Authenticity Pays. How do you make people buy into you?
I had a conversation with someone a couple of days ago and she said something that interested me. “Investment banking is more ‘you’ than ‘what you know,” she said. “People must buy into you before they buy into the product. If they don’t like you or you’re not convincing enough, they won’t buy.”
I found it quite insightful because that doesn’t only apply to investment banking but to lots of other things as well. If people don’t buy into you, they simply won’t buy into whatever you’re selling.
They say your reputation is what brings people around you; your character is what makes them stay or go. In other words, what they hear might be enough to bring them to you, but if what they heard does not match up to their experience around you, they’re gone.
What are you selling?
It never ceases to impress me just how much information is available on the internet. Over a million libraries, suggesting over a million books with over a billion words, are just sitting somewhere waiting to be explored. There’s information on almost everything – because no matter what we think, we are not alone with our interests. There’s at least one more person out there who shares those same interests.
Read. Use a library. There are thousands of books on your subject of interest. You will find that people have done or have tried to do what you’re trying to do before. Learn from them. In other words, know all there is to know about whatever it is you want to do.
But after that?
One thing I can spot from a mile away is sincerity. For the most part I can tell if someone is being upfront with me or they’re just in it for the money. For a self-starter, it is an important skill. In a business where the most important skill is passion, you need to be able to recognise quickly when you’re wasting your time.
Do I sound like I’m saying two different things at once? Step back for a moment.
Knowledge is important, but no more important than the individual acquiring the knowledge. Anybody can learn anything, but knowing about cold fusion (which I actually know about) does not make me a nuclear scientist. It’s just knowledge – one of the many things I know. But cold fusion is something else entirely to people like Albert Einstein or Tom W. Bonner.
Knowledge is nothing till you can use it.
I’m sure I’ve said this before; there’s more to business and entrepreneurship than business cards and nicely-cut suits. Sure, all those things are necessary because doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark; you know what you’re doing but no one else does. When you’ve acquired all the knowledge available, attended all the seminars and workshops about your business and can name-check all the ‘celebrities’ in your field, what difference will be made for your clients? How have all that grown your business?
It’s a lot more than just packaging. Substance is important. You can have a million-naira advertising budget, but if your product is subpar, all that money will go down the drain.
Warner Bros released the most anticipated movie of the past decade, Batman VS Superman: Dawn of Justice. The movie holds the record for the largest box-office opening weekend of all time, grossing $424 million in just three days. But the following week, ticket sales dropped by over 70%.
Well, the movie was described by critics as a “messy and confused two-hour torture that undermines the mass appeal of its characters.” As a result, people who came to see the movie were quick to tell their friends and share online just how poor it was. The movie finally levelled out at $890 million and is regarded a critical failure.
Word of mouth is still the most effective form of advertising.
Therefore, before you start all the fanciful and ultimately pointless strategy meetings and brainstorming sessions, be sure you’re as genuine as your claims. Be sure your product or/and service can deliver on everything it says. Know everything there is to know about your business – and then take it a step further by being about your business.
Learn to talk the talk – and then, do it one better.
Learn to walk your talk.
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