Eighteen months ago, I was putting the finishing touches on my book, Making Mediation Your Day Job, and posting here some of the ideas in it for feedback. One of those ideas was the value of tapping your strengths when marketing.
Today I received an email from Jackie, who told me, “I can’t stand marketing and I think it’s going to mean the death knell for my fledgling ADR practice. My local business networking group told me I’ve got to learn cold calling, schmoozing and all sorts of other activities that make my blood run cold. Can you help me figure out how to turn marketing into something I can at least find palatable, if not love?
Yes, indeed. Here’s a short excerpt on the subject from my book, followed by links to several earlier articles in which I gave practical, detailed tips about how to begin marketing mediation from your strengths. And, of course, I work with ADR groups via workshops and one-on-one with individual mediators to discover and craft marketing strategies built on your strengths.
Work from your strengths
If you’re like most people, you probably “play to your strengths” much of the time. After all, your strengths carry you while you shore up your growing edges. For many mediators, the actions typically associated with traditional marketing feel more like they play to your weaknesses, or at least to your misgivings and self doubts.
Let’s consider this through a conflict lens. Engaging conflict is hard because, at least in some ways, it calls upon you to confront your fears. Conflict may “press your buttons” because you experience a real or perceived threat to some part of your identity…a threat to your view of yourself as competent, autonomous, worthy of being included, and so on.
You may find marketing a challenge for similar reasons: Offering your talents for the world to buy or ignore puts your identity on the line. Mediocre (or worse) results from your marketing efforts imply judgments by others of your competence or value.
Kat, a new professional in the field, put it this way: “I’m already resistant to doing the kinds of things that most marketing books tell me I need to do. So, when I do them and then don’t see results, two things happen. I dislike doing those tasks even more next time. And my dislike of the tasks shines through, probably to the very people I’m trying to reach. It’s like a double slap in the face.”
No more slapping yourself in the face! Building a marketing strategy based on your strengths yields four immediate, compelling and irresistible results:
- You’ll do it better.
- You’ll enjoy it more.
- You’ll more likely follow through because it’s enjoyable.
- And you’ll attract others to you because you’re working from your passion.
Marketing from your strengths doesn’t completely release you from all tasks that fail to capitalize on what you do best. But it does mean that the bulk of your marketing tasks should be based on your strengths in order to build momentum from which to launch your less-desirable tasks.
What are your strengths, ADR-related and not? And what could happen if you replaced marketing tasks you dislike with a way of marketing that feels authentic and enjoyable?