I am sure many have heard or said this before: Stop trying to fix me. It is also a popular line used in the movies. Like so often, there is a lot of truth in the things movies are trying to teach us. And this is a big one. Entrepreneurs who are in it for the long run, the ones who build companies not to cash in quick, but to provoke lasting change and build a legacy, understand that there is a difference between empowering change and forcing change down someone’s throat. It’s not really a thin line, and yet so many who switch sides go from transaction into the other extreme.
This, however, does not work. People can be divided into several groups according to the latest neurological studies. Some crave safety more than anything. Others are thrill seekers; and then there are the over represented adventurers. These three types make up the range of humans that can be reached with a marketing message. Some of them are quicker at reacting to a message and taking actions, while others, the safety-oriented ones, wait until a trend is almost over before eventually hopping onto the train.
But what all of these people have in common is one thing: They want to be responsible for their decisions. Even if they let Amazon and the likes co-direct the course of their lives, they want to be the ones pulling the trigger. They want to be able to look back and say “yes, I had some help, but I was the one pushing myself over the finishing line.” And this is actually the bare truth. Valuable connections all happen when we empower someone for positive change and turn it into a story. A valuable connection does not happen, however, when someone feels forced, even if the outcome might be a valuable one.
It is our job as marketers of our value to listen and then offer something where our clients see the value but never feel pressured into a purchase or a relationship with you. Fomo, as a strategy, is invalid if you are aiming at loyalty and long term relationships.
When Booking.com tells you “only 3 rooms left for your dates” it creates a sense of urgency. A forceful one. And the relationships we engage in start on a bitter note. We feel pressured, and the only relief is when we know we got the thing we were pressured into. But our brain remembers the pressure. And the payoff is a lowered sense of gratification.
People want to be the masters of their fate. Whether they are religious or spiritual or neither. They want to be reminded that they pushed the button for change. So they ask for accountability. Even if it’s their lawyers taking care of the settlement of a lawsuit. They were the smart ones to engage in the relationships, to ask the right questions, to scrutinize the offer and guide the course of action. They were the ones allowing for change. In that respect, even the most valuable entrepreneur is nothing but A FACILITATOR for lasting positive change. Mark my words, because that’s the only angle we have at becoming valuable to anyone.
What does this mean for any business?
Formulate your offering in non-offensive ways. Build a marketing voice that speaks of possibilities and upward movement. Don’t buy into the loud voices that try to trigger a reaction through a false projection of fear. You are not in the business of fear. You are in the business of transformation. Remind your clients along the journey that they did well, that they chose well, that they are doing a great job. Not because you want to flatter them, but because it is true.
Build your entire offer universe around people succeeding in their choices and responses. This is not about you. This is only about them.