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One key factor in confident marketing is to know without a shadow of a doubt that what you sell is seen as useful by your prospects. While you may believe in your heart of hearts that everyone needs yoga or coaching or a new piece of jewelry or nutritional counseling, the fact is that not everyone will find what you offer to be useful to them. Right now, today, your prospect may have no interest in what you offer. How can you stack the odds in your favor and be more confident that prospects will perceive what you offer as useful and necessary?
I work with small business owners – coaches, real estate agents, massage therapists, CPA’s, dentists and others who offer professional services and related products to their clients. Most service-oriented professional strongly believe in the value of what they do. But many are lacking in confident marketing skills. They don’t know how to help prospects see that what they offer serves a need in that moment, can be useful right now.
The ancient philosopher Aristotle gives us three key ingredients to usefulness. Aristotle was at one point the tutor for Alexander the Great, so I figure we can benefit from his wisdom, too, and become more confident in marketing.
Aristotle tells us there are three parts to usefulness.
- Ethics – having character or credibility.
- Logic – communicating using reason.
- Emotion – the driving force that shifts what is known to what is desired in the prospect.
The short version is that others will find what you offer to be useful when you are able to use reason while engaging their emotions and at the same time be believable. All three are necessary to sell. If you are logical and use emotion but are not believable, people won’t buy. Think about someone on TV who makes a pitch with very high emotion and big promises. You don’t buy, right? The pitch isn’t logical or believable to you. In fact, that person has engaged your emotions but in a negative way. What’s missing is ethics and logic.
You’ve probably heard that in order to market well you’ve got to build your know/like/trust factor. This is exactly what Aristotle means by ethics. You’ve also probably heard that people buy on emotion and then justify their purchase with logic. As Aristotle wisely pointed out, you’ve got to appeal to the emotions but give enough reasons that people purchase because you have both engaged their emotions AND given them the logical reasons they need to justify their purchase with you.
Here’s an example from my own life right now. Bill and I are thinking about trading for a new vehicle. Logically, there are a few reasons that it makes sense but it’s not a do-or-die situation. The sales guy we’ve been dealing with is perfectly credible, and the vehicle we are considering has great reviews. But my emotions just aren’t engaged over it, so I’m dragging my feet. I don’t see us driving around in the new car, I don’t get excited about it – to me, it’s just a car. There’s a thousand other things that would engage my emotions more – like a trip to Bora Bora! I’m not emotionally involved in this purchase and until I get there at least a little bit I won’t care if we do the deal or not. It’s the salesman’s job to engage my emotions more. If he does that well, he will sell.
Aristotle gives us a few more useful tips. Here’s what he says about how to be seen as ethical or credible:
- Display practical intelligence
- Show a virtuous character
- Demonstrate good will.
All of these can be shared with your prospect by what you say – your marketing.
In the end, making sure that our marketing addresses all three of Aristotle’s “usefulness” test (ethics, logic, and emotion) helps assure that we will be successful in our marketing. People will buy what we offer. And the more that happens, the more we will have confident marketing.
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