Anti-Marketing Vs Active Listening

Pretty much sounds like what we all DON'T want to do. Well guess what, whether each of us know it or not, we all do it, or have done it at some point in time. So what exactly is "Anti-Marketing". It's the simple act of being negative. Negative in our conversations, body language and reactions with our clients, customers, friends, associates, etc...

With this in mind, I encourage you to think about your marketing as a conversation. In fact, do this with every conversation you have with customers, prospects, employees, colleagues... even friends and family. You're all familiar with the concept of the "30 second elevator pitch" and the USP (unique selling proposition), so I ask you to think about the value of personal storytelling as a marketing tool. If you are passionate about your story, they will get caught up in your excitement, and be drawn in to being a believer, participant and evangelist. And in a perfect world, spread your story. After all, the absolute best and most valuable advertising is word of mouth.

Now keep in mind, your stories should not "tall tales", but interesting, entertaining, and thought provoking. If you are tempted to spin a tale, the listener will see through you faster than you can possible imagine. Once this is done all your, or your products, credibility will be lost.

Ok, so if marketing is every positive conversation we have and storytelling is a great way to connect with customers and generate positive word-of-mouth, anti-marketing is the complete opposite. It literally is every negative conversation, reaction or body language we have or story we tell. Let's face it. Who wants to do business with someone who is negative? Do you?

To combat anti-marketing, just be aware of the conversations you have and the stories you tell. If you're tempted to go negative, bite your lip! Let the other person do the talking for awhile, or find a way to change the subject.

Letting the other person speak. Sounds easy enough, but in reality, when you're excited about your story, it takes a concerted effort to let them talk WHILE YOU LISTEN! This is a great example of what we call "active-listening". People love to be heard, and more importantly, people love to know that you're actually listening!

To actively listen, you have to first of all pay attention! Don't day-dream off to your plans for the weekend, your next meeting, or what's for dinner. Let them speak. Once they're done, or there's a logical break, repeat back to them what they said. When you're done repeating it back, ask them if you got it right. If not, ask them to explain again. Believe me, they'll be happy to, because they know you're listening. Once they've finished, ask them if there's anything more, if not, thank them for sharing. And mean it. Give it a try sometime, I truly believe you'll be amazed at their reaction, and the credibility you've gained.

So to sum it all up, BE POSITIVE! Once you achieve this, you can expect a lot more referrals and a lot better word-of-mouth.

A special thank you to Ken Sethney for the inspiration and a great deal of the body of this article.

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