It’s fun to dream up “laws” for ideas and concepts. I feel like I’m hunting down some irrefutable truths about human beings, and of course opening myself up to debate and even opposition.
So let me give it a go.
Here are my 5 Laws about Marketing, compiled from tons of experience and reading.
By the way, I chose Marketing as it is a topic that fascinates me, suggesting a mystery only a few smart businesspeople have figured out, and that remains a fundamental foundation upon which all successful businesses and practices are built!
1. People don’t like the feeling of being “sold to”.
How did you feel the last time someone tried to twist your arm to sell you something? Uncomfortable? Angry?
Most of us, unless we are closet midnight QVC infomercial junkies, hate being put on the spot by someone we sense is going to relentlessly bully us into buying their wares.
And it is this “baggage” that most of my entrepreneurial physician clients bring into our work as soon as we discuss how they plan to position and promote their offerings. They swear they REFUSE to turn into used-car salesman. And my heart goes out to them, because I resisted the idea of marketing my business for exactly the same reason!
Yet we are all smart enough to know that it’s almost impossible to get people to become patients or clients unless they a) are aware that your business or practice exists and b) desire and value the answer you’re offering to their problem.
Solution: Promise yourself you will never have to become a pushy salesperson. That you’ll walk away from any client or patient who is obviously reluctant to do business with you! They will NOT be your ideal patient or client.
2. Good marketing is ALL about relationships.
Stop for a moment and consider the people and businesses you are willing to open your wallet to. Do you think well of them? Did they come highly recommended? Was there someone in the business who made you feel valued at the time you bought something?
At heart, we are social creatures. We do business with people we like, respect and trust.
Solution: Forget about selling. Focus on building great relationships. Ask good questions. Care a lot. Listen well.
3. Buying is an emotional experience.
If you stop to think about why you just bought that cup of overpriced coffee, that sharp-looking pair of shoes, or those outrageously expensive tickets to a rock concert, you might notice that the impetus to your purchase was a feeling. A feeling of comfort, excitement, solace, pleasure, anxiety-reduction, one-upmanship.
No matter how much we think we deliberate and rationalize about our purchasing decisions, ultimately it is emotion that drives us to take action. I heard someone once say that there are two reasons why we buy an item – the one we tell our significant others, and then the REAL reason!
Solution: When thinking about how to communicate the benefits of your products or services, use the language of emotion.
Dan and Chip Heath, authors of the wonderful “Made to Stick” , describe six factors to consider when crafting your communications about your ideas, if you want your ideas to draw attention and have staying power. They must be Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional and use the power of Stories.
4. Buyers want to believe that they have made an excellent decision.
As soon as we have spent our money on a purchase of any significance, a little mechanism in our brain kicks in to encourage us to justify our decision. It’s as if we have to convince ourselves of how clever we were – “I got it for a steal”, “I really needed it”, “I can afford it now”.
Robert Cialdini, in his book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” , calls this “our need to be consistent with what we have already done…. which causes us to respond in ways to justify our earlier decision”.
Solution: Deliberately focus on making it easy for your patient or customer to justify their expenditure, by delivering value right away.
5. The secret to marketing success lies in passion.
Picture yourself actually having to sell something – gives you the shivers, doesn’t it? Please hang in with me, though.
Picture this something being a widget that someone is requiring you to sell in order to give you your paycheck. Nasty stuff!!
And now change the image to you having a “selling” conversation with someone whose problems you care about, talking about a solution you are passionate about. You know it works, and you truly believe that it offers value! How different does that feel?
Solution: The secret to successful marketing lies in authenticity – in believing in yourself and your offering so fiercely that you would willingly give it away if you could afford to!
Tapping into your passion and enthusiasm produces the shift in mindset that makes it not only possible but even necessary to embark on those conversations. Otherwise you could be accused of depriving the world of your wonderful contribution!