Business loveDo you want your clients and prospects to love you? I think most of us self-employed professionals would. When your prospects love you, closing sales is easy. When your clients love you, they keep doing business with you, and refer others to do the same.

Yet the language often used for marketing and sales reveals perspectives that don’t have much to do with love. The path to closing sales is to “overcome objections” or “don’t take no for an answer.” You’re supposed to write “killer copy” to use for a “marketing blitz” or “promotional blasts” so you can “blow away” your “targets.” You should “hone your weapons” so you can “battle for market share,” “fight for sales,” and “smash the competition.” When you succeed, you are “killing it” or “crushing it.”

What are all these war metaphors doing to our mindset about marketing? I say the better way to get clients is to make love, not war! Here are ten dos and don’ts to help you add more love to your marketing.

DO…

1. Treat your prospects like friends, colleagues, or peers, not targets. Prospects are, of course, people like you and me. They want to feel heard, understood, valued, and respected. Asking prospects if they have time to talk shows you value their time. Getting permission before adding them to your mailing list demonstrates respect.

2. Offer clients what they need, not just what you want to sell. When you ask clients or prospects about their needs before trying to sell them anything, you’re letting them know how much you care about them. Admitting up front that an offer may not be right for everyone allows clients to trust that you’ll only recommend solutions which are a good fit.

3. Invite people to choose you rather than trying to pressure them into a decision. Marketing with love looks more like invitation than persuasion. Tell clients about the benefits they’ll receive if they make the choice to work with you. Give them a taste of what they’ll get by offering helpful content, complimentary sessions, or free tools. Generosity breeds love.

4. Tell the truth about the results that clients should expect. Absolutely, cite case studies and testimonials from past clients willing to describe their success. But be honest when “results may vary” for another client’s situation. When possible, offer guarantees or refunds to make sure your clients are satisfied.

5. Honor your mission and values, so you’ll love what you’re doing. Clients love to hire professionals who clearly love their work. When you stay true to your own mission and values, potential clients will sense your authenticity, and be drawn to working with you.

DON’T…

1. Invoke fear, shame, or guilt to intimidate prospects into buying. You’ll frequently find copywriting and selling advice that encourages you to emphasize the pain and suffering your prospects are feeling — or will feel if they don’t buy from you. This manipulative approach will often work to make a sale. But it won’t make clients love you. Consider how powerful it could be to instead emphasize all the positive results clients can experience by working with you.

2. Sell crap. It seems like common sense not to sell products and services with no value. But most of us have had the experience of buying such things: a book or class that promised to solve a host of problems and delivered only platitudes; a consultant or coach who claimed to have answers but never provided them. Those folks may be making money, but they’re not earning anyone’s love. Yes, the crap-sellers are out there. But you don’t have to be one of them.

3. Charge prices that are too high to serve the clients you most desire.
Years ago, I began asking $1,000 per month for business coaching. It seemed like a good way to increase my revenue without working more hours. But I discovered that I didn’t love the $1,000 clients anywhere near as much as I had my old clients. And the new clients didn’t love me as much either! I restored my prices to the old level, and immediately began attracting my ideal clients again.

4. Pursue business you don’t really want just to bring in more revenue. It may seem counter-intuitive to sidestep prospective clients who might pay you the big bucks. But if the thought of doing the work makes you cringe, walk away. You need to love your clients and the work they offer you if you want to inspire their love. Trust me, you’ll be happier in the long run when you seek out only work you enjoy.

5. Pretend to be someone you’re not. I’m sure I don’t need to admonish you not to mislead clients about your skills, experience, or credentials. But it’s easy to unconsciously put on a marketing face or a selling voice that doesn’t really belong to you. Don’t be afraid to reveal your true self when marketing your business. Your goal is for clients to love the real you.

Adding more love to your marketing and sales will add more love to your whole business. When you’re doing the work you love while helping the people you love, you’ll consistently experience more enjoyment and fulfillment. And, surprise, surprise, you may even find yourself enjoying marketing!

C.J. Hayden

C.J. Hayden, MCC, CPCC, is the author of the bestseller Get Clients Now!: A 28-Day Marketing Program for Professionals, Consultants, and Coaches, Since 1992, she's been helping self-employed professionals survive and thrive. C.J. is the author of five other business how-to-books, and has taught marketing at Mills College and John F. Kennedy University. Find out how you can work with C.J. as your business coach or attend one of her upcoming programs.

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