Honesty does something interesting to people. It shows you care more about 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 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 means 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, they’re the most likely to be dissatisfied. Wouldn’t you rather attract customers looking for reasons to be satisfied?
A 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.
For example, I would prefer for you to know that I am not a good choice to help you with sports-related storytelling. Think what you like. I don’t care about football, baseball, or basketball. If you’re passionate about sports, wouldn’t you rather know this about me?
When I was actively searching for additional Help Me Say It clients, I sometimes would tell a prospect I couldn’t help them. It was painful. Who enjoys losing a sale? But it really is the best policy. Being honest about being beneficial allowed me to focus on helping my clients win at storytelling.
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