It’s amazing how strongly people can feel. It’s one of those things that always surprises me when I see it in myself or in another. We are very emotional beings especially in today’s environment.

I was in a meeting this week and we accomplished a lot of alignment in a pretty brief period. The crux of all this was an open honesty. Regardless of our desired outcomes we each spoke truthfully about who we are, what we are pursuing and why we care. That was a strong foundation to lay. It connected us, we both felt in our heads and hearts that we had a common understanding. Now we can form a relationship.

Amidst the “Doing” of this, it came clear to me what marketing really should be all about. I am in Simon Sinek’s book Start With Why and in the first few pages he articulates something that has been on my mind for a long time.

Most marketing is manipulation.

We have been thrown around in this world by hundreds of “techniques” that prime our emotions and then direct them to…not truth…but a purchase. And then we get re-directed, and then they fight.

“Buy my product!” “No! Buy mine! It’s cheaper!” “No! Buy mine! It’s better because someone smarter than you said so!”

The combat is dizzying and our emotions are tired. I feel so much for products, but now I am becoming calloused. The buying opiate isn’t as pungent. I am just the object of someone’s greed. At least I feel this way.

But what about the truth? When someone looks you in the eye, who you know well, and says, “I love you,” it means something. Your emotions respond in a swell and because you have a relationship, you know it’s the truth. Don’t we feel so much more supported and valued in this type of interaction?

Not to say that a business can just run around making emotional statements, but we can be really good about focusing on building the relationships in what we show and say. We bare ourselves to people, “This is who I am, really and truly.” Then we give clear glimpses of that reality in a way people can understand. Words, pictures, films, color, shape. Someone then approaches you, not because they believe you, but because the reality of you might be something they could ultimately trust, and they are willing to try.

Your authenticity is to be tested.

Someone jumps in with you, they buy a product or service from you. The whole time their emotions are looking to answer the question, “Is what I perceived about this business true? Or am I a fool again.”

You can’t fake it at this point, nothing can hide the truth. A person lives with your product and begins making daily analysis of it. There’s no more soapbox from which you can convince them of anything other than the truth. The clothes are off. But there is an opportunity for intimacy.

Think about a realtor. When a client get’s a home they are living a large portion of their lives up-close and personal with the product that was sold to them. They are growing an expertise, daily, on whether or not you knew what you were doing.

If you have told the truth, and what you offer is completely aligned with what you promised, people connect on a powerfully emotional level. You have been honest, they can trust you, they enjoy trusting you, their passions have been inspired at a deeper level. The relationship has taken a new meaning. They are proud to share you with their closest friends because you have shown yourself to be true. Recommendations are flowering and follow-up is habitual. People don’t just draw others to you because your product solved a problem only, but also because you can be trusted. Who doesn’t want to share something authentic with someone else? We are all eager to invite others in so they can share in the satisfaction. We like feeling like we’re on the inside of something special.

And so next time you put an ad in the paper, don’t yell your comparisons. Speak truthfully about who you are, what problem you are solving and why you care. Invite people to know you. And then undergird that trust with an impacting experience.

This is the way.

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