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A couple of the things I’ve been called include:
- A digital hustler
- A salesman
There are others of course, but not all relevant here today. ???
And I still kind of fight those terms. They don’t sound highly positive to me! Hustler? What does that even mean? Salesman? You mean the people we hang up on when they call us?
When I was in the news business there was an invisible wall between us storytellers and the people selling ads and whatever else they were selling.
But as Keynote Speaker Joe Tye said in his review of my book: One way or another we are all in sales.
Joe is quite right that to some degree everyone is in sales. Even project teams are. If they don’t do good work and make sure the client knows, there won’t be a continued contract. That’s sales to a degree.
Even employees are salespeople to a degree. They have to sell their value to their bosses. If your boss doesn’t know you are doing a good job, you might not have a job at some point. Sell yourself!
I think I didn’t like “salesman” for so long because so many times:
- Salespeople annoyed me
- Salespeople offered irrelevant deals
- People told me nobody wants to be sold to
Ugh. We want jobs that people appreciate. But there’s a way for being appreciated when you sell things. Here’s how that works – especially for us content marketing (sales) people: Offer value. Share things that people actually care about. Then sell something that is mutually beneficial.
Think of it as the zone of mutual relevance ⬇️
When I – as a content marketing salesman/hustler/strategist/whatever – sell in that zone people don’t get annoyed with me. In fact they likely think of me as a thought partner and not a salesman.
Related: What’s thought partnership?
In that relationship I never sell. I offer solutions to problems and some of those solutions cost money and some don’t.
I share all kinds of solutions. Maybe I should call it:
- Solutions adviser
- Success consultant
Or something along those lines. When you offer knowledge, are engaging and know what you are talking about (and people believe in your ability) it’s easy to sell things that are relevant to them.
It’s also easy to sell things when the product is good.
But maybe most importantly the key is that when we sell in the zone of mutual relevance it doesn’t feel like unnecessary selling. It feels like a partnership and the offering solutions that are helpful. It’s true value.
Selling things that people find useful is extremely meaningful and of course it also is a great way to build a business.
How to create and share content that sells without being sales-y
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