There’s something that’s been bothering me a lot in the business world. That thing is the current idea of marketing. Marketing has taken on this ugly connotation that’s almost in line with what we used to feel “old-school” sales people were. You know the type; the pinky-wearing, hard-push, bad polyester suit, old-school used car salesman. We’ve almost lumped marketers in to that category.
Quite frankly, it’s because a lot of them are.
Many marketers are mediocre to poor at their jobs, and they resort to pushy, overpowering sales pitches instead of proper marketing. First and foremost, if we’re going to fix that, we need to change the definition of what marketing is.
Modern marketing is no longer about asking people to buy your shit. Period. And neither is modern sales.
Modern marketing is about having a conversation. Not a cheap, one-off conversation, but a long, in-depth, meaningful conversation. One that isn’t just about telling your client base how great your product is or asking them to spend money on your services. What you’re really doing is letting them know that you’re real, your company is real, and it’s made up of people. Let people know that you relate to them and connect to them.
When you connect to people the right way, you open up the doors to the long-term conversation
I’m not talking about the false crap either. Don’t spend your time looking for tiny, loose connections just so you can tell them “Oh! Look! We’re similar!” Make real connections by reaching out and being you on a real, one on one basis and finding people that connect with you naturally (and hopefully want to buy your product.
You see, I’m naturally going to connect better and easier with entrepreneurs. We have similar interests, we do similar things, and we understand the same things. That doesn’t mean I don’t connect with those who aren’t entrepreneurial – as a number of my friends aren’t – it’s just to say that I’ll have an easier time if you are one.
When you connect to people the right way, you open up the doors to the long-term conversation that is modern marketing. That’s what it really is. It’s a long-term conversation between you and the parts of your demographic that you naturally connect with. It’s not the hard push. If you’re doing it the way I am, you avoid the hard push so much that you wind up turning down as much business as you sign, and you do it for the right reasons.
In the past year, I have turned down at least as many contracts as I have signed. I turned them down because, for one reason or another, our companies wouldn’t have made a match. I don’t mess with the hard sell. I have conversations. I find out what makes sense and if our companies match.
The same goes for you. Talk to your potential client base. Connect with them in real-life conversations. Speak in your voice. Find out what they need, if you can give it to them, and if it will benefit them. When you do, you’ll likely hold that client long-term.
Here’s the real deal; you’re not looking to make that quick dollar. You’re looking for the long-term, repeat business. If you push the hard sell, both in sales and in marketing, you won’t have a long-term client in the lot. You’ll be left with a lot of great sales, but nothing to follow them up with. You can’t be afraid to tell them it’s not a fit. Don’t be afraid to say, “You can’t afford me at regular price, and I can’t cut my prices low enough to help you without costing me money.”
If you can have that courage (which you will by the time you’ve finished that conversation and gotten to know the client) you’ll earn trust, respect, and an evangelist for your company. Don’t be afraid to lose the sale. They’ll be back for the honesty. It’s rare to find, and they won’t turn it away. Even if they don’t, you’ll have a clean conscience and a reputation for honesty. And that goes a lot further, especially over the long term, then taking advantage of the client.
Shift your definition of marketing. Start having those conversations. Build a solid reputation. Deliver value. Get to know your market. Be there for them before they become your client. Make them your friend. Your actions today should no longer focus on a sale tomorrow. They’re about the conversation.