Don’t Promote Yourself At The Detriment Of Others

Years ago I worked for Barclays Bank in a branch in a small town in Cornwall.  We were surrounded by the farming community and the other three major banks at that time in the town centre.  Competition between the banks was strong then, in the late 1980s and Barclays had lost it’s number one spot, usurped by Nat West, much to the distaste of Barclays Managers.  Our mantra was to be ‘number by 91’ although I’m not sure whether that was achieved or not.  As I was tuned into the Banks and their promotion at that time, I noticed that Nat West promoted themselves at the detriment of others.  They continued to do so for many years, by saying ‘we’re better than the others, look at what they’re doing, we can do better than that’.  It always struck me as a very negative approach, I think they’ve changed that now but does that resonate with you?  Do you promote yourself and your business at the detriment of others, or can you base your promotion on the benefits you alone can bring?

There will always be competitors, whatever business or competition you’re in but please don’t think that others don’t have something valuable to offer.  You all do!  Very few businesses are exactly the same so try to find your own unique selling points (USPs) in order to promote yourself and your business.  What can you do?  Not what can you do that’s better than the person or business down the road but what can you do to meet your customers’ needs?  Your customer will decide ultimately if you and your USPs are what they want to buy so don’t waste your time putting someone else down or casting aspersions on others, just get on and promote yourself proactively.

Good Self-Esteem Supports Effective Promotion

I had a friend many years ago who seemed to build her self-esteem by putting other people down, even those of us that she classed as friends ☹  Not good.  Unsurprisingly she’s no longer a friend.  She had very low self-esteem for a number of reasons and seem to cling onto others metaphorically in order to feel good about herself.  And while we kinda knew that about her, it wore very thin when she expected us to celebrate her successes but she very rarely acknowledged ours.  If you need to form a support group of friends in order to be a friend to someone else, that could be an indicator that the balance isn’t quite right.  She used to say things like “I’ve forgotten more than you’ll ever know” – yuk but she was only fooling herself ultimately.  She promoted herself at the expense and detriment of others and was left very lonely because of it.

If you have good self-esteem you will promote yourself proactively, assertively and effectively and will not worry too much about the competition.  You will build effective relationships personally and professionally, knowing that investments in engagement will pay off.  You will understand that others have value, as you do and that by working together you can all win.  Someone doesn’t need to lose in order for you to win, you can all win by promoting yourselves on your own merits, not by pushing others down or bad-mouthing people.  You can’t control what your competitors do, how they work or promote themselves so it’s better to focus on what you can do, how you can offer a great product or service without denigrating theirs.

Know The Competition And Find Your Own USP

There’s a benefit to knowing your competition of course as that can help you to identify your own USP but please don’t think that being the new kid on the block is enough to win custom.  Some people like new and shiny things but old farts like me value knowledge and experience over shiny and new sometimes, so there’s room in the market for everyone, just focus on what you can offer and promote yourself accordingly.  Just because you think your product or service is great, doesn’t mean that everyone else will straight away and so time and investment are needed to give people time to get to know you, to see what you can offer that’s different to anyone else.

Think about going for a job interview.  If you were asked why the interviewers should select you over the other candidates, would you say “I think your other candidates are all pretty rubbish and I’m better than them”?  It’s highly unlikely that approach will get you the job or make a great impression on anyone.  Firstly, because you don’t know what the other candidates said in their interviews and secondly because you’d be making a very big assumption that everything about you is better than everything about the other candidates.  In reality, every candidate is a balance of strengths and areas for development, so if you’re looking to put the other candidates down in order to promote yourself that says quite a lot about who you are as a person.  Not good.

Good And Bad Day Behaviours

A company called Insights offer personality types training and they talk about good and bad day behaviours, which align to our strengths and weaknesses.  If your good day behaviours include being driven and determined, those are great ways to promote yourself and your business.  But if those good day behaviours or strengths are over-done, they can turn into bad day behaviours or weaknesses.  Drive and determination can become an overbearing and dogmatic style so have a think about where your behaviours are at before you meet a new contact or go into a meeting to promote yourself or your business.  Enthusiasm and passion are fantastic things but again, over-done they can switch people off and you’ll find it harder to engage with them.  Be mindful, take time to get to know people whenever possible and think about the style of behaviours you’re demonstrating.

Patience And Faith In Yourself

Balance and self-awareness are the keys to success, even if you’d really like to smack people over the head and say “of course I’m the person you need for this!”.  An appropriate and professional metaphorical filter can be a great way to moderate what you’d really like to say into what’s more appropriate and professional, and that’s more likely to land you the job or engage people to buy from your business.  It can be frustrating to be more reserved and cautious but the wins are definitely worth the wait and they will sustain your career or business for longer than initial quick wins which aren’t backed up by effective working relationships. Patience pays off but it can be a leap of faith too, which can test your self-esteem and resilience. Try to allow your good day behaviours to shine through to let people see who you are. Have faith in yourself and them 😊

Take good care please, promote yourself well and have a great day.

Best wishes, Karen