The title of this post borrows from the folktale about the cobbler who was so busy making shoes for his customers his own children went barefoot.
Of course the parallel to small business is certainly relevant, although it goes beyond simply being too busy, often it is just matter of not understanding the importance being a model for your work. Do you set a good example by being a product of your work? Can you show proof in your own business that what you are pitching works? Do the results you achieve for your own business act as a magnet for those seeking the same results?
I state often that the definition of marketing is getting someone who has a need to know, like and trust you. Putting out great content, ads and sales presentations is a tremendous way to create awareness and teach prospects that you get their challenges, but trust building is where the real sale happens and few things build trust faster than deeds.
It’s one thing to say you have the tools and experience to help a small business owner build thousands of back links to help their SEO efforts – and in fact, maybe you do – but what message are you sending when that small business goes to your site and finds through a link:http://www.yoursite.com/ search that you only have a handful of sites linking back to your site?
If a small business is looking to hire a PR firm isn’t it logical that they would look to find one that’s really good at generating their own PR?
On a recent morning run in my neighborhood I passed a crew painting a house and took notice of the fact that all of their trucks and trailers were freakishly spotless and freshly painted and decorated. I don’t know, but I’m thinking that’s who I want to paint my house.
Not every business can be a demonstration of their product or service, but like the painter above, you can send signals that build trust and show you actually believe in what you stand for and promise.
How many web or graphic designers have killer sites? How many electricians build every new gadget into their own homes? How many coaches hire their own coach? – that should be the first question you pose to a prospective coach.
There are so many practical reasons for doing what I’ve suggested here, building trust being chief, but it also helps you build a better internal culture, makes you far better at talking about results you experience, allows you offer positive proof without even trying, and helps you evolve and refine your own set of tools and processes by constantly field testing in your own private lab.
If you don’t believe in what you do enough to do it yourself, why should anyone trust that you could do it for them – no matter how busy you seem to be.
So, how do you practice what you preach?
Image credit: Retinafunk