Let’s Be Honest, Really…
Honesty does something interesting to people. It shows you care more for what’s important – them.
Here’s the thing about how some organizations go about marketing. They’re embarrassed by negative features. So, they either hide these features outright or they transmogrify a weakness into a supposed benefit. “Our weaknesses don’t matter,” they say. What a crazy magic act.
Those weaknesses do matter – a whole lot – to some customers.
Am I advising you to market by leading with what’s wrong with you? I might be different, but I’m not crazy. I’m advising you to lead with honesty. For the only reason that matters. Do you like someone you can’t trust? I didn’t think so.
Would you buy something from someone you don’t trust?
When you are honest about your ability to help someone, you communicate that you care more about them than something selfish like your sales goal. Your honesty about what you’re not good at positions you to be trusted for the positive things you say about your product or service.
Alas, this does mean that people will not choose you. Your honesty about what you’re not good at will scare them away.
Here’s the thing about the people who choose not to be your customers. If they’re the least likely to buy from you, they’re the most likely to be dissatisfied with your product. You might feel differently, but I prefer customers who are looking for reasons to be satisfied.
That weakness you know which might make a difference? The one you glossed over or decided not to expose? It’s the thing that would have made people pass you by. Congratulations. You got them to stick around. Now you’ve got to deal with what you weren’t honest about.
I would prefer for you to know, for example, that I am not a good choice to help you with sports-related storytelling. Think what you like. I don’t care for football, or baseball, or basketball. If you’re passionate about sports, wouldn’t you rather know this about me?
I sometimes tell a prospect I can’t help them. It’s painful. Who likes losing a sale? But it really is the best policy. Being honest about being beneficial lets me focus on helping my clients win.
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