Paradigm Shift #1: Realizing That You Are Supposed to Be Terrible at Marketing Yourself Vs. Thinking You Are Supposed to Be Good at Marketing Yourself.
I’ve heard so many people come into my marketing workshops with this thought, unarticulated. “I should be better at marketing myself. I need to get better at marketing myself. I’m supposed to be good at marketing myself, and that’s why I’m stressed, because I’m no good. I’m terrible at marketing myself.”
Here’s the orientational shift I would offer. You’re actually supposed to be terrible at marketing yourself. You’re not supposed to be good at marketing yourself. Almost everyone I know is really terrible at marketing themselves.
There are few people I know, who are incredible at shameless self-promotion. They’re called sociopaths. By nature, humans are shy. It’s okay. It’s normal to be shy. It’s normal not to be good at marketing yourself.
Here’s what I can tell you about you. I haven’t even met you, but I’ll make a guess about you. You’re no good at marketing yourself, really, but you’re really good at marketing your friends.
You’re really good at marketing that restaurant that you love. You’ve sent them a ton of business. That bodywork and the therapist, the yoga teacher you love? You’ve done good things for them too. You have no trouble marketing other people.
Well, what if that’s true for everyone?
In my experience, it is.
Everyone’s terrible at marketing themselves.
Everyone’s good at marketing other people.
So then, what does marketing become? Marketing becomes about making it easy for other people to promote you.
That’s the shift. Instead of trying to become better at promoting yourself, you set up an architecture or latticework that makes it easier for other people to promote you.
Paradigm Shift #2: Making It Easier for Clients to Find You Vs. You Working Harder to Find Them.
So often, I hear people say, “I need to get better at finding clients. Oh, my God, I just don’t have enough clients, so I need to be better at finding them.”
Here’s your orientational shift: no.
But, it might be useful for you to get better at making it easy for people to find you.
So “I need to get better at finding clients” becomes, “Boy, I really need to make it easier for people to find me.”
Because your ideal clients are already looking for you. Stop looking for them. They’re already looking for you. Make it easy for them to find you.
Paradigm Shift #3: Make It Safer for Your Clients to Approach You Vs. You Being Braver to Approach Them.
Number three. “I need to get better at approaching my ideal clients. Okay, even if I know where they are, I’ve got to get better at approaching them, going up and introducing myself, saying hello.”
Possibly, but here’s the flip. It would be, “I need to get better at making things safe enough, so they could approach me.”
There you go.
How can you make it safe enough for them to approach you, instead of you obsessing about you having to be the one who is bold or aggressive enough to approach them?
Remember: you’re terrible at marketing yourself, but you can set up the structures so other people, through word-of-mouth, can spread the word about you, which makes it easy for them to find you.
Then they just send you an email, saying, “Hey, I’ve checked out your stuff. I’d like to work with you,” and they approach you. They email you saying, “Could we talk?” instead of you having to send them a cold email saying, “Might you be interested?”.
How do you make it safer? The easiest way is to offer enough pink spoons and free samples of your work. Think of: online videos, audios, written things or quizzes and assessments. Give them a taste of who you are and how you see things. Let them check you out, from a distance, while you sleep. Help them get to know you and your perspective a bit before they ever drop you an email.
If you do, they’ll be more likely to drop you an email.
Paradigm Shift #4: Cold Marketing Vs. Hub Marketing.
Another thing I see in clients –and this is unsaid– is that they not only need to get better at cold approaching potential clients but that, “I need to get better at building trust with total strangers.”
That’s the unsaid thing.
People have said, “Well, yeah, I know there’s the know-like-and-trust factor, and I’ve just got to get better at building this trust with people.”
Or you could focus on getting better at building relationships with what I call ‘hubs’ who your people already trust. You could get better at being introduced by somebody they already trust rather than trying to get strangers to trust you. That’s much better. The trust is imported.
You could focus on your conversational skills. That’s one way to do it. You say, “Okay, I’ve got to learn how to network and meet total strangers and just, from nothing, build this really deep trust as quickly as possible.” I know some people who are actually fairly good at that.
But the other way would be, and I’d suggest it’s much easier, is that you get really good at connecting with the hubs. For example: You’re at a party, and the host of the party spends a few minutes introducing you to the key people you need to meet that night. That’s a better approach. That’s easier. It’s more efficient. It saves time.
Paradigm Shift #5: Filtering Vs. Seduction.
Unspoken for many entrepreneurs is this sense that, “I need to get better at convincing other people to work with me.”
