Many people I talk to, who are building their own service business in Switzerland, ask me about marketing advice.
“How do I get more potential clients interested in what I have to say?”
“How do I get my message in front of people in my target market?”
“How do I get people to come to my website?”
Or in more simple terms, “How do I get more clients?”
I believe these are also thoughts that run through your head. At least, they run through my head all the time.
In this article, I will introduce you to 3 marketing strategies that are more important today than ever before and that have worked wonders for my business.
Marketing Strategy #1: Being Your Unique Self
In the Industrial Economy
I’m not exactly sure at what time in human history we have lost our humanity in communication and marketing. It seems to me that when the industrial revolution started, the human factor faded away.
In 1970, people were more interested in buying cheap, average products that fulfilled a certain need.
For example, people were more interested in buying huge cans of cheap milk at the dehumanized superstore than buying smaller and more expensive portions from the local farmer.
The world has changed. Again.
In the Connection Economy
Today, the world looks a little different. I don’t know about you but I rather buy my coffee at Starbucks for double the price than at McCafé, not just because it’s a whole lot more tasty but also because I love the baristas at Starbucks.
They make me smile. They make me feel like home. They seem to really enjoy what they do. And yes, I am writing this blog post at Starbucks.
I’d rather pay double the price for my coffee and let my busy day be interrupted by a smiling barista that makes me smile in return.
It’s not just about Starbucks and coffee.
I also much rather go to the Pizzeria with the waiter who smiles and makes me feel welcome than the place with the waiter who avoids eye contact and expresses his bad mood because he does not enjoy his job.
It doesn’t stop there.
If I need a doctor, I choose the one my friend recommends to me because he has been treated by the doctor like a human and not like a product.
I choose my coach & mentor because I feel connected to him and he shares my values, no matter if I pay more.
Being Human as a Marketing Strategy
Maybe this is engraved into my DNA but I can’t build a business without having humanity at the core. I can’t build a business that produces commodities, no matter if that means average products or average services. I can’t build a business that treats clients or potential clients like numbers and faceless database entries.
At the core of my business has always been humanity. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why it’s also at the core of my coaching & mentoring programs.
In a world that values remarkable people and connection, being human pays off.
I know that not a single one of my clients has ever come to me just because of my knowledge or experience. It’s because of my personality, what I stand for and what I believe in.
Every day, I show as much of that as I can in my blog posts and every single interaction I have.
How to Become More Authentic
I recently talked to a client who wanted my feedback on a piece of communication he had put together. It was filled with formalities, corporate speech and it sounded like a politician talking to another politician.
Drop the formalities and the corporate speech. Show your human side.
Talk about things that truly impacted you. Talk about what’s important to you. Talk about the things you value most. Talk from the heart.
Show that there is a real human being behind that email or LinkedIn profile.
Marketing Strategy #2: Being Vulnerable
I have recently discovered this amazing TED talk from Brene Brown on The Power of Vulnerability.
Being vulnerable may be one of the toughest things you have ever done. At least, it has been for me.
We want to be seen as authorities and avoid showing emotions. We have been brainwashed into believing that we need to show our achievements, proudly talk about our status and never show our weaknesses because if we did, a competitor or critic could tear us to pieces.
I’m proud to announce that I’m still alive and doing well, even though I show my vulnerable side regularly.
I broadcasted it to thousands of people who could potential tear me to pieces if they wanted to but guess what, I’m O.K.
Why Being Vulnerable is so Valuable
If you show your vulnerable side, you create connection. People can relate to you.
For example, I met someone for lunch last week who is part of a fast growing startup in Switzerland and he wants me to help them find investors.
Guess what one of the first things he said was. “I loved your story where you talked about starting your business with less than CHF 1000.- and having to go live with a friend to be able to pay your bills.”
It connected with him on a deeper level and we started the relationship a few steps ahead.
Being Vulnerable as a Marketing Strategy
In fact, the blog posts that attracted the most coaching & mentoring clients (yes, I track it) have been the ones where I shared a personal story or some fact that I was really uncomfortable talking about.
