I hear a lot of counselors, coaches, and NDs voice a reluctance to engage in certain proven marketing strategies. When pressed, the reasons for not taking marketing risks come down to these 5 basic fears:
- fear of being too visible
- fear of sounding too ego-centric
- fear of getting more business than can be handled
- fear of looking sleazy
- fear of rejection (failure)
Fear of Being Too Visible
This one is most often voiced by women in solitary offices who work with high-risk populations where personal safety can be an issue. It's understandable to have a need to be cautious. Creative marketing can accomplish that while still attracting clients you can safely serve.
Fear of Sounding Too Ego-Centric
While it's good to not let an inflated sense of self rule our public persona, I more often hear this from clients who haven't fully claimed their own power, and may be suffering a bit of low self-esteem. Think of it this way - if you don't project confidence in yourself, why should potential clients have confidence that you can help them?
Fear of Getting More Business Than Can Be Handled
Hidden in this fear is self-doubt about your competence, along with an anticipatory sense of overwhelm. There are reasonable solutions to this particular "problem" of success -- hire a partner or an assistant, or refer out to colleagues who aren't as busy. You're in charge. You can actually turn down clients and the sky won't fall.
Fear of Looking Sleazy
Short of promising a free pony to the 10th caller in the next 5 minutes, or meeting clients in a Bedazzled semi-see through half t-shirt and hot pants with 6 inch spiked heels, you don't really have to worry about looking sleazy. In fact, I sometimes ask fearful clients to hold this as their anti-standard. You aren't sinking that low, you're doing fine.
Fear of Rejection
This is the opposite of the field of dreams syndrome -- what if you build it, and no one comes? Well, the key here is to not take it as a personal rejection, but rather an important piece of business feedback that you need to do something else, something more, something different. Let the disappointment of not getting instantly fabulous results teach and guide your next set of efforts.
Marketing is a game of trial and error. The only real risk to fear is the choice to do nothing, and to not pay attention to the response you get.