Top Ten Ways to Market with Integrity
By Alicia Smith
Playing games can be a lot of fun, but in business, they can take an ugly turn when they turn into head games. How we play games, or play at games, often reflects our true nature as to how we do business.
We always have a choice. We can make it a win-lose or a win-win option. Playing head games in business involves lying, cheating, hidden agendas, one-upmanship, customer or employee exploitation, and the like. Often these behaviors find their essence in the need to be right, to be in control or to portray a particular image.
On the other hand, playing games with integrity involves creating situations where both you and the customer wins. Everyone has their needs met and enjoys success. This involves cooperation, kindness, a service attitude and other supportive behaviors. There is a lot of truth to the phrase, “it’s not whether you win or lose its how you play the game.”
How do you intend to play the game when it comes to marketing to and servicing your customers? Here are some suggestions for creating win-win games.
1. Keep it simple. You’ll attract more prospects by making your marketing messages easy to understand. Today, more than ever, people are inundated with marketing and advertising messages. There’s so much coming at them that they end up acknowledging very little of it. It takes a lot of mental energy to put your attention on anything since that means taking it off something else. If your message is lengthy or hard to understand, a prospect won’t get through the first couple of words, whether they are reading it or listening to it. Instead, use simple wording, create a simple process to follow (no more than 3 steps), and by all means, make it easy for them to contact you by providing every conceivable piece of contact information possible. By keeping your communications clear, simple, and easy to understand, you’ll attract people to your business.
2. Make it win-win. Make sure everything you do provides a win for you and a win for the customer. Your “wins” might be a product or service, goodwill, referrals, or publicity. For the customer, their obvious “win” will be enjoying the product or service that you provide them. If you want to take your business to the next level, provide additional “wins” for your clients or customers. Give them special discounts for their long-time patronage. Offer them free samples or provide special reports or other information which they will find useful and which they will consider passing along to others.
3. Have fun. Marketing should be fun. Not only will it make running your business much more enjoyable, people who interact with your marketing messages will sense this playfulness and find it attractive. Our daily lives are often so serious and regimented. Lighten up your business by using techniques that are upbeat, playful, and that will put a smile on someone’s face. This is definitely one way of making yourself seen and heard among the thousands of marketing messages that inundate us daily.
4. Be true to yourself. Your marketing must resonate with who you are. It should be in synchronicity with your attitude, your beliefs and your standards for doing business. Just as there are rules for playing a game, there are certain rules by which you should conduct your business. These are personal and unique to you. Whatever they are, people will sense when you are in or out of integrity with who you say you are. Being true to yourself is all about being comfortable and secure in who you are and confident that whatever you produce by way of marketing is what is “right” for you at the time. Trust who you are and what you do – and others will also.
5. Enjoy the creativity. We usually associate playing with taking a break from reality. It’s a time to relax and to not have a care in the world. Often, it is during these times that we find ourselves being the most creative. Corporations or organizations that rely heavily on creativity (advertising firms, public relations, consumer products) often employ games to keep the creative juices of their employees flowing. If you approach doing business as a game, thinking about your marketing from a fun and playful perspective, you’ll find that your creativity level will automatically increase.
6. Create games that support your business. Did you know you could create games based on your business? Let’s say you’re a financial planner. You can create a simple game where folks earn points based on activities that promote saving money. You can give them a simple sheet of paper to track their progress. You can run the game for a particular time, then ask them to bring in their progress report (game sheet) to redeem it for a product (an ebook, special report), or even a discount on their next hour of consultation. If you are a personal trainer, you might create a daily game where points are earned depending upon the client completing an exercise regimen. Depending upon the level of achievement, you can provide fun giveaways like a pedometer, healthy recipes, or some other health-related product. Most people love games because they are a welcomed distraction. Use these distractions to create more attraction to your business!
7. Play with others. Playing games with others is part of what makes them so much fun. It’s a time to gather with friends or colleagues to just have a good time. We can do that in business as well. By creating alliances or partnerships with others, we can create situations from which everyone can benefit. Perhaps we can create a new product or program. Or, maybe we can co-lead a discussion group or lecture. Not only can we learn a lot by working with others, we can expand our business offerings, increase our network of prospects, and have fun all at the same time.
8. Play nice. Everything, including the games we play, goes a lot better when we play nice. The same thing applies to our business. We need to be aware of everyone who we impact – our customers, our colleagues, and our vendors. We must be kind, courteous and respectful of everyone. What we give, we gain.
9. Play a better game. In business, we play a better game when we over-deliver to our customers or clients. Over-delivering is all about providing more than is expected. We might provide our client with 3 coaching sessions per month. We over deliver by giving them an extra half-hour every 3 months. Or we may consider giving them a sample of a new product we have developed or a discount on a new program or course we have developed. It might be as simple as sending them a card thanking them for their business or sending a small book or other gift when the time or circumstance might call for it. How can you provide more than your customer or client would otherwise expect? Play a better game – give more.
10. Play fair. By following the rules of the game, everyone feels like they are safe and that they can truly enjoy themselves. In business, a product or service guarantee can be considered a “rule”. While it is not mandatory that you provide one, prospects will feel more comfortable buying from you if they know that you will take care of them should they want a refund. Keeping our promises to our customers is also another type of rule. Following through on our promises to deliver products or services is one way to create loyalty, trust, and strong relationships with our customers.
© Copyright 2004 by Alicia Smith
Alicia Smith is a Coach and Trainer whose specialty is helping people Make Money Now. This article is derived from just one of the 90 lessons contained in her e-course, www.90DayMarketingMarathon.com. To learn more about that course and her other products and services, please visit the following sites. (You also can email her at [email protected])