People don’t hire you because of your skills, experience or how hard you sell. People make the final decision, if they want to hire you or not, based on the connectedness they feel.
Sure, you have to have the knowledge, the skills and communicate in a way that is compelling. However, only having that won’t get you very far.
If you don’t connect on a deeper level, you will never reach your full potential.
What If I Get Hurt?
You decide how much of your vulnerable side you show. You don’t have to talk about the most excruciating story.
We have all been hurt by showing our vulnerability, I guess, mostly in our love life.
I see it as a necessary part of the big picture. I see it as a way for Life to test if you keep your faith or loose it, so Life can decide if you are ready for what’s next.
Here is the excerpt from The Icarus Deception, by Seth Godin, that expresses my philosophy perfectly.
“…whatever happens, things are going to be fine in the end, …pain is part of the journey, and without the pain there really isn’t a journey worth going on.”
How to Be More Vulnerable
Be prepared to step out of your comfort zone. Start with talking about things you believe in and what you stand for.
Find situations where you can share things that may have been a little embarrassing and gradually move on to increase the level of discomfort you feel.
Eventually it becomes easier. The resistance that says “Don’t share this, it will make you look stupid.” never goes away but it calms down.
Another side effect from training yourself to be more vulnerable is, when you actually get hurt – and we all get hurt multiple times throughout our lives – it won’t be as bad as when you constantly would have tried to numb your vulnerability.
Marketing Strategy #3: Being Generous
What does is cost you to say “Thank you” or “Have a wonderful day” to the waiter who serves your coffee or to the person who may not become a client today but maybe in a year?
What does it cost you, to tell somebody you have met and is not able to pay for your services today, “Go buy that book which can help you move closer to your goals”?
Being productive is great. However, never trade being productive for being generous. If you do, you will get everything done that’s on your list, just to realize the people you care about are not longer around.
Giving Away Everything
Last week, I had a speech in front of a group of 50 women on the topic of “How to Build a Network of Passionate & Likeminded People” and in the Q&A session, a women asked me how she can make sure that her networking and community building pays off.
I have the feeling that I gave her an answer that she did not expect.
I told her to give away everything, for free. I told her to give away all her knowledge and experience in written or spoken format. And then, when she feels she has given away everything, to give more.
Everything I know is on my blog. You can find everything I talk about in my coaching & mentoring program there, for free. So why do people hire me?
Nobody ever hires me just for the knowledge but for my opinion, feedback, accountability, directness, honesty and humanity that I share.
If you just want me to give you instructions and tell you what to do, don’t hire me.
Read my blog, for free, and then, when you are ready to change your thinking, get honest and direct feedback and be hold accountable for your actions, hire me.
How to Be More Generous
Constantly search for ways to be more generous. We don’t have a lack of people who can tell us what to do. We have a lack of leaders who share their compassion.
Train yourself in doing random acts of kindness.
Instead of rushing through the door at the shopping mall, look behind you and hold the door open for the next person.
Instead of not responding to a potential client who said no, say thank you for the time she invested to talk to you.
Instead of ignoring the people who may not be ready to buy from you today, send them a book from somebody you admire or an inspiring blog post you have written.
How I Got Introduced as a Speaker to 2 TEDx Organizers in Switzerland
About a month ago, I spoke to a women who wanted to talk to me and already mentioned in her email that she does not have the funds to hire me today but hopefully soon.
I scheduled a call with her and I told her everything she needed to do over the coming months to get closer to her goal of establishing her own consulting business in Switzerland.
I directed her to resources, such as books and tools she can use, and told her to work through the Communication Excellence Workbook so she can sell herself more effectively.
I also mentioned that one of my dreams had always been to speak at TED. What I did not realize is that she had organized a TEDx conference last year in Switzerland.
The next day, I received an email from her asking me if she can introduce me to 2 organizers of TEDx conferences in Switzerland as a thank you and because she thought I would make a great speaker.
I happily accepted her generous act and she introduced me. Fingers crossed that I will be speaking at my first TEDx this or next year.
I hope you see how powerful being human is for your business and that you put in the emotional work to bring more humanity into your business.
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