Want To Brag The Subtle Way? Quote Your Reviews

In the last week, I’ve been asked by a number of people what tip I could give to enable them to blow their own trumpet but avoid sounding arrogant. In fact, the question occurred so often it made me think, “Hmmm, perhaps I should write a blog post about this in case other people would like to know too,” so…

Ta da!

Here it is.

In answer to the question, there are a few different tacks you can take, but the easiest (and therefore the one people are most interested in) is to quote your reviews. Or to put it another way: endorse yourself with a third-party endorsement.

So if you’d feel uncomfortable saying, “I’m the glue that holds the team together,” you’d instead say, “My boss tells me I’m the glue that holds the team together.” Or if it feels a little OTT to say, “I’m like a dog with a bone if there’s money to be saved,” you’d say, “One of my clients has said I’m like a dog with a bone if there’s money to be saved.”

It’s a more comfortable form of self-promotion because the trumpet blow is still there, but it’s been toned down by the fact it was originally said by someone else. And that’s an important point to make:

If you’re quoting someone, it has to be true.

Remember – all things personal brand are built on being authentic, not faking it to make it.

From the horse’s mouth

Even better still is when the third-party does the endorsing on your behalf – your boss tells their boss you’re the glue in the team or the client tells your boss you’re the dog with the bone – because the credibility of the review goes up a notch.

This effect was noted by Stephen Martin and Joseph Marks in their book Messengers – Who We Listen To, Who We Don’t And Why where they told the following story*:

A London property firm had a receptionist who would answer the phone, ask the caller what they needed, then transfer them to the person best suited to that need – so far, so normal. But the book’s authors suggested the receptionist added one extra step to the process.

Before they transferred the call, they would give an endorsement to their colleague, along the lines of: “Let me put you through to Peter, our head of sales. He has twenty years’ experience selling properties in this area. He’s certainly the best person to speak to and get advice from.”

This small change led to the firm converting nearly 20% more enquiries into appointments and closing 15% more contracts.

Do unto others

Of course, you can’t force people to big you up on your behalf (unless you’re into bribery and money in brown envelopes). But if you do unto others what you would hope to have done to yourself, you may just raise the chances of it happening.

So if you have a colleague or a client who deserves to have their trumpet blown, do it for them. They might just repay the compliment at a later date.

*Thanks to Kim Arnold for bringing this to my attention in a LinkedIn post

Have you used third-party endorsements to blow your own trumpet before? Do you find it easy to do? Or do you have another strategy you’d like to pass on? The comment box is waiting below if you’re happy to share.

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