Human beings are interesting creatures.  The rational part of our brains and outside disguise we show the rest of the world understands that the world does not revolve around each of us as individuals; we understand that “I”, “we” and “me” types of conversations are not particularly interesting to others.  Yet, deep down inside that’s simply not the case.  While we won’t admit it publicly, we do feel that the sun rises and sets on our particular set of beliefs and view of the world.  Quite frankly everyone else is just wrong if they hold an opposing opinion.  You wouldn’t be human if this weren’t the case.  It’s just that no-one admits it.

So, what does this have to do with sales or marketing?  Let me share with you a story I recently read in a neuro-marketing book.  It’s a story that nicely restates what I’ve been trying to tell my clients for years.  A business man is heading out for lunch and as he arrives at the restaurant he can’t help but notice a homeless man sitting on the sidewalk, dirty and dishevelled, with all his belongings in a plastic bag by his side.  He had made a sign using a tattered piece of cardboard that read something like “I need money for food”.  The business man chatted with this fellow and gave him $5.00 with one condition.  That he would make a change to his sign and agree to talk again when lunch was finished.  The homeless man didn’t argue with the suggestion, as he wasn’t planning on going anywhere anytime soon.

After lunch the businessman approached the homeless man once again.  He wasn’t really surprised when the fellow gratefully returned not only the five dollars but five dollars more – the homeless man’s way of thanking the businessman for his assistance and for the $60.00 he managed to gather over the lunch hour.

Are you curious what change was made to the sign?

It simply said, “What would you do if you were hungry?”

The correlation to sales and marketing is obvious.  Nobody cares about you, how great you are, how much better than others you may be, how fast you are, how expensive or inexpensive you are, how “state of the art” you are, whether or not you are an “industry leader” or in business since 1845.  They only really care about themselves.  Nobody truly does business with you for your reasons – they do business with you for their reasons. And you won’t tap into their reasons spewing this kind of stuff.

Here’s a challenge.  Imagine you are on a sales call or you are writing the next great marketing brochure for your company.  Eliminate the following words:  I – we – me – or any derivative of them that refers to you, yourself or your company.  If you want to get comfortable with this idea in a less threatening environment, just try having a conversation with someone without using those words.  I can promise you this is NOT easy, but I can promise you that when you master this skill you’ll have more business than you can imagine.  But only if you dare.

It’s too much work for most people, our egos just can’t take it and it’s completely counter-intuitive.  All I can tell you is that it works!

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