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Small Business Digest


Work Hard and Get to the Top? Experts Say, Not a Chance!

What do Donald Trump, Martha Stewart and Stephen Colbert have in common?

They're natural self-promoters. Like top-notch salespeople and empire-building entrepreneurs everywhere, they seize opportunities to make themselves visible.

They may not be the most knowledgeable or the most technically competent in their fields, but they don't have to be. Studies show that the greatest rewards often go to those most willing to self-promote.

For a fortunate few, like Donald and Martha, self-promotion is an instinct that comes easily. For others – often the most loyal, motivated and deserving – self-promotion is emotionally difficult.

They are rendered invisible by a spirit-crushing condition the authors call the fear of self-promotion.

Behavioral scientists and authors George W. Dudley and Shannon L. Goodson have found that performance alone does not determine success - today, success also requires self-promotion.

Some of the best salespeople, highest paid professors, most quoted scientists and most powerful executives did not attain their positions by being the most technically competent. They did it through purposeful self-promotion.

In The Psychology of Sales Call Reluctance (Behavioral Sciences Research Press, 2007), Dudley and Goodson rely on their scientific research and international reputation for down-to-earth theories and practical advice developed during the 30 years they have spent studying this subject to get the message across.

Dudley and Goodson have discovered that fear of self-promotion manifests itself into a common phenomenon they term “call reluctance,” which limits salespeople from achieving their full potential.

In The Psychology of Sales Call Reluctance they offer exercises and techniques to help people recognize and overcome the self-limiting behaviors that keep them from earning what they’re worth.

They say, "the thick-skinned fearlessness expected in salespeople is more fiction than fact. It turns out that many salespeople are struggling with a bone-shaking fear of prospecting. This fear tends to persist regardless of what they sell, how well they have been trained to sell it, or how much they personally believe in the product's worth."

In the book, they identify twelve faces the fear of self-promotion can assume and behaviors that mark that particular face including:

* Doomsayer - worries, will not take social risks
* Over-preparation - over-analyzes, under-acts
* Hyper-pro - obsessed with image
* Stage Fright - fears making group presentations
* Role Rejection - ashamed of sales career
* Yielder - fear of intruding on others
* Social Self-Consciousness - intimidated by up-market clientele
* Separationist - fears loss of friends
* Emotionally Unemancipated - fears loss of family approval
* Referral Aversion - fears disturbing existing business or client relationships
* Telephobia - fears using the telephone for prospecting or self-promotional purposes
* Oppositional Reflex - rebuffs attempts to be coached

They go on to delve into each of these with a capsule summary, probable origin, outlook, associated careerstyle, self-assessment questions, objective assessment measures, frequency of occurrence, and the most effective countermeasures to reduce that fear.
In addition, other topics covered include diagnosing the fear of self-promotion in yourself and others, how to use a sophisticated training device that costs less than a penny and stops the fear of self-promotion dead in its tracks, why certain types of people are more likely than others to develop this fear and how to spot unethical self-promoters.

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