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Selling Selflessly May Be the Key for Introverts

by Marcia Yudkin

In August 2012, a news report inspired me to find out more about long-distance swimming star Diana Nyad's attempt to swim 103 miles from Cuba to Key West without a shark cage. At Nyad's site, I clicked on one update after another about her effort in progress and returned the next day to see how she was holding up.

The more I read her news snippets and watched video taken by members of her support crew, the more excited I became.

Apart from the Olympics, I hardly ever follow sports, so I have no idea whether what I was picking up was unusual or the norm. To attempt a feat of endurance like the one she was in the midst of clearly requires near-superhuman determination. However, the web site portrayed her undertaking as an unegoistic venture.

She was confronting exhaustion, treacherous currents, vicious jellyfish and the danger of sharks not for personal glory but to show what someone could do at her age (she was about to turn 63). Indeed, by doing what no one at any age had done before, she would nudge back the boundaries of the possible for everyone.

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Just as important, her swim would spread awareness of the efforts of her sponsor organization to clean up the oceans and make them healthier environments for all living things.  That the environmental message was not just a PR spin became clear when a pod of dolphins joined her, leaping in synchrony with each other alongside her and lifting the spirits of Diana and the whole crew.

"If there was ever a moment during the Nyad swim when Diana was grateful to the NRDC and all organizations that support pristine waters," said her blog, "the best one came at 6:30 p.m. today (Monday) when she was visited by dolphins! There were scores of them; around our boat alone one team member counted 50 playing in the wake, while another looked up to see dozens more leaping above the water. We could even hear them breathing all around us... Swim hats off to all those who work for the preservation of where beauty lives-and even visits us!-in the form of these intelligent beings."

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Upon reading that, I donated to her cause.

All this came back to me the other day as I was pondering the dread of marketing I encounter in so many of the introverts I work with. It's "Who, me?" It's a fear of being in the spotlight. It's disgust at the showboating they watch some extroverts indulge in.

Those are egoistical concerns, however, and I've seen a complete switch in attitude when marketing gets reframed as something benefiting those being marketed to, or indeed the world at large.

Taking a cue from Diana Nyad's presentation of her expedition, is there a way of thinking about what you do as much larger than little ol' you? The old story about dedicated workers in the Middle Ages comes to mind. They were not piling brick upon brick upon brick; they were building a cathedral.

Does your work confirm values you passionately care about? Can you see your work as contributing to a cause?

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If you feel a bit uncomfortable being in the spotlight, you need different strategies to market your services.  Discover how to get ahead while respecting your introverted personality and getting others to respect, admire and pay for your talents. Take the introverts marketing online  course.

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Make a list of all the ways in which clients are better off, happier and more content because of the work you do. In that light, marketing is not about you. It's about bringing those benefits to those who do business with you. If you craft resumes, clients more easily find jobs, easing the stress on their entire family. If you teach yoga, you bring greater physical vibrancy and spiritual peace to those in your classes.

Marketing doesn't have to be about shining the spotlight on yourself, pumping up your importance in the eyes of others. A powerful switch happens when it's about offering something you deeply care about to those who have richer lives as a result. With that mindset, it becomes so much easier and more comfortable to reach out to your ideal clients.

Your marketing mentor,

Marcia Yudkin

P.S. If you're an introvert and could use intensive feedback and guidance on your branding, web site, marketing strategy or a publication project, come work with me one-on-one next spring on Maui. Your retreat is structured so you have ample time to relax on the beach and tour the island, too - and most likely, your whole trip is tax deductible.  Maui private marketing retreat. 

And be sure to download the free Marketing for Introverts Manifesto!

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