There’s a whole understanding of marketing that marketing is about convincing, persuading, seducing people into doing something. I just don’t see it like that. I see marketing, fundamentally, as sharing in such a way that it helps you both discern if it’s a good fit.
Fundamentally, there are three things to get good at–three elements of filtering: establishing relevance (i.e. that it’s what they’re looking for and/or can help solve a problem they have), establishing the credibility (i.e. that the work and you are trustworthy) and then establishing the value of what you do (i.e. that it’s more than worth the money that you’re charging).
Once you’ve established those three things–the relevance, the credibility and the value–then people are going to do whatever they want to do. We can’t control that.
You can make the case for those things, and it’s really not about convincing them to buy from you. You’re just sharing. You’re just saying, “Well, look, since you asked, here’s what I do. Here’s who I do it for. Here’s how I do it, when and where I do it, why I do it. Here’s the price. Here’s my philosophy around it,” and then they decide.
Marketing, done well, isn’t seduction. It’s sharing in such a way that you can both filter each other out if it’s not a good match.
Paradigm Shift #6: Getting Their Name in Here Vs. Getting Your Name Out There.
“I need to get my name out there.” I hear that all the time. What that leads to is people doing really bad marketing, like, going to events and leaving their business cards on every table or every chair.”
This is not good marketing. It just annoys people.
Instead of that, you might be better focus on, “I need to get their name in here.”
A practical example is this: two people go to a networking event. One person goes with a hundred business cards and gives them all out, so a hundred business cards given out to different people. They have successfully, and literally, gotten their name out there.
The second person goes with no business cards. At the end of the night, they’ve actually gotten ten business cards from other people and made notes on those business cards of what to follow up with them about. That second person has done a better job of marketing.
But wait. They didn’t really ‘get their name out there’. Maybe they only talked with 10-20 people. They got 10 business cards. This person gave out a hundred.
Ah, but those ten collected by the second person? Now they’re going to be able to follow up, versus the person who gave out a hundred business cards and is just waiting for people to call.
And they rarely call.
Paradigm Shift #7: Diffusing Pressure Vs. Overcoming Objections.
“I need to get better at overcoming objections.”
No. You don’t.
This is, to me, very old-school marketing. People give you an objection, and we even label it as that, and then we need to ‘overcome it’.
You might consider that does to their capacity to consent.
In my mind, the real skillfulness in marketing isn’t about learning how to overcome objections. It is about developing the capacity to identify and diffusing the pressure in the conversations. That’s the skillfulness to develop, not the skill in overcoming.
The skill is in seeing that there is pressure in the situation and diffusing it, and then lowering the risk of them taking a step, which is, of course, entirely up to them, whether they’re going to take that step or not.
Paradigm Shift #8: the Skill of Closing Vs. Discerning.
“I need to get better at going for the close.”
What if, instead of developing the skill of going for the sale, you developed the skill of going for the truth. The truth of what? The truth of: is this a fit or not, mutually?
That’s a real skillfulness to help them discern and for you to discern, too, if they’re a fit, to have the skill of having that conversation. “Let’s just get to the truth and see, is this a fit or not? If it’s not, no problem. I’ll walk away. Maybe I’ll refer you to somebody else. No problem.”
Paradigm Shift #9: New Clients Vs. Going Deeper With Existing Clients.
“I need to get more clients.”
Here’s the challenge with this: It is often driven by desperation, always getting new people and new people and then more new people. That’s like you have a bucket. It’s leaking. So you think, “Oh, I need more water in the bucket.”
The orientational shift here would be, “Maybe what I need to do is actually build a more resilient business model that’s deeper, a bucket that’s deeper, so that I have more to offer my existing clients. Maybe I need to plug the leaks.”
I’ve seen this time and time again.
People think they need new clients, but, when we look at their business model, we see that there are a ton of things they have that they’ve never even offered to their existing clients.
It is, often, easier to offer something to an existing client than to try to convince a stranger to become a client. Instead of saying, “I need to get more clients, new clients,” you could wonder about how you might get your existing clients to come back more often. Could you get them to spend more money per transaction? Could you offer them more products and services, et cetera?
Paradigm Shift #10: Closing the Sale Vs. Opening Conversations.
“I need to get better at closing the sale.”
Here’s another twist: “I need to get better at opening conversations.”
Instead of closing anything, we’re opening conversations. It’s a very different feeling to be on the receiving end of somebody closing you, versus somebody trying to open the conversation of what might be possible, different options that there might be.
It’s a very different feeling.