How’s that handshake?  Firm or limp? Do you look the person you’re greeting in the eyes, or do you gaze off to those in the periphery?  When do you hand them your business card (if you remember to even have some with you)? And, does the business card create a lasting impression on the recipient?

EVERYTHING YOU DO

How ready are you for the next moment in your professional life?  If Marketing is anything you do to help sell a product or service (thanks Jay David Levinson — Guerrilla Marketing — for this easy to remember and completely understandable definition), shouldn’t you always be prepared for the initial impact of a meeting?

And, is your knowledge of topics so limited that you can’t hold a conversation on anything other than what you know nor can you think of questions to ask about the things you don’t know?

WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW CAN HURT YOU

In my classes (either Marketing or Advertising focused) I always start out the semester by making the students ‘suffer’ through an extended attendance taking session.  I tend to ask where they are from, maybe why they decided to take the class, and what they are hoping to do.  Early on in the process I will invariably get the response “I’m from The City” or “I’m from Rochester” or some generic response based upon the assumption that I would never know what community they are really from and I wouldn’t be interested even if they told me. And, some students get up and leave because they don’t think that this exercise has anything to do with Marketing.

My point is more about marketing them as products – that’s not meant to de-personalize them, but rather to get each individual to understand what it is going to take to be more successful as they go through the stages of their lives.  You need to make impressions (hopefully positive) rather than be invisible.  This is relevant for more than just students. I’ve spoken to plenty of ‘established’ professionals who have no clue how to effectively market themselves.

BE DIFFERENT

You need to differentiate yourself — rather than be one of the crowd.  You need to be PRESENT — which means show up, stand up, and stand out in every situation.  Ask questions, give real answers, show enthusiasm and be interesting.  When someone asks where you’re from don’t say Rochester if you’re from Webster.  Don’t say The City when you’re from New City (not New York City). Don’t let your ‘friends’ hold you back from being more than they are.  Shake hands, look people in the eye, and demonstrate a passion for learning more.

If I’m asking a question there is a reason for it.  Don’t assume I don’t know what you are talking about.  And, even if I don’t know, I’m more likely to ask for details because I like to learn.  The question is though…do you?

Why Not Marc(keting)