The Best Way to Market Yourself

Guys. Warm weather is almost here. I’m excited. I listened to some of the Red Sox spring training game versus the Twins last night and got even more excited. (Oh, and Joe Castiglione is one of my favorite people ever.)

What I’m not excited about is getting to talk to people on the streets of Chicago…holding clipboards.


“Good morning, sir! I see that you’re busy, but can you stop and talk to me for fifteen minutes about animal rights?” (…pretend I’m holding a clipboard)

Photo credit: Stu Grieve

As the weather warms up, sidewalks of Chicago turn into live commercials. People working for Red Cross, Green Peace, and other organizations will approach us, try to give us a pitch, and then ask us for money. As far as I can tell, a lot of these companies are working for a good cause. Still though, I’ve never been a big fan of this approach.

But why? Why do I despise it when these people approach me? I’m well aware these clipboard  people are just trying to make a living. I’ve also worked more than my share of customer service jobs that I’ve disliked. I always try to be extra nice to those on the clock. So what makes this one so much different?

Here’s why: I’ve been getting more into health and fitness lately.

[Guys in the back start grumbling that this has nothing to do with clipboard people.]

Hear me out. I love it because it keeps me fit and active. It also ties into other things I love – like acting. Believe it or not, many health and fitness coaches go through a similar marketing technique when it comes to reaching out to others. They both use the method of “Service, not sales.” (This is also something that Dallas Travers teaches us, so we know it’s legit.)

What does this mean?

I’ll use auditioning as an example. Many actors go into the audition room thinking, “How can I sell myself so that I get the part?” By using the “service, not sales” technique, we don’t need to do this. Instead, we can try thinking, “This director needs to cast an actor. How can I be of service so that I might help with this?”

[Guys in the back start grumbling that they’re not actors]

Fine. I’ll use a different example.

Think of going in for any old job interview. The company that’s hiring needs someone to help them with their company due to a vacancy. You’re offering to be of service by filling that spot for them. Yes, you’re doing this so you can have a job and support yourself. But is that what you’re going to say in the interview?

“Hello ma’am! I understand that this company has goals and deadlines, but I’m really just concerned about generating income so that I can pay for rent and Netflix. Do you think your company has room for me?”

Um….no. They definitely won’t have room for you.

Back to clipboard people. The companies that bring them on need money. While they’re certainly spreading the word, they’re doing so through sales. Not service. They want money from us while – as far as I know – aren’t offering anything in return. Not only do they want our money, but they want us to drop what we’re doing in order to stay and chat with them.

Sorry, Red Cross. But I’d rather just donate blood.

Disclaimer: Tony has only donated blood once in high school. It was terrifying and he hasn’t done so since. Really he should be paying these clipboard people money, rather than talking like he donates blood all the time. 

3 thoughts on “The Best Way to Market Yourself

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