And Then The Marketers Show Up

When marketing shows up, the party is ruined.

Marketing is your friend Karen.

Spam is the result of marketing. Nobody likes spam. 

There are countless examples of marketing ruining something great. 

Newspapers. Radio. Telephone. Television. Mail. Email. The Internet. Social Media. Podcasting. They will most likely ruin whatever comes next.

In each medium, the cause of frustration is having to wade through the marketing messages to get to something valuable. When using Google, the first three results tend to be from a corporate content marketing team. I am guilty as charged. 

It seems every great medium of communication has the early adopters, and then the Marketers show up. It is another place to spread their message.

I recently came across the term UnMarketing.


In UnMarketing, the basic premise is to market to others as you would like to be marketed to. The same can be said for sales. Sell to others the way you would like to be sold to. 

It is like a marketers take on the old adage: “do unto others…”.

To cut through the noise, the competitive advantage may be to take the UnMarketing or UnSales approach. No doubt it is more difficult, takes longer, but the results might provide more engaged customers.

This path may not appease the quarterly results, but the numbers may become less volatile.

Let us consider UnMarketing and UnSelling as our approach to growing business.

Good luck and good UnSelling!

Thoughts About Winning Your First Customer

Who is using your product?

Could you refer me to an existing customer?

The dreadful questions when you have no customers.

The point in the sales process where you think it’s over.

If I had a case study I could grow.

Currently, I am on my fourth round of getting the first customer to a new product. It does not seem to get easier.

The only difference this time is I have no brand recognition to get my foot in the door.

I want to present a few thoughts about winning your first customer.

Find The Cowboy

A cowboy is rogue. Excited about the unknown. Searching for the frontier.

This is the profile that’s perfect for using a new product. Research your industry to find those notorious for trying new products.

It is easy in tech because you can use a service like Product Hunt. Those wanting to be Product Hunters are perfect targets. They are all cowboys.

In other industries, you will want to find those on the fringes. The crazy ones. The Hipsters.

Move On

When you have no customers, one customer is 100% growth. Thus, the faster you get a customer, the faster you grow.

This is why you should move on from a slow moving prospect as soon as possible.

During the discovery stage, determine if the customer is comfortable being first.

This does not mean asking them, but finding out if they are going to need a referral. Will they be comfortable sitting in the front row?

If they ask who else is using your product, this is a cue they are uncomfortable being first.

Find those willing to sit in the front row.

Who Has The Problem

Find the niche where the problem you are solving hurts the most. This will generate the highest interest.

I sold a medical device that benefited smokers and diabetes patients. It made sense for me to target a market with a high level of smokers and diabetes patients. These were the individuals to benefit most from my solution.

This goes for any product.

What customers will benefit the most?

How Will Their Life Change

Change is risky. It is asking someone to go from something comfortable to something uncomfortable.

This is why it is your job to mitigate risk. Some customers want this in the form of a referral, but cowboys just need you to tell them a story. Understand their current situation and how it will change with the use of your product.

Change is difficult and uncertain. Mitigate risk.

Be Strategic

Find those who are well respected in the community. The key opinion leaders.

These individuals tend to be on the speaker circuit. They are industry writers. They are thought leaders.

Get the key opinion leader to try your product and delight them. They are then more likely to talk about you. Chances are to a large audience.

Focus on strategic individuals.

Over Deliver

Once you have the cowboy, the key opinion leader, and the individual who will benefit most from your solution, the next step is to over deliver. Delight them.

Get them to feel compelled to share your product. Share their experience.

This is the most difficult step. The step we fear most.

After all, this is the most powerful form of sales and marketing.

The referral.

A referral only works if your product is worth sharing.

Make your product worth sharing.

See it from the perspective of the prospect. Their current process may be working, and you are new and untrusted.

Why should they use you?

Sales or marketing, finding the initial target is not easy. Easy would be to present your product to existing customers. But remember, you don’t have any.

Whether entering a new city, new market, or new industry, people talk. Target the talkers with the most respect.

Then delight them.

Good luck and good selling!


It is not about you.

Your product, your story, your solution.

It is about how, those interested enough to listen, identify with you.

Therefore, a self-serving message is undesirable. Self-serving does not establish trust.

Self-serving is going for the hard close to early in the sales process. It is the easy road. It is wearing a customer down. They say yes just so you go away.

Self-serving is providing information only to talk about your product. Showing you do not understand your product is one tool in a larger tool bag.

A non self-serving sales professional provides solutions to a customers business, that may not be directly associated with their product.

For example: when a clients main concern is growing their business, you need to discuss how to grow their business. Inserting your product along the way is how you are successful. Trust is built through helping them build their business. After all, you listened to their biggest problem.

A non self-serving marketer understands their customers world. Makes a point to become an expert resource in areas related to their problems. When they have a question, they ask you first.

For example: marketers may turn to Hubspot or Kissmetrics. Sales might turn to Selling Power.

In both examples, the use of your product is the result of understanding the customer and building trust. Trust is built over time, through value provided. It is the long game.

In a world sensitive to sales and marketing messages, it is not enough to be self-serving. Do not sell yourself short by taking the easy road.

Good luck and good selling!

The Bottom Line

Discussing the bottom line conjures up two extremes.

The bottom line averse, and the bottom line aggressive.

The bottom line averse is an individual similar to the artist. The averse individual would like to create, whether a project is sustainable or not. Possibly an idealist. Making things perfect, delightful, and shareable.

The bottom line aggressive is the one who is all about the numbers. Can we drive the stock price higher? How are the profit margins? Where can we cut costs? This is liken to the investor.

Being at either extreme is not ideal. It pays to have a high concern for quality and uniqueness, but ensuring the bottom line is healthy so a project sustainable.

No concern for the bottom line will put you out of business.

All emphasis on the bottom line could drive quality down, causing loyal customers to leave.

The healthy spot is to be in the middle. Creating high quality products people love, while maintaining a healthy bottom line so you can do it again tomorrow.

Good luck and good selling!

You are going to love this…

You are going to love this…

Is a loaded statement. As if when you do not love this, the person sharing their love with you will be offended.

What could be more appropriate is “I love this and want to share it with you”.

It could be a product, a restaurant, or a book. The receiver may not like it as much as you, but would most likely be delighted to experience it anyways.

There is a Mexican Restaurant in the town where I grew up. The restaurant is Anita’s. If you are in Livermore, you have to go there. In my opinion, it is the best Mexican Food; ever.

Now, you may like it or you may not like it. Either way, I would like to share the restaurant with you. If you don’t enjoy it, I will not be offended.

Seeing as you may not enjoy this restaurant as much as I do, “You are going to love this…” is not applicable here. But, “I love this and want to share it with you” is.

It is not so important to love the same things, experiences, and think the same way. More importantly, it is about sharing, as you may give someone else a new found love.

Good luck and good selling!