The Spirit of Authentic Marketing

Saturday, February 4, 2012

“What you are comes to you.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Marketing.  Why is it the least desirable aspect of our business for us?  Why do we shudder at the thought of selling, even when our product or service has stood the tests of market research?  Maybe we shudder because we entertain images of being too pushyboldly accosting innocent relatives, friends, and acquaintances until someone buys something from us … even against their will!

Maybe this thought frightens us so much that we would rather hide whatever we are selling than embrace the idea of marketing.

So our business remains just a good idea.  Unless ….

We can understand true, authentic marketing.

Let’s face it.  If our product or service is a good idea, doesn’t this mean that we have something that somebody else wants and is actually shopping for?

Of course it does.  Otherwise what we have would not be a good idea, and our fears about selling would probably be well-founded.

So, how do we begin?  How do we break free from fear of marketing our wonderful business?

It’s easy. 

No, really, it is!  The pros do it all the time … because they know something, and they are not afraid to use it.

Let me ask you three questions:

If you want something specific, do you turn down every opportunity to find it?  If you are ready to go shopping for what you want, and you find it for a great price, do you turn your head claiming that the seller must be just a money-hog, out to rip you off?  And if you are offered a free sample of something that you like, do you run the other way for fear of being pulled into a shady deal?

I bet you don’t do any of the above actions.  I bet you are more likely to feel GREAT to have found what you want at a price you can afford, along with the added bonus of a free sample!

I bet you’ll give away your hard-earned money to the person who is selling what you want at a great price.

Yes?

OK.  Good!

Now, let’s put YOU in the seller’s seat. 

Let’s say you are in an area where people are shopping (which, really, is pretty much anywhere in the world since people shop online as well as in stores and at conventions or events).  If you are hiding your product or service under a table-cloth (or away from social media or other online marketing) for fear that you will offend somebody, one fact is clear:  NOBODY will notice what you are selling, and therefore you will not sell anything. 

The people who are shopping for what you are selling will walk on by and find their treasures elsewhere.  Worse yet … they may NOT find what they are looking for at all!

And your good idea will remain just that … a good idea, gathering dust.  End of story.

So ….

What if you dare to dust off the fear that has collected around what you have to sell?

What if you put yourself in the shoes of your customers (those people you came up with the idea for in the first place … the people who want what you are selling)?

What if you go ahead and put out attractive signage? 

What if you, believing wholeheartedly in what you are selling, cheerfully greet people as they walk by (or notice you online)?

What if your enthusiasm for what you are offering is written all over your face, your website, or your social media page?

What if your product or service is clearly identified and it (or information on it) is attractively arranged?

What if your presence (your marketing materials and YOU) looks and sounds compelling?

Here is what is most likely to happen:

People will be drawn towards you.  They will stop by because that’s what they are doing today.  They are shopping!  They want to know how YOU can be of service to them in what they are looking for.  They luck out!  You not only confidently welcome them to browse what you are offering, but you give them something of value … a free sample.  You ask what it is they are looking for, and you explain how what you have can meet their needs.

Authentic marketing is about believing in what you are selling and seeking to fulfill the needs of your customers/clients.  YOU get monetarily rewarded because you provided them with something of value to them …. something they were already looking for.  Simple as that.  Nobody loses.

What about competition?

Competition is real, but the magnitude of its impact is largely a mindset. 

Yes, that’s what I said.  It is mostly an overestimated threat, and our fear around it renders us immobile …. and that’s where business ends for us, often without even beginning.

If  you can embrace the truth that each entrepreneur (yourself included) has something unique to offer … and then go confidently forward … your unique customers and clients will come to YOU.  You see, what you are selling is largely YOU!    You represent your product or service.  Your manner, your enthusiasm, your smile, your confidence, your brilliance, and your personable essence all say something about your business.  Remember, if what you are selling is what people are looking for, why should your appearance be anything less?

Your potential customers or clients will not go to Mr. or Mrs. Competitor because they are looking for you.  Other people will flock to the other sellers simply because they are looking for them.

The opposite of authentic marketing is marketing that is devious, pushy, and arrogant.   “Greed marketing” is what I call it.  If you are out for selfish gain only, you will have a spirit of competition that will drive you to “out-sell” your competitor.  This will show in you as fear, aggression, conceit, or downright dishonesty.   You might be successful for a time, but remember … people soon learn who has their best interest at heart.  And guess who they end up buying from.

Gather your clientele by being willing to:

Put out your marketing materials.

Listen to your potential customer/client.  Hear what they are seeking.

Inform them of the highlights of what you are offering.

Show your honest enthusiasm and belief in what you are offering.

Give them something for free.

Be authentic enough to recommend your competitor, if you yourself cannot help them.

Give them a reason to return to you or refer someone to you.  Hand them a brochure or business card.  Be confident enough to ask if they would like to receive follow-up marketing from you (newsletters or emails on upcoming products, services or events), regarding what you are selling.

Be the kind of business person that you, yourself, would happily do business with.

Happy authentic marketing!

Oh, and here’s an opportunity to browse my bi-weekly, inspiring groups:  

Coffee Chats  and  Positive Journaling Women’s Group

Verna Bowen             

All Ways Inspired             www.AllWaysInspired.com

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