I’ve heard quite a few marketing gurus talk about what they call “authenticity” and the importance of self-expression. They advise us to mix-in plenty of personal disclosure with our marketing communications (especially when we blog or use social media) to create a sense of familiarity and rapport.
I agree that most clients do want to understand where we’re coming from as people. But if we let a desire for self-expression shape the focus of our writing and our client conversations on a regular basis, then personal disclosure takes on a narcissistic quality. That’s a good way to turn people off.
In his classic book, How to Win Friends & Influence People, Dale Carnegie frames this issue in a different way. He writes: “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” I think he understood a crucial key to building trust and creating great relationships.
Taking Mr. Carnegie’s advice to heart, I stay focused on my clients’ goals and challenges — and I listen to them as deeply as I can. I want to understand them and their world because my business is all about serving them exactly where they are today.
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