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stop proposing to your customers on first date

Stop Proposing to Your Customers on Your First Date

Sep 29, 2020

Can you imagine asking someone to marry you on the first date?

I’d still be single if I tried. That’s for sure.

Think about it…you meet someone for the first time, spend an hour over dinner telling them everything about you, all of the wonderful things you can do for them, and at the end of the evening, you convince them to become your life partner as you get down on one knee and pop the question.

(Hopefully, you’re not thinking, Wait, that’s not how it works?)

Well, chances are, this is what you’re doing to your customers and they hate it.

There is a much better way to get sales than ambushing people with asks. Just like dating, the process takes time. You want to get to know each other — your values, your interests, if you’re a good fit for each other. It requires more thought and time, but it works and yields more results. I call it Authentic Marketing.

Most of marketing today reflects the “pulling out the engagement ring on the first date” approach.

In marketing, this looks like sending messages such as, “BUY ME! YOU NEED ME! YOU WANT ME!” to people who have never heard of you or your product/services. They don’t know who you are or what makes you unique, and they might not even know they need your product. There’s a reason you don’t win over many customers with this approach.

We, as small business owners, need to market in a way that allows the customer to get to know who we are before we offer them something. Great marketing respects the journey of our customers and gives them the opportunity to decide whether or not they stay on it.

You wouldn’t pressure someone to keep dating you against their will and expect the relationship to be fruitful. In relationships, this is called abuse, but in marketing, we just shrug our shoulders and call it “what you have to do.” This has to change.

Some companies don’t care about the journey, they just want to arbitrage the numbers. They will spend $100 on ads to make a $5 profit off a one-time purchase and do that over and over again. 

If all you want to do is make money, there are ways to do it, but that's not what authentic marketing is about.

Many of the big brands have large enough budgets to just blitz the market with ads until people are annoyed enough, feel enough pressure, or their subconscious thinks there are no other options but to buy their product and keep buying it. This is how big brands build “loyalty.” I am not convinced it works for small businesses.

So what does Authentic Marketing look like?

We have to rely on being authentic in our marketing, not just effective.

Authentic Marketing is understanding our customers are on a journey and we aren’t going to know where they are on that journey unless we ask them.

Authentic Marketing is a commitment to share the value your product brings to our customers.

Authentic Marketing is a willingness to admit someone may not be the right customer and even turn down a sale.

Authentic Marketing is a commitment to develop a relationship with a buyer over time so we can serve them the products they need.

When we as marketers and businesses give our audience content or value or products that help them with where they are currently on the journey, that is when the magic begins to happen.

Stop trying to propose on your first date. Stop expecting strangers to buy your product before they know your name. Stop thinking Facebook ads are going to save your business by promoting a random offer to people who have never heard of you.

Start committing to the long haul. Commit to leading your dream customer further on the journey they are on. Commit to discovering their pain points and why your product/service could help them achieve their goals. Commit to giving them content, products, and services, that meet them where they're at and help them go where they want to be.

Commit to Authentic Marketing because every valuable thing in life takes time.

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