Authenticity in relationships as in sales is essential. Country songs have professed the “done me wrong” theme for decades. Network marketing has had more than its share of complaints that something was not represented honestly. More than one teenager has accused their parents of not being fair. Can you please everyone all of the time? No.
What is authenticity? According to the dictionary it is the truthfulness of commitments and intentions. It is genuine. If it is authentic, you are able to rely on it being exactly as represented.
No, not the “He who has the gold makes the rules,” but the original golden rule of “Do unto others as you would like for them to do unto you.” You can even modernize it as “Do unto others as they would like for you to do unto them.” In any case, it boils down to treating others fairly and honestly.
I had a situation where a relative of mine – first rule of caution is be careful of business transactions with friends or relatives – purchased a 100 day program. She had 150 days to complete the 100 day program. If at the completion of the program (within the 150 days), she was not pleased, she was entitled to a full refund. Four years later she is still mad at me because she never did complete the program and the company would not refund her money a year after her purchase. She is accusing the company of being dishonest.
No matter how carefully you may represent the facts, there will be memory lapses, misunderstandings or a few unhappy people. The key is to be as absolutely honest, authentic and as thorough as reasonably possible. Practice the golden rule. (Hint: sending a memo of understanding after a conversation helps to avoid memory lapse. Ask for a confirmation that they agreed with your understanding of the situation.)
Have you ever read a marketing piece and felt that it was so carefully crafted that they must be masking something? Whether it is a features-based approach or a benefit-based approach, the more finely crafted the message, the more it feels like a high gloss rather than unvarnished honesty. Sometimes we over-think our marketing materials to the point that they sound stiff and formal rather than honest and open.
Think of your marketing more as a conversation with your best friend. Here are the good points and here are the tough parts about the company, product or service. Granted you are not going to run down the company in a marketing publicity piece, but neither do you have to overemphasize the good and totally avoid any possible negative. Truth in marketing is a fine line of promoting the product but not over-selling and sounding pushy or blatantly dishonest.
I once heard a successful-appearing network marketer bragging that he earned $80,000 a month. That sounded very appealing to prospects on the line who were walking a fine line to avoid bankruptcy. He was omitting the fact that his advertising bill was very close to $80,000 a month as well. Only telling the good parts of the story and avoiding the whole truth is inauthentic.
Maybe that is why the legal oath is “Tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”
Just Be Honest
Tell an honest story of a client who truly achieved the desired results. Be honest that not everyone has an identical result. If possible have the person video his testimony. Allow the personalities to show through. Forget the script and encourage them to speak naturally.
Have a conversation, not a sales pitch.
You will attract far more customers and certainly more happy customers by being authentic.