"No one wants to hear how wonderful we think we are."

So said the owner of a restaurant near a major ski resort in New Hampshire, when he was asked what he wrote about in his restaurant blog. Its purpose: to retain customers. Not “to sell sandwiches via PayPal” nor to tell strangers they should come and eat.

So how would his blog help him get new customers?

“Word of mouth,” he said. From happy customers who read his blog.

And to keep his patrons interested in his place during the off months, his blog talks about what his patrons talk about, like ski and river conditions, historic tidbits on a perilous ravine right in his backyard where extreme skiing began…(From the blog book, Naked Conversations.)

This is of course the idea in Seth Godin’s little ebook “Flipping the Funnel.” Let your happy customers sing your praises to bring in new converts for your new thing. Not you.

“No one wants to hear how wonderful we think we are.”


But tell that to network marketers. Each one’s program is touted as “the greatest thing since…” and everyone’s products “sell themselves.” Other marketers do it too: the wrong people are doing the talking. (Thanks gulliver, for this link.)

Almost no one believes marketers anymore, and the more they scream about how they’re the best, biggest, brightest and finest, the more suspicious we all become.

When I was teaching English as a Second Language years ago at Boston University, the teacher trainer I had told me I should talk louder to my students – newly arrived Vietnamese learning English.

I never forgot that. TALK LOUDER? The problem was not their hearing. They didn’t understand the words. Their hearing was fine.

Talking louder is not the answer in our business either. Not when the wrong people are doing the talking.

| | |
|| ||

About the author

Kim Klaver


  • As you have said before, Kim, these issues are not unique to our industry – people “telling” how great they are or how great their product or opportunity is, or using the wrong types of testimonials. I just received an e-mail “telling” me all about the developers behind a new condo project here in Las Vegas, and how owning a unit there was the best investment I could make, and how they’d go fast so I “needed” to act now. Sounded like many a network marketing “script”. Many are turned off by all this, yet have unconsciously been guilty of the same actions.

    Seems to me when one is clear on their purpose and intention to serve (values), lives in gratitude and recognition of the source of all their gifts and stays on the creative plane (versus the competitive one), then the ego dissolves and one can then truly do unto others – as they would prefer to be done unto, not as the doer wills.

    There’s a huge difference between taking pride in one’s work/life/offerings and vocalizing the greatness thereof. The former sends out monumental attractor factors, the latter, the ultimate repellant.

  • ‘In a crowded colony, all gulls look alike. Individuality is tough.’

    Perhaps expression is best sought in subtlety… better to suggest than state, inspire rather than inform – to sing not shout.’

    Just as I’m not the only one to prefer Dave Matthews minus the Band… there’s others who prefer the quiet touch – to just be given the facts and then encouraged to use their own best judgment.

    I remember Rolls and Aston Martin (in the days when they were ‘quietly British’) describing the power output of their motors as ‘adequate’. No elaboration was offered or expected.

    And the whole testimonials thing is way overdone…
    Ever asked a lawyer for a client list?
    A doctor for details of ‘those cured’?
    Have you seen case studies at or a ‘what people are saying about us’ section at McDonalds?
    No, I thought not.

    The wise folk (smart marketers) know the value of a well- presented good offer and let it go at that.

    Is it the language? Sure – partly.
    So what place is there for communication which is ‘an entirely natural and unforced statement and expression’? [At least as ‘natural and unforced’ as can be done in the confines of commerce.]

    Maybe BodyShop’s Roddick has it nailed with this…
    “We communicate with passion – and passion persuades. What we need is optimism, humanism, enthusiasm, intuition, curiosity, love, humour, magic, fun, and that secret ingredient… euphoria.”

    So would (will?) we be better with stuff that reads more like Hank Miller than The Wall Street Journal… sweatpants and sneakers rather than slick suit and shiny shoes… ‘this is really good stuff’ rather than ‘foremost in our field since eighteen god-knows-when’ mumbo-jumbo?

    A few months back, I drafted this for a client:
    In an age in which ‘reasons to buy now!’ are too-often slammed onto the screen in less than subtle tone, we’ll make absolutely no apologies for stepping aside and appealing to a more discerning clientele. Please, use your own best judgment to decide whether this is for you.

    If you’re genuinely interested in becoming ‘healthier, happier and successful – with a thriving Network Marketing business which is easier to operate and more profitable’, send us a note. We’ll then get back to you with sign-up details, speaker schedule and our ‘No BS… Absolute Satisfaction or your money back’ warranty.
    Long-story-short… client was less-than-impressed -‘I have lots of testimonials from well-known people saying how good I am. Peopel are impressed by that. Let’s include them’.

    Constructively-churlishly… ‘the wise folk (smart marketers) know the value of a well- presented good offer and let it go at that.’

Leave a Comment