Stop Forcing that Sale! 5 Principles to Unleash Your Audience
If you have an online product or service, this article is for you. We are going to talk about how to leverage your existing connections into sales. This type of marketing can be very powerful, and it’s also often done wrong. Let’s take a look at it:
Marketers have traditionally sold their wares by interrupting people. Calling you up or interrupting your favorite TV show. Nowadays, they buy ads in the margins of websites and spam people with email. And while this does work to some extent, it’s expensive and oftentimes makes the consumer annoyed. No one buys something because they’re annoyed.
People are happy to buy stuff when they feel curious and ready. So how can a marketer cultivate a feeling of curiosity? Well, curiosity requires safety, and feelings of safety require trust. If people have a safe container, cultivated by a trusted person/business then they are in a great place to make a purchase. This “container” often takes the shape of an event.
Now if we pervert this train of thought just a smidge, we end up with the “network marketing” made famous by so many MLM’s. I’ve already done a post on MLM’s, so instead, I’m going to get back to basics.
Why Humans Gather
Let’s throw out the capitalistic premise that we’re trying to sell something. Instead, let’s think about how humans work. None of us is a lone independent island. We’re not designed for that. We’re social creatures whose strength is in our interdependence. When one of us has a problem we seek support from friends and family — those we trust. And even in absence of a problem, we seek camaraderie which opens the door for new adventures or life improvements we hadn’t otherwise imagined.
Don’t believe me? Just think of the last trip you took. How did you know where to go? You probably had a friend, family member, or society at large tell you about that place or a place like it. This made it attractive, and you got curious. You thought about it, maybe even researched other people’s opinions and experiences. And eventually, you made that trip happen. There was a journey, but the kernel that started it had something to do with people.
What We Get from Gathering
We get so many intangible positives from being with people. We feel safe, we’re able to be curious, and with that, we’re able to expand and grow. And that might include buying something. But- this is important: people don’t come together TO BUY STUFF. We come together because we are social creatures. We come together because it’s what humans do.
As business owners, we kinda do need some people to buy stuff. But being a good person comes first. When building an audience a key factor is to be a good human. Create a nurturing, trusting environment where camaraderie can flourish. Be a great host, whether it’s online or in person. Instead of making an event that’s all about you, facilitate peer-to-peer experiences and nurture your audience.
How do you do all that? Here are five principles that work equally well when hosting dinner parties as any other event:
1. Gather the right people in the right place.
An excellent gathering has a balanced mix of people who know each other and don’t know each other. Most people are more comfortable at an event if they know at least one other person there. It’s also exciting to meet new people so getting small groups or couples together who don’t know each other well is a recipe for a great event!
2. Have a clear purpose and expectations.
In the same way that a dinner party host might share when the meal will be served, it’s helpful to set expectations for your guests. This can be as simple as clearly naming the event. If it’s a potluck or a clothing swap, guests will know to bring something, they’ll bring the right thing, and they’ll have an idea of how the event is going to go. Newer event types, such as Zoom gatherings, might require more explanation.
3. Lead the excitement.
You’ve dreamed up this event, so you’ve got some level of excitement about the event’s purpose. Your guests might be more hesitant and not yet excited. If you lead with your excitement, they will have a good time. If you wait for them to be excited, things are likely to go awry.
4. No sales pitch.
Sure, if you’re throwing a new product launch party there might be a sales pitch at some point. But not all your events should have sales pitches. Not even most.
5. Nurture your guests.
As a host, your primary concern should be to help guests be happier, healthier, and more connected. The power of a gathering comes from the flourishing of camaraderie. Do what you can to ensure your guests are enjoying themselves and are connecting with each other. Introduce guests to each other and share with them what they have in common.
How do you get people to buy stuff?
I just told you that you shouldn’t make a sales pitch, so how are you supposed to get your audience to buy more stuff? You don’t try to sell shit to people. You are not in the business of selling. You are in the business of being a great host. When you do this, you will attract an audience who like you and what you’re doing — including what you’re selling. They’ll tell their friends, and the right people will eagerly buy your stuff.
We are mammals. We are primates. We come together because we are seeking connection. Those connections sometimes lead to business transactions, but that’s never the reason for the gathering. Marketing is more fun and easier when we treat it like hosting instead of interrupting.