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Keeping a Secret

Keeping yourself a secret is not the way to promote your business

As children we’re often judged by how well we can keep a secret.  And if we do a really good job of keeping secrets we’re valued as a trusted friend. So we all know there is great value to keeping a secret.

However, there is no value to keeping a secret when it comes to promoting yourself. Over the years I have often accused clients of being well kept secrets.  And yes, you guessed it, it is not a compliment. Let’s look at how and why you may be a well kept secret and what to do about it.

I have heard many reasons, or should I say, excuses for this phenomena.  The reasons include: “People know I do good work”, “I don’t want to brag”, “They will call if they need something” and “I don’t want to seem like a pest.”  The best one is “They will think I need the work.”  To that last one I just want to say: “Why do you think companies spend millions or even billions of dollars on marketing?”

A common concern I have heard over the years has been worries about having too much work and not being able to handle it all.  For anyone who doesn’t have enough work, that seems like a ludicrous worry, similar to the wealthy man who has a problem because he doesn’t know which luxury vacation to take.  My response to this problem has always been to continue to make yourself known.

If you are wondering about whether you should be spreading the good word about yourself and your work or other good deeds, just ask yourself the following questions:  “Do I do good work?”,  “Will I be able to satisfy my  prospective customers?”,  “Don’t they deserve to have me and my team doing their project?”  And lastly, “Why do I want to deprive them of getting the best?”

Please note that when I am talking about PR or even marketing, I do not mean advertising.  Advertising is only one form of marketing and if not done right, it will not generate good PR.  There are many ways to make yourself known and they will vary depending on who you are trying to make yourself known to.  A few examples are prospective clients, your community, your colleagues, and yes, your clients.  Unfortunately this is too often missed.  I’ve heard lots of reasons why a business should not promote to its clients, and every one of them was mis-directed.