Many professionals disapprove of the aggressive techniques being used by some others to promote themselves. Doctors, lawyers and accountants often view such self-promotion methods as distasteful and ethically improper. They believe self-promotion is wrong. And they are right. Some forms of self-promotion are unethical. But, there are times when self-promotion makes perfect sense.
If a professional misrepresents himself or his services and cannot deliver what he promises then he is remiss. This seems to be common practice when it comes to those who deliver financial advice. This particular community contains many unscrupulous characters that seem to have a dreadful lack of knowledge but are nonetheless prepared to promote their products and services to the extreme. This is certainly at times unethical.
Integrity and Transparency is Essential
While some professionals have acted without integrity in their use of networking and self-promotion, it does not mean that these valuable networks and venues for promotion should be avoided. As long as you act with integrity and transparency your online presence and self-promotion can be a valuable resource to you and your business. There may be some risk that you will offend some people, but to not have a presence can be detrimental, especially when so much networking is being done in this way. You run the risk of being left out of the equation.
Referrals Through Word of Mouth
Word of mouth is one of the most reliable methods of developing a professional practice. Therapists, freelancers, service providers and practitioners of all types benefit from this type of networking. In the business world in particular people enjoy referring a friend or a business associate to someone they know. They believe their efforts will be repaid in the long run and that referrals will come back to them, as one good turn deserves another.
Is it Unethical to Promote Yourself?
Not if it’s done with honesty and integrity followed by quality service. A good home improvement specialist will always leave his card on the kitchen table or include it in a thank you note. He does this just on the chance that a friend or relative is looking for someone with his skills. This is just good business.
Do You Have an Elevator Pitch?
It is essential for every professional to have a very succinct and memorable spiel to describe what they do.
People who train sales professionals often get very creative with their elevator pitch. One such pitch was: “I train sales teams win hundreds of millions in new business”. It may sound too aggressive to you and even shameless, but if his record proves that he has achieved this outcome, is it really shameless?
Perhaps you are a relationship counselor. You develop your elevator pitch and it sounds like this: “I specialize in resolving difficult relationship problems”. You start telling this to the people in your network. Even if you do not mention names, that is a good chance that a couple you were able to help will tell another couple about the professional who helped fix their difficult relationship problems.
There is nothing unethical about telling the people you meet what you do. It’s okay to be prepared in advance regarding what you tell them and to ask for referrals. This is what keeps the business world moving and prospering.