How many times have I read that line? Too many. And the people asking me to do this are complete strangers. Why should I?
I sound like a jerk, don’t I? Forgive me. But here’s something you need to consider before you post a “Check out my (whatever you want people to notice)!” post or message. Every single human being has a built-in mechanism that asks this question every time someone asks anything.
That’s right. It’s built in. Your mind says, “So what?” and unless you have a legit reason to care, you don’t. You move on and don’t think twice about whatever it was. Because we don’t care as much about strangers as we do people we know.
This is obvious, right? Then why the hell do so many people market themselves in ways that don’t treat people like friends? That’s what I aim to dive into here, and give you reasons and ways to flip the script.
The Real Difference Between Who We Know & The Strangers We Like
Your friends are people you know, folks you trust, those you have some sort of history with. At least that’s what friends used to be. Thanks to social media, we have a lot of strangers who are called our “friends” on Facebook and Twitter. How many “friends” on your social channels do you truly know? How many are legitimate strangers?
It’s the same for me too. There are several people who follow me on Twitter and Facebook that I don’t have a personal relationship with. That’s ok. It’s a connection that could turn into a relationship or friendship in real terms at some point in the future. It’s a starting place. However, it’s important for us to not confuse the difference.
Friendly People Are Best Sellers Without Having To Sell Anything
The people who are down-to-earth and relatable are the best at getting others to join into what they’re doing and what they’ve created right away. These people excel at not having to go through a detailed process of getting your attention and selling you something in order to get you to sign up for what they’re talking about.
However, the number of prominent people with this skill are short. Oprah Winfrey, Jon Stewart, Steve Harvey and Tina Fey all fit this description and are great people to model.
You know what? You rarely see these people trying to sell something. They don’t have to. They’re interested in other people’s stories, and they tie those stories into their own. They have conversations and share them with the world. Then, sometimes, those stories will have a price tag that we have to pay to get to hear them.
We gladly fork out the dollars to make that happen. We want to connect with their story too. We have a relationship with them via the presentation of their stories. They didn’t ask us directly to do something for them, such as “buy my book because I want it to be on the best sellers list” “check out my new thing.”
However it’s too easy for us (yes me too) to make an online connection with someone who can take our work to new levels and instantly try to ask for gold. What this new contact (“friend”) has is the opportunity for gold for our satchels. Yet we too often try to jump the gun in hunting for the gold instead of farming for it.
Farming for growth is really the work we need to be devoting our energies too. It’s what Seth Godin told me about how success really works:
“What happens instead is you find 10 people, just 10 people, who care so much about what you do they tell someone else. You find 20 people, just 20 people, who would miss you if you were gone. Then you repeat it, and you repeat it and you repeat it.
“The next thing you know is three years later you’re an overnight sensation. That it’s believing that ‘the grass is always greener’ that you get in trouble. You’ve already got all the grass you’re going to get. What you need to do is farm it, not go hunting.” (read more on this principle here)
Connection That Creates Real Growth Begins Here
Real growth starts by making a true connection, building a dialogue, learning about the individual, and deciding that connection with this individual is important. That connection might turn on a light bulb that shines bright into a world you don’t know about, and creates some big opportunities for growth.
The connection might hold a series of keys that unlock doors you don’t know about to lead you to all sorts of great places. It could create any number of great opportunities for you that you’d never have without it.
Yet it starts by doing so much more than clicking a “Follow” button and then sending a message to a stranger.
Let’s break this down in simple terms you can use today
Let this metaphor of strangers with candy sink in. Because it’s the frickin’ truth and the best advice you’re going to get on marketing to media! Strangers can’t ask for gold. Strangers can’t even sell candy well. When we were kids and our parents told us “If a stranger tries to sell you candy, run away and tell someone.” How many strangers try to sell you candy every day?
Instead of trying to pawn off your big new release on someone you don’t know, do something that works. Start a conversation, build a dialogue and see where that connection takes you.