Real Business Help. Marketing vs. Smoke and Mirrors

by | Jul 5, 2010 | 0 comments

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day. This friend is a social media specialist, but she’s trying to get better at her work. So she called up a few connections on LinkedIn (thinking that a business social networking site would be the place to drum up some help), and asked them for advice on how to better advertise her blog clients and build a more solid following on the blogs she was managing.

What she got in return for her request was several sales pitches. Not people trying to help her, but people wanting to sell her their services. She was baffled. Why in the world would companies not want to help her get better? Because she was competition? She was confused. “Aren’t these companies aware of how many companies are out there?”, she thought.  If we don’t help each other get better, then no one gets better and we all stay the same. It didn’t make sense. She had sent out an honest plea for professional assistance and instead she had been sent to the bottom rung and approached like a raw piece of meat for dogs to fight over. She was completely frustrated and turned totally off to every single one of the companies that tried to woo her business.

This happens all too often. In business, when people come to you seeking help and advice, the best way to get their business for your company is to give them exactly what they are looking for and nothing else. I’ve sold more products simply by not advertising my products. If a customer calls me up and says “hey, I just wondered about this one thing” and I listen, reply, give them solid advice (sometimes even sending them over to companies that compete with me), 95% of the time, I get their business because they appreciate the honest, truly helpful, approach.

Too many times marketing schemes center around trying to fool the customer into buying your product. They create a fake need and then try to step in and fill it. But the consumer is wise to this approach. They know what their needs are–and they have plenty of real ones. They don’t need marketing departments to create new ones. So, to me, the best marketing strategy is to return to that old addage of putting the customer first.

When you honestly invest yourself in your customers, caring for what they need, and doing your best to provide answers and assistance without expectations of reimbursement, customers will thank you with their business.

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Dale Callahan

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