Don’t Sell! Instead, Make Friends: How to Connect Authentically

“Build yourself a fortress of goodwill. Fill it with people who love what you do. Create a virtuous circle of loyalty and trust.”

You know the feelingyou really want to give a talk, contact a journalist, start a fabulous blogbut your inner critic says it’s just not going to happen. How do you overcome the fear and self-doubt that gets in the way of effective self-promotion?

Quiet people are prone to negative self-talkand those critical inner voices can stop you dead. The good news is that there’s a reason for that. In evolutionary terms, your inner critic is there to keep you safeto stop you taking unnecessary risks. But staying ‘safe’ and effective self-promotion don’t tend to go hand in hand.

Here’s the good newsyou can change all that.

A lot of the quiet people I work with worry about sounding inauthentic, or about coming across as boasting and bragging. Other common fears include sounding cheesy, sharing too much or too little, trying too hard, over-sellingall the concerns that a thoughtful person might have when trying to sell their products or services.

Sometimes the stories we tell ourselvesabout our confidence, our credibility, our place in the worldmust meet up with the stories we have to tell others in order to raise our profile and sell our work. That meeting place can be full of conflict, but it’s also a place of tremendous opportunity.

When we’re able to bring our beliefs, core values and our marketing stories into alignment, we we feel authentic, our confidence is boosted, and we connect with others much more effectively. Magical things happen. When these things are dissonant, it shows, and people are less trusting of our message.

So how can you, as a quiet person, find and connect with a loyal community of people who love what you do? People who will become your customers, clients, fans? People who will share the love and recommend your work to others?

Stop sellinglead with your values.

Storytelling, as opposed to selling, is the way to go. Your story creates a bond between yourself and your customers or clients. It enables them to grasp your values, and helps them get to know, like and trust you.

Relationship building, not selling, is the way to build a truly satisfying business. Selling can be heartless; relationships are the heart and soul of what you do.

As a quiet person, you need to find ways to make sure that the stories you tell yourself are healthy and conducive to making connections with others. It’s not just about writing stories, it’s about using storytelling techniques that fit the way you are, your values, the way you want to live your life and how you want to spend your time.

There’s an art, science and psychology to personal storytelling. You need to find the places you can really shineand use those platforms to show the version of yourself that people will be drawn to. For some of us, the focus may not be on the written word, but on presenting things visually, or creating podcasts, or making video. Our stories need to be multi-faceted  — to take our deep inner thought and direct it outwards in ways we feel comfortable with.

How can you reduce the fear factor?

  • Remember that you are not alone. Even highly experienced people are anxious under pressure.
  • Don’t try to battle your fearmake friends with it, become familiar with its physical sensations.
  • Give it a name ‘Oh! That’s just my public speaking wobbles again’. Naming it helps you identify it as a recurring negative thought patternthat can be disrupted.
  • Think about your greater goal not just the current task. If I run this event, what bigger, longer-term goal will it help me achieve?
  • Remember, and give yourself credit for, your past successes. We tend to forget all the great things we’ve done in the past. Don’t do this!
  • Keep a journal of all your successes even the tiniest ones count.
  • Aim to be a little bit braver every day.

As purpose driven individuals, we have to attract and connect with people that are ready and willing to connect with us. This should be our primary focusto find those people that may be ready, and share our stories and values,. Then, let them make the choice to come on our journey with us, or not or, not yet…

The above article draws on work in progress from Pete Mosley’s third book: ‘Where the Magic Happens.’

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