Years ago, I received a simple piece of career advice:
“Go where you’re respected.”
— eco-entrepreneur Paul Hawken
These 4 words have guided my career
It applies to marketing too — aim to sell only to prospective clients who are already eager to work with you. By doing so, there will be no feeling of “selling.” There’s only connecting from the heart, helping them genuinely, and answering their questions.
Imagine never having to overcome objections… do multiple follow-ups… use compelling incentives to persuade others to “invest in themselves.”
The more you try to “sell”, the less pleasant for everyone:
With authentic marketing, we work towards never again having to feel like we’re “selling”.
The 4 Overall Steps of Authentic Marketing:
1. Be your authentic and helpful self by creating content -- consistently. Do this as an ongoing (and lifelong) personal growth project, and as a continuous ministry to your audience.
2. Grow your ideal audience with content distribution, meaning, to use ways to broaden the reach of your content. Two of my favorite methods are (a) collaborations with others (such as swapping video interviews with similar audience size) and (b) running paid ads on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, to distribute your content to new people who are likely to resonate with you and your message.
3. Connect with your biggest fans, and develop compassion for what they’re wanting. Through conversations, you’ll come to understand which people you can best help. Create (or curate) services that combine your interests and what they want.
4. Occasionally (yet consistently) announce your offerings as a reminder to your audience. Everyone is thinking about their own life. They’ll only pay attention to your offering when you announce it.
With these steps, you’ll grow an increasingly larger audience who is eager to connect with you. They sense your caring and trust your authenticity.
Your authentic offerings (products and services) naturally arises from the intersection of your passion and experiences, integrated with your compassion for the audience. It is neither forced nor artificial, but in a spirit of service that is resonant with your audience.
You no longer feel like you are selling, and yet, your fans are buying your stuff because they are buying what they want, from someone who cares about them.
Authentic sales is where selling has transformed into service.
As a result, the feeling “selling” is no longer experienced in your business… yet you are thriving with a full client roster.
Your intention is the foundation.
Commit to return daily to your deep intention of service. Whether in a client session, or talking with a prospective client, or posting on social media, always ask:
“How can I connect and uplift?”
Something interesting I’ve noticed is that at this relatively mature stage in my business, I find myself to be the worst salesperson I’ve ever been.
In exploratory conversations with prospective clients, I find myself neither polished nor scripted. I’m just trying to help them as much as I can, balanced with not overwhelming them.
I haven’t prepared to “overcome their objections” or “remind them of their pain and the value of my service.”
I sometimes even stumble when I answer questions about my pricing and how I work with clients.
Only 1 technique.
There’s only one “technique” I use in a call with a prospective client, which is that a few minutes before the end of the call, I simply say “Looks like our time is almost up… do you have any questions about how I work with clients?” and then I answer their questions.
If they are a good fit and they’re eager (which they usually are, because they’ve enjoyed my free content for awhile) then there’s a mutual feeling of excitement to work together.
Even without being a good “salesperson”, I have a full roster of clients, with a waiting list. Never has it been this easy for my business when it comes to client enrollment.
All of this works because I consistently do the Four Steps of Authentic Marketing mentioned above.
It’s no longer a chore, when we do something out of a heartfelt feeling of service and connection. This leads to more natural engagement with the people we can best help.
Now it’s your turn: Which of the 4 steps above might you need to work on?
George Kao is a Marketing Coach for small business owners, especially solopreneurs such as Coaches and Mentors. He focuses on ethical & effective ways to grow one's platform and build true livelihood.
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