches and Mentors. He focuses on ethical & effective ways to grow one's platform and build true livelihood.
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