Emotional business building
One of my favorite sayings is, “Too much of anything is toxic.”
In other words, no matter how useful or productive something may be—an attitude, a belief, a work habit, whatever—if you take it to extremes, it will begin to work against you.
In American business, women have taken some bad raps over being “too emotional”. I won’t argue that many women are more emotionally expressive and honest than are many men. By the same token, I would argue that many men are overly reliant on their logic and rationality; they’re “too logical.”
I have trouble with both views. Why?
- Such views are judgmental. When you claim a person is “too” anything, you’re implicitly claiming that there’s an absolute standard for the way s/he should be, and anyone who fails to meet that standard is somehow lacking.
- They encourage close-mindedness. It’s easy to dismiss someone for being “too emotional” or “too head-y”, which also makes it easy to overlook their contributions.
- They encourage thinking in terms of “either/or” rather than “both/and.” Such black-and-white, dichotomous thinking leads to mental rigidity, intolerance, and decreased creativity. (But other than that, it’s not so bad.)
So, if you don’t want to rely exclusively on your heart OR your head when it comes to building your business, the obvious answer is that you get to use both. However, since American business has such a history of favoring and emphasizing the logical, i.e., “business-like”, approach, I’m going to focus on the underdog by discussing how to enable your heart to have a more active role in creating your fabulous business.
Effective marketing requires you to address your prospects’ heads AND their hearts.
Be willing to come to the party just as you are—“warts and all.”
As long as you don’t slip over into trying to manipulate the emotions of those you’re connecting with, being authentic and vulnerable is very powerful. You’re not looking for pity or sympathy. Rather, you’re seeking to let your ideal prospects know that you’re on a growth journey, too, and that you bring your own lessons to the table when you work with clients.
Don’t discount the power of fun and joy.
Obviously, not every aspect of business building is equally enjoyable. However, you deserve to feel that, overall, your business brings you satisfaction, excitement, and happiness. Face it: Don’t you typically produce better results with less stress when you’re doing something you love instead of something you hate?
You’ll also serve your clients better when you bring positive energy to the party. When it comes right down to it, your clients want you to make their life better somehow. You can do that not only through the challenge-specific skills you apply on their behalf, but also by sharing and modeling an upbeat, optimistic approach to business and life.
Improve your marketing messages by getting inside your prospects’ hearts.
Would you ever consider paying someone to help you if they had no clue whatsoever where you were coming from? That would be sort of like hoping that a non-smoker would be taken seriously as the facilitator of a stop-smoking course. Perhaps she has the necessary knowledge, but she doesn’t have the experience or credibility that would make you trust her to give you the help you need.
By letting your prospects know you really get, at a gut level, the challenges they’re facing and the emotional toll those challenges are taking, you enable them to trust and have confidence in you. You let them know you’ve previously been in the same boat they’re in now, and you not only managed to stay afloat—you actually won the race.
Many successful entrepreneurs acknowledge that they fit their own profile of the ideal client. If that’s true for you, you already know exactly what sort of emotional pain your ideal (paying) clients are in and the sort of pain relief you can provide. Use that knowledge to create irresistible marketing messages that tell your prospects in no uncertain terms that you get them and you can help them.
I’m sort of a case in point. Why do my clients and I get such good results by working together?
- They sometimes feel paralyzed by all the business-building choices facing them. So have I.
- They’re sometimes aggravated because they’ve worked all day and are unable to say what they did to move their business forward. So have I.
- They feel kind of desperate for structure and accountability to get traction in their business and start enjoying the results they’ve dreamed of. So have I.
- They want to work with someone who will stand in front of them to lead the cheers and lead the way, beside them to provide support, and behind them to kick their butts when they need it. So have I.
In other words, I’ve been where they are, and I know exactly how much the activity-without-results and/or the paralysis sucks. The good news is that, although I’m traveling the same path they are, I’m typically a bit further along, so I can offer solutions without coming off like an obnoxious, superior, “I’ve never struggled like that” know-it-all.
What have you found to be effective ways of marketing with heart? Will you share some of your success stories with us?
Or are you still waiting to experience thrilling success because somehow your ideal prospects just aren’t hearing you? Are you going nuts trying this, that, and the other marketing tactic?
A no-cost, sanity-saving step to handle the nutsiness is for us to talk on the phone and explore whether or not we might make a great problem-solving team.
It’s easy to discover if we are: Just call me at 319-270-1214 or email me with “I don’t want my heart to break” in the subject line; we’ll set up a 30- to 40-minute call in which we can get acquainted and see if you + me = butt-kicking success.
(By the way, thank you to Simon Strandgaard for publishing his skull-and-crossbones image in the Creative Commons section of Flickr.)This entry was posted in marketing, Uncategorized and tagged authenticity, effectiveness, integrity. Bookmark the permalink.