Chris den Daas (1961) is entrepreneur, marketing expert, business & life coach and author of the bestseller “Marketing zonder personeel”. Since 1989 he has founded and managed several companies in the areas of strategic marketing consultancy and ICT. In 2012 he unregistered his 4 companies and started an amazing journey that among things resulted in this book.

Hello Chris, congratulations on your book “Marketing zonder personeel”, how did you have the idea to write about it?

In the past few years I have talked to hundreds of small business owners, freelancers in particular. I realised that a lot of them are struggling with similar problems, especially when business gets tough. Instead of creating more space, they limit themselves to one dimensional thinking, they develop a tunnel vision approach to their challenges. They are susceptible for advice that at the most provides temporary relief, but offers no real solution. For instance, a SEO expert convinces them to upgrade their website to improve the ranking in the Google search results. After they have invested their time and money in their website they find out that there is no tangible result. They are getting no new clients and the revenue doesn’t increase.

I wanted to create a framework that supports entrepreneurs to get a 360˚ view on their personal aspects and a comprehensive toolkit they can work with to market and position themselves. And that is what the book is all about.

Companies are getting smaller and it is estimated that by 2020 half of the working force will be freelancers who will need to market themselves. How can they use your book in their favour?

This book provides a framework for people who are marketing themselves. Not only does the book present the Personal Mix and the Personal Marketing Matrix (PMM), it also provides 48 practical tools to effectively communicate the personal elements with the best suited marketing channels and tone of voice. It is a guideline for developing (new) products or services, creating new working methods and identifying and approaching new target groups.

Peter Roemeling, personal leadership coach and fellow author, expresses the benefits as follows: “Filling in my own PMM has taught me why this book is useful. It has provided me with awareness and insights how I currently make use of the various marketing tools. It has encouraged me to review and optimize my website and my linkedin profile. I have since researched a possible emphasis on SEO Marketing and Networking. I have questioned why I haven’t included my unique personal life experiences in my communications. As a result I have selected 4 tools on which I am going to focus this coming period.”

Do you feel that because of this trend the rules of marketing will adapt as well?

When you market a concrete product, say oranges or shirts, you can use the intrinsic product properties like taste, colour and fabric. You can then add features that create appropriate customer experiences. However, when the product or service is a reflection of yourself the playfield is different. How do you know what your intrinsic product properties are? Do you have any blind spots? Do you have any blocks? And if you add customer experience features in your communication, are they congruent with who you are as a person?

These issues will become more important and surpass the ideas proposed in “personal branding.” They require a new paradigm in which a thorough awareness of oneself becomes the cornerstone of genuine marketing. I predict that this will become an exciting time where marketing will be reinvented and values like honesty, sincerity and congruence will become predominant.

For you, what is the most common mistake independent professionals do while marketing themselves? And how can they avoid it?

Acting on impulse!!  When you are acting on impulse you don’t see the bigger picture. For instance, you are going to a networking event because your best friend invited you. At the networking event you meet a SEO expert who tells you  that you can enhance your visibility by adding search items to your website, so you hire him to upgrade your website. A week later you get a call from a business magazine who gives you the opportunity to advertise the workshops you are giving the next month. And after a talk with a fellow coach you decide to change your linkedIn profile and to post some articles on LinkedIn. When you have done all these things, spent your time and invested money, do you think this will get you more leads? Do you think you will get more sales? Probably not! And yet, most marketing activities start just like that.

How can you avoid that? Well, first of all you need to have a thorough understanding about yourself. After all, yóu are at the core of all your services and offerings. I will talk more about this in a minute. And second, you need to have an idea which marketing channels best suit you, your services and your target audience. If you are an outgoing person, face to face contact will work very well for you, so you can pitch and network a lot. If you have a feeling for language you can blog and build a catalogue of blogs and white papers on your website.

In the book I provide the necessary frameworks and exercises to find your sweetspots, the areas where you should focus on for maximum impact.

And what is the number one rule when it comes to marketing yourself as an independent professional?

Know your product. In other words: Know thyself!! Rather than focussing on your target groups, focus on yourself first. Differently than with marketing concrete products, you cannot create or modify the core product. You simply cannot change who you are. You can change the way you manifest yourself, but you cannot change your essence. So first of all you need to get to know yourself fully. You need to get a 360˚ view on who you are: your character, your talents, your passions, your social environment, your life phase.

Only then you can attract the appropriate customers while fully utilizing your full potential.

Thanks for the great insights! Where can we buy your book?

You can purchase it in any local bookstore or online. I prefer you order it directly online from my publisher, Uitgeverij Quist: www.quist.nl

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