Marketing the Real You
C.J. Hayden, MCC
wonder how the practice began of pretending to be someone else in order to
market your business. You know what I'm talking about -- it's the marketing
face, the selling voice, that you often put on in order to attend a networking
event or make a sales call. Who taught you to do that?
I have a suspicion where we learn this behavior. Most of us spend a lifetime
observing showroom salespeople, product spokespersons in the media, and hucksters
on street corners. What we see demonstrated there is artificial enthusiasm,
manipulative use of language, feigned interest, and in some cases outright
Sounds awful, doesn't it? So why copy any part of this distasteful way of
Psychologist Abraham Maslow said, "If all you have is a hammer, everything
looks like a nail." Perhaps we believe this is the only way we can sell because
it's the only way we know. I'm not accusing anyone of consciously deceiving
prospective clients. What I'm suggesting is that what we do unconsciously
and automatically is to behave inauthentically around them.
Intuitively, many of us feel as if something is wrong with this way of operating.
When we have to sell ourselves, we find it unpleasant, disagreeable, even
repulsive. But what if all those negative feelings were simply because we
hate the artificiality and manipulation we think must be a part of selling?
Imagine what it would be like to go to a business networking event as yourself.
No facade, no pretension, just plain you. When someone asks your reason for
coming, you tell them the truth. You don't have to claim you wanted to hear
the speaker (if you didn't). You can come right out and say, "I'm hoping
to make some contacts that will lead to business for me."
You wouldn't have to invent reasons to start a conversation. You can walk
up to someone who looks interesting and say, "Hi, I haven't met you yet."
If you're shy around strangers, you can tell the first person you meet, "I'm
sort of a wallflower and feel awkward at events like this. Could you introduce
me to some folks?"
Now imagine placing a follow-up call to a prospect where you are completely
honest. You could say, "I have some days open on my calendar soon and I'm
wondering if this would be a good time for that project we've been discussing."
Or, "We haven't talked in a while and I'd like to find out if you're still
planning to start the new training program this year."
I see so many professionals and consultants struggle with trying to find
an "excuse" to call a prospect. You don't need some manufactured excuse.
You know the reason you're calling. Most of the time THEY know the reason
you're calling. Just say what it is.
Let's extend this same principle to making a cold call. Instead of stumbling
around awkwardly trying to make a polished -- but unnatural -- sales approach,
imagine yourself saying, "I'm not much of a salesperson, but I'm really good
at what I do. Can we have a conversation about what you need and see if I'm
the right person for the job?"
If you've been working from a cold-calling script that makes you flush and
get a tight throat every time you read it, throw it out. Come up with one
really good opening line that feels authentic and gets directly to the point.
Then decide how you will answer -- honestly -- some of the typical questions
prospects ask you. My bet is that your calls will immediately get easier.
In fact, the more you become honest, direct, and authentic in all of your
marketing, the more appealing selling will be to you, the more effortless
it will become, and the more success you will ultimately achieve. Because
most business results from building relationships, and how can you develop
a relationship with someone when you never reveal who you really are?
Copyright © 2002 C.J. Hayden
This article first appeared
in the Get Clients Now! E-Letter, Oct. 2002.
You may reprint this article in its entirety, as long as the copyright notice
and the following source information appears:
C.J. Hayden is the best-selling author of Get Clients Now! and Get Hired Now! and a
frequent speaker on topics of right livelihood, service to others, and social entrepreneurship.
Read C.J.'s blog at www.howtobecomeahero.com.