So asked Karen on our call last week, frustrated because she couldn’t get people to buy her wonderful product. Many agreed. How indeed will they know if WE don’t tell them? So they keep telling, and people keep turning away.
Marketers around the country are (surprisingly) surprised by this everyday: Most consumers don’t believe marketers.
No matter how great they think their thing is. And the more the ones selling it scream, the more they get a deaf ear or eyes that have suddenly glazed over. Marketers’ words of praise for their products are now suspect just because they’re the ones singing the praises of their thing.
“No one wants to hear how wonderful we think we are,” says a restaurant owner. Sniff.
One way to overcome this is to have good word of mouth – by existing customers who love talking about it to their friends. Godin talks about the “flipping the funnel” where customers are talking about YOU. (Think Tivo or iPods).
However, for these words among friends to have the desired effect, the story tellers must have NO financial interest in the thing they’re talking about, i.e. are NOT selling it or getting any compensation other than the satisfaction of having passed in the info.
Otherwise, it’s back to the old “No one wants to hear how wonderful we think we are.”
So, what do you do to get new customers if you don’t have customers who would tell others about your great thing? Assuming that you have a remarkable product to start with, (of course you do, right?) here’s a way one man did it without blathering about how great his new product was.
Godin (All Marketers are Liars) tells the story of the natural toothpaste king, Tom’s of Maine. To get his customers, Tom put out a story about certain values, a certain world view.
“Tom told a story about health food and responsible manufacturing and authenticity and voting with your toothbrush. The story fit perfectly into the worldview of a tiny portion of the audience. By selling the toothpaste only through health-food stores, Tom was talking to a group of retailers (and ultimately consumers) that agreed with the way he framed his story and were happy to hear it.”
Notice he said “it fit perfectly into the worldview of a tiny portion of the audience.” It doesn’t take more than that to become successful if they start talking to others. Remember Jesus only had 12, and now look.
OK, so how can you do like Tom’s of Maine did, as an individual (network) marketer?
Start by knowing YOUR values. And HOW those values, preferences, or that worldview relates to your choosing the product line you are marketing. Once you see how the product line is an extension of your values, e.g. natural health alternatives, not drugs, earth-friendly products, etc., you can use new language to tell you story to others. Language that describes you and your values, not your product. The product is an extension, an amplification of those beliefs.
So if you’re just selling for the money, this will not work. Chances are your business will not work either. Since when do you want to buy anything from someone you know is just selling for the money they’ll earn. Isn’t that what we all hate about the sales types – the ones who’ll say anything to make a sale? Those with no principles?
So sit down with yourself and think about your values. How are your products an extension of those? Language that shows your values so that others of like mind can immediately say, “That sounds like me. Tell me more.”
So it’s not about the product after all. It’s about who you are and what you stand for. Your goal is to convey that story, and to connect with people like you – offering them a product that means that to you. Remember it will be a “tiny portion” of the audience, but one who will be happy to hear your story, if they’re like you.
And if they become customers who love it and are not also selling it, one could become the evangelist Godin talks about.
What if it works for you like it did for Tom’s of Maine?