I know this is a bold title. But very few Independent Professionals are aware of how powerful this secret is (let alone what it is). It's THE key to making your marketing work, attracting more clients, and taking the struggle out of marketing.
It's something you know how to do, but when it comes to marketing, you do it very rarely. You put your focus on a dozen other things and miss the secret every time.
And one of the reasons you resist marketing is that you don't do this one thing. If you could really get how powerful this secret is, your whole attitude to marketing would change.
But as simple as it is, most people find this one thing very difficult to do. Or they just don't believe that it could be THE SECRET to marketing. Most think of it as a minor component that is certainly useful sometimes, but certainly not the most important. It mostly gets lip service.
And when I reveal it to you, you are apt to just brush it off as something you knew already, but is certainly no big secret.
Okay, where do I start?
Let me start with what everyone seems to believe IS the big secret of marketing. And that's a powerful "Marketing Message."
A marketing message is certainly important. But a great marketing message can only come into being if you first understand the REAL secret first.
Let's look at marketing messages.
People work on developing a marketing message with the hope that when they use it - verbally or in print - that the person hearing or reading that message will be immediately stimulated into wanting to do business with them.
Well, sorry to burst your bubble, but that is a delusion.
A marketing message can do just one thing - get the attention and interest of your prospective client so that the real marketing process can actually begin.
In the Fast Track Program (part of the Marketing Club), we call that "getting a prospect onto first base." But first base isn't that big. It's important, but it certainly isn't a home run. Those rarely happen.
I often think of a marketing message as a "conversation starter."
Someone asks you what you do and you use your marketing message to generate some degree of attention and interest. But when you notice they are not jumping up and down asking you to work with them, what do you say next?
One of the most common responses is to then tell this person everything about your business in the hope that something sticks. So you expand on your marketing message, tell stories, and explain the process of what you do.
And at the end of the conversation, they politely ask you for your card which you give eagerly, hoping they'll call you. You also ask for their card, but when you try to follow-up, not a whole lot happens. You wonder what you did wrong.
Well, you didn't use THE SECRET, that's for sure!
I want you to imagine a similar scenario. Someone asks you what you do and you again use your marketing message. That starts the conversation, but instead of continuing to talk about your business, you turn the tables and find out about this person and their situation (or about their business).
For instance, if they have a business, you find out how it works and what they love about it. You put all your interest and attention on them and take it off yourself. You learn as much as you can about them and their business (while avoiding making it feel like you're giving them a "third degree interrogation").
When you conduct your marketing conversations like this, great things happen: First, you learn if this person is actually a prospect for you or not. Second, you create a much deeper connection with them than if you had spent the whole time talking about your business. And third, by learning about them first, you open the door to them learning about you.
Have you guessed the secret yet?
It's that magical skill called LISTENING. And yes, it's THE SECRET to marketing (and selling) success.
Marketing is so hard for most people because they simply don't listen. They are focused on communicating their message, their agenda, their stories. And why doesn't this work? Because nobody is listening to them!!!!
So how do you get people to listen? You listen first.
Forget about yourself, your business, your agenda, your stories. They're not going to hear them anyway, so don't even bother this early in the conversation. Turn your attention in the other direction and really listen to others.
A participant in one of my recent workshops, Mark Thompson, related a story about this. He told about a time he met someone and decided to just ask questions and listen and do nothing else. After about forty five minutes of this, the other person had to go and he remarked, "You know Mark, you're on of the most interesting people I've ever met!"
And Mark hadn't told one single thing about himself, shared any valuable information or told a story. His listening and his being interested is what made him interesting.
So what does listening have to do with developing your marketing message? Simple, if you spend more time listening, people will tell you what interests them. They'll tell you their issues, challenges and problems. And then you'll craft your messages to speak to those concerns.
A challenge to you:
The next time you get into a conversation with a person socially or in a networking situation, or even if someone calls you on the phone, do this: Spend the whole time asking questions and listening and absolutely no time talking about yourself or your business. You may be amazed at what happens.
Next week - "What comes after listening?"
The More Clients Bottom Line: Listening is THE SECRET to marketing. It's simple and powerful but it's not as easy as it sounds. It takes some real attention, intention, and practice to uncover the power of listening when your are marketing your business.
How has listening, more than talking, helped you grow your business? I'd love to hear some real stories. Please share on the More Clients Blog.