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  • Frederick L Shelton

1 Minute Lesson: Learn the Difference Between Marketing and Being Annoying



Shelton's Rule of Three states that virtually everything can be put into one of three categories. Examples include: Positive, Negative and Everything In Between. Direct, Passive and In Between. Inspiring, Demotivating and In Between.

Whether you're an attorney, an accountant or a sales professional, marketing yourself should follow this rule, as well. There are times to make it clear you are marketing your services, times to absolutely give it a break, and everything in between.


Extreme 1: Too Good to Market The problem I often see is the extremes. There are many attorneys whose egos are so fragile, they think it is beneath them to market themselves. They might tell others that they're an attorney but they won't ask for referrals or in some cases, even mention specific practice area they specialize in. In our webinar / seminar program "How to Build, Activate and Maintain a High Value Network", we mention that I needed a Trust & Estates attorney and after asking around, found out a guy I played tennis with at the local country club for two years, had never mentioned that was his specialty!


Extreme 2: The Multi-Level Marketing Attorney (or Other Professional)

You've all seen these people. I used to know a guy who would introduce himself to strangers by saying "Hi, I'm Gary Gohen, CPA" and shoving his card into their hands. I once received an invitation to a little boy's birthday party. It read "We would love to have all of our friends and prospective Mercedes buyers come to Bobby's party!"

Seriously? That was so f**king annoying! This is SUCH a violation of the Rule of Three. There are times to market strongly, times in between and times to give it a rest! To stop being a "suit" or AmWay Rep and try being a human being. So remember The Rule of Three. If you're at a networking event, hand out your card to one or two people who could be valuable to your network. If you're at a funeral, don't hand out cards. If you're at the country club, tread lightly but do let people know what you do. Simple stuff, right? Yet we all know people who don't get it. Frederick