What, pray tell, inspired me to write an article about how awful marketing and selling are?
First of all, it’s 100% True, right? Marketing and selling do suck. They are manipulative, dishonest practices, devoid of ethics, or any redeeming qualities.
Marketing and selling suck big time.
Or do they?
Over the years, my clients have told me, “I hate marketing and selling myself. I know it’s a necessary evil, but I’ll never enjoy it, yet I know I’ve got to do it in order to attract clients. So, at least tell me how I can make it less painful.”
Well, obviously I don’t look at marketing and selling in this way.
But those two words sure are loaded. Why do they trigger such a negative response in so many people? And why do so many self-employed professionals hate to market and sell themselves?
My clients tell me this over and over again:
“When it comes to marketing and selling my professional services, I just freeze up, I lose all my confidence.”
Why is that? Why the lack of confidence, the fear of talking about and sharing what you do?
Well, it’s complicated!
Ultimately, it’s all about what you are telling yourself when you attempt to persuade someone. Do any of these sound familiar?
They won’t be interested in what I’m offering.
Why would they want to talk to me?
I’m really not good enough to be offering this.
I don’t want to bother or interrupt them.
I’m just not the sales and marketing type.
What I’m saying is that it isn’t marketing and selling that sucks. It’s your thinking and self-talk about marketing and selling that sucks.
Clearly, if you are thinking those kinds of thoughts, marketing and selling will be an unpleasant experience.
And no matter how many marketing and selling strategies you learn and implement, you’ll always be doing them on top of these negative, fearful thoughts.
So, how do you turn this around? Is it even possible?
Do you need to develop habits of positive self-talk? Do you need therapy to overcome your fear of rejection? Or do you just need to fake it ‘till you make it?
Well, I think there’s a simpler way.
First of all, realize that most of these worries and fears are some version of, “They won’t like me and they’ll reject me.” It’s all about YOU.
And then, when we attempt to market and sell ourselves, we try to do the best we can but continue to focus on ourselves:
Am I doing it right?
I don’t want to make a mistake.
I need to be more authentic. And smart.
I want them to like me.
I mustn’t appear to be manipulative.
How do I make sure to make a great impression?
Can I give it to you straight?
This is simply self-absorbed neurosis. And there is no answer in that direction. This is not something you can fix or make better. That’s just more neurosis.
Do you get it?
“I’ll work as hard as possible for people to like me and what I’m offering so that nobody will ever reject me.”
Good luck with that. It’s a losing battle. When your attention is all on yourself, you can never be good enough. Even if you become wildly successful, it won’t be enough. You’ll always feel you are lacking.
And this is when marketing and selling really sucks.
I suggest you try something completely different. Someone once said, “It’s none of my business whether people like me or not. It’s my business to like people.”
Take your attention off yourself. Forget about yourself and what people think about you.
Instead, put all your attention on your prospective clients. Try some or all of the following instead:
Get really interested in your clients and their needs.
Seek to understand the problems and challenges they are facing.
Be helpful, considerate, and thoughtful.
Share ideas and solutions that may be useful.
Give away some of your best ideas.
Bend over backwards to be of service.
When you take your attention off yourself – your insatiable need to be liked – and put your attention on your prospective clients, an amazing thing happens.
Marketing and selling don’t suck anymore.
It actually becomes a joy. It becomes fun and interesting. It becomes about helping people.
And it becomes a whole lot more effective as well.
People will engage with you differently. They’ll hear what you have to say, they’ll ask you questions, they’ll feel good around you. They’ll want to know how you can help them.
It would be great if we could throw out the words marketing and selling altogether and replace them with words like “developing relationships” and “service.”
But for now, I urge you to shift your focus of attention and lose yourself in the world of your clients instead of the world of your self-centered ego.
Your ego can never be satisfied or fulfilled.
Help someone instead. Now, that’s fulfilling.