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“Marketing Terrifies Me”: How to Overcome Fear of Marketing / Sales (for Authors and Others)

In preparing for her recent VIP Day consultation with me, a client divulged her immobilizing fear of marketing.

She’s not alone.

I’ve heard dozens, maybe hundreds, of variations on this theme for years  now. And, if you can imagine yourself saying these words, I want to be clear: It’s probably not marketing you’re terrified of.

No. No. No.

In a minute, I’ll share how to overcome fear of marketing or sales, but first, here’s my own admission:

When Melissa Sones encouraged me to apply for “Marketer of the Year” from the American Business Awards, I felt that clutching fear in my tummy. I didn’t see myself as a marketer nor did I want to be seen as a marketer.

marketer of the year award
I felt funny then about the word “Marketer” but now I’m proud.

Melissa convinced me, though, and, with her help, I received the Gold Stevie Award for Marketer of the Year in 2012.

And I was embarrassed. I hadn’t gotten over the “marketing” stigma.

I thought it might make me look sales-y and that people might think it meant that my trainings and services lacked substance–that perhaps my work was marketing hype.

I’ve gotten over it. So over it.

Here’s the truth: Marketing is about reaching people. It’s about connecting with your tribe, sharing the wisdom, skills and experience you have to offer them to make their work and lives easier. Some of that you do for free and some of that you charge for.

You strive to do it gracefully. Professionally. With a smile.

Marketing is about being of service to those you wish to serve, and in a way that creates a sustainable business.

Is that so bad? Is it terrifying?

Okay, if it’s still a bit daunting, take a deep breath.

At its heart, marketing is about being of service.

Imagine meeting someone at a party–a friend of a friend (FOF). This FOF needs help with her ____________. (Go ahead, fill in that blank with something related to your services).

At the party, she tells you her dilemma, problem or challenge. You offer some helpful advice to address it, based on your many years of experience. You even share an example from your life or your client’s business that brings it to life.

She leaves the party elated. She goes home and implements your ideas. They work! She wants more.

Luckily, you gave her your business card. Oops. You forgot to do that. Oh, well luckily, she remembers your name–sort of–and is able to find you in a Google Search and ends up on your excellent website–a website full of inspiring testimonials from people just like her whose lives you changed.

Or maybe your book is already written. She googled and found your book. She buys it. More helpful advice.

Then she wants more of your wisdom and expertise. She’d like to hire you to help her in a more customized way. She goes back to your website and contacts you about hiring you for her next steps.

That’s marketing. Right? Doesn’t sound so bad.

Now, multiply that by how many people you want to help. Suddenly, maybe, you can’t have 100,000 conversations but that’s how many people you want to help.

Okay, now you need a way to help more of those people–your book, a webinar, a downloadable course.

And now you need a way to have 100,000 conversations like the one you had with FOF.

Now you need to think and act like a marketer. Now you need to see marketing as one of your roles.

Are you afraid of marketing? What’s the fear? Or have you overcome a fear of marketing–please share your wisdom as a comment!

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Lisa Tener

Lisa Tener is an award-winning book writing coach who assists writers in all aspects of the writing process—from writing a book proposal and getting published to finding one’s creative voice. Her clients have appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS Early Show, The Montel Williams Show, CNN, Fox News, New Morning and much more. They blog on sites like The Huffington Post, Psychology Today and WebMD.

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