Are You Afraid of Marketing or Do Sales Just Turn You Off?

Are You Afraid of Marketing or Do Sales Just Turn You Off?

This is the first post in a series on sales and marketing tactics – and yes, we shun the Dark Side, young Skywalker, wielding sabers for the Powers of Good, not Evil.

Marketing tactics and strategies always hit a sore spot with many of our readers. Just the word itself provokes many different reactions in people, even when the post topic is fairly benign. Those reactions also reduce the learning potential. Who can learn well when they’re getting upset and having knee-jerk reactions?

Well, not very many people, frankly. That’s why it’s worth bringing the dreaded M-word back. Desensitization eliminates relational behavior, and so perhaps the more we discuss marketing strategies, the less readers will get upset and focus on learning instead of venting.

One important message that needs to get through is this: Marketing and Sales does not equal sneaky snake oil screw-you tactics. Yes, there are those who abuse the knowledge they have and take it to extremes for their own gains, but even the most innocent and acceptable marketing and sales tactics come from the same knowledge.

Let me repeat it in shorter words: Ethical marketers use the same strategies smarmy marketers use.

One more time: Good and evil come from the same source.

Regardless of whether you get inflamed over marketing tactics or whether you don’t really mind them, you should still learn about each of them so that you can use them for your business. Because without marketing tactics, your business will fail.

Let me repeat that in shorter words: If you don’t market, you won’t sell anything.

One more time: You need marketing in business.

Better the Devil You Know

It’s said that we fear the unknown, and that’s quite true. It’s one reason we refuse to change, modify our behaviors and develop reassuring patterns. It’s one reason we get angry, get upset and make choices. It’s one reason little kids don’t like the dark and why people don’t quit jobs that make them miserable.

The unknown stops us from having better than we have now, because we’re scared of what we might find out. People also dislike loss, even possibly more than fear of the unknown. We hang on desperately to what we have, including beliefs and opinions.

So let’s stop fearing the unknown. Let’s get smart about this, shall we? It’s time to discuss and learn about marketing tactics that are commonly used every day around us, by both the worst salesmen in the world and the best people that uphold the highest integrity of honesty.

These people influence your behavior, your decisions and your emotions all the time, for better and for worse, for good and for evil. They know how to reach in and get you to buy or hire. They know how to pressure you, scare you, woo you, court you and build a relationship with you.

You’re a Tactic Emperor Already

That may make you angry. You may get incensed that sharky sellers and manipulative marketers are making you dance by your mental puppet strings.

Truthfully, each of us manipulates people all around us every day. You’re no better than any salesman or marketer out there. The difference is how you choose to sell and market to your chosen market, and your personal comfort level with those tactics.

Think about it. If you have kids, you’re a prime tactician. You know how to get your kid to choose the clean red blankie over his favorite dirty blue one so that you can wash it. You know how to wave and call, “I’m leaving!” so that your kid will drop his toy and run at you screaming for you not to go. You know how to get two bites of brussel sprouts eaten by dangling the offer of cake if he does.

If you have a spouse, you’re a prime tactician, too. You know when to be coy to get that new garden you wanted dug up. You know how to trade household duties – one washes, one dries. You know just the right time to call and say, “I love you,” or when to say, “Are you coming home yet? I’ve been waiting…”

If you’re in the singles scene, you know all about tactics too. A dip of the chin, just the right smile, a smooth glance to the side… You wear the right clothes, call at the perfect time, make the best offer, persuade and convince, and you strategize all the way to your goal of hooking up.

If you’re in business or freelancing, you’re all about tactics. You need to get people interested and convince them you’re the right choice. You have to make your services appealing and offer selections you know get you more hires than not. You offer add-ons and upsells, and you try sales and discounts.

Keep Your Friends Close and Enemies Closer

The key to all this mess of how you feel about specific marketing and sales tactics is knowledge – your knowledge. The more you learn about how people get to you and influence your actions, the more you can either avoid falling for their trap or use the strategies to your own business benefit.

By learning about social influence, psychological persuasion and the decision-making process, you can protect yourself or arm your business and make it better. (And when we mention arming your business, we don’t mean getting rich off the poor people without integrity. Let’s make that clear.)

You’ll be informed and educated, more able to analyze the options available to you to market your services or sell what you offer. You’ll choose marketing and strategies that you feel comfortable with, and you’ll be more able to understand the difference between good and evil – and how it’s all really just shades of the same whole.

Your turn: What specific strategies have always gotten you hook, line and sinker? Which tactics confuse you – how do they work? Why do people fall for them? Which types of sales and marketing techniques really get you upset, and which do you admire? Which tactics do you use yourself, even if you don’t know the name for them?

Oh, and see you next week. We’ll be starting off the series with a real whiz-banger: Urgency.

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Post by James Chartrand

James Chartrand is an expert copywriter and the owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words, the game-changing writing course for business owners. She loves the color blue, her kids, Nike sneakers and ice skating.