Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Awards: You Can't Win if You're Not Nominated

Awards: You Can't Win if You're Not Nominated

If you're a business owner, it's likely that you have at times treaded the fine line between tooting the horn of self-promotion and worrying that you're coming across as too self-serving. Women, in particular, seem to struggle with this challenge. International sales coach and trainer, Connie Kadansky, has seen it many times in her work to teach sales professionals of all stripes to overcome the fear of prospecting and self-promotion: "Women almost always seem more hesitant."

Interestingly, one of the best ways to gain visibility for your business is to be nominated for an award. All the better if you actually win! You might be surprised to learn, though, that the award often does not go to the best-qualified candidate, simply because there are often too few candidates. The awards go to the candidates who have the best self-promotion skills.

Think about how others' view of you and your business might change if you were a nominee/winner of an award for:
  • Your book or written materials
  • Outstanding customer service
  • Best downline retention for your direct marketing company
  • Most ecofriendly small business
  • Volunteerism and/or community involvement
  • Best office design
  • Woman/Man of the Year
Awards like those are being presented to entrepreneurs and business owners across the country. What's the single thing they all have in common? They were nominated.

Reasons You Talk Yourself Out of the Nomination
  • Anybody could have done it.
  • My achievements weren't that great.
  • I don't have anyone to nominate me.
  • It will look tacky if I nominate myself.
  • I'm not a good enough writer.
Going to have to license that clip of Cher from Moonstruck, because again I say, "Snap out of it!" Those aren't reasons - they're excuses

Anybody could not have done it - because if they could have, they would have.

Stop belittling your achievements. Instead, take some time to celebrate them. If need be, look back at the last year, two years, five years, 10 years. Where were you then, and how far have you come? I'm willing to bet the progress might just surprise you - so give yourself a little credit, will you?

Chances are there are lots of people who'd be willing to nominate you. The only problem is that they aren't mind-readers ... which means, you have to ask them! Would you nominate a friend, colleague, or vendor for an award if they asked you? If you would, don't you think they'd nominate you?

Self-nomination is not tacky - it's smart. Who knows you and your accomplishments better than you do? Who can write with the same passion and conviction about your achievements?

If need be, write the outline and find someone to flesh it out for you. Or write a draft and hire someone to edit or rewrite it. And if none of those works, get someone to interview you and have it transcribed; write the application from the transcription.

Folks, I'm not just singing into the wind on this one. I once had a client who hired me to write her application essay for a national award from her direct marketing company. She won - and the award included an all-expenses-paid trip to the national convention and a cash prize.

More recently, I saw a call for applications for the Fearless Women Day award. As a birthmother in an open adoption, I decided to share my adoption story and nominate myself. I'll admit to being more than a little surprised when I received a phone call last Thursday informing me that I am one of the 10 finalists. But it never would have happened if I hadn't decided to take the time to submit my 400-word essay.

You can do it, too! Keep your eyes open for awards you qualify for - and submit those applications. And remember, wherever there's an award, there's someone who's offering it. Put your thinking cap on, and I'll bet you can also come up with an award of your own to promote. More on that in a future post. 

This is Day 21 in the 60-Day Content Challenge. See you tomorrow for the next post!

Sign up today for Laura's next workshop, Want to Charge More? Start Writing! Or e-mail your questions on making the most of your marketing strategies - to Laura.

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