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Eliminating the Sleaze Factor in Marketing

Eliminating the Sleaze Factor in Marketing
C.J. Hayden, MCC


In the 15-plus years that I’ve been teaching entrepreneurs about
sales and marketing, the most significant barrier to success
named by my clients and students is that they simply don’t like
to market and sell.

The roots of this dislike are varied. Sometimes what gets in the
way is fear of rejection, or self-doubt of one’s abilities.
Other times it’s lack of knowledge or inexperience; most of us
don’t like to do things when we feel we can’t do them well. But
a theme that rears its ugly head over and over again is this: a
belief that sales and marketing is dishonest, manipulative, and

You might expect me to argue that these negative portrayals of
marketing are not true. But in reality, they often are. Most of
us experience on a daily basis inauthentic marketing,
manipulative selling, and attempts at persuasion that rub us the
wrong way. When we note our distaste for these tactics,
consciously or unconsciously, we allow them to color our
attitude about marketing in general, and our own marketing in

Of course we don’t want others to think of us as untruthful,
manipulative, or pushy. So once we characterize sales and
marketing as deserving of those adjectives, a natural outgrowth
is that we begin to avoid doing it.

I’m not suggesting that you, the person reading this article,
are a sleazy marketer. In fact, I suspect it’s much more likely
that you aren’t. But it just may be that you need to convince
yourself of that truth in order to raise your comfort level
about sales and marketing. To that end, I offer the following

You are NOT a sleazy marketer, if:

~ You only promise what you know you can deliver. You don’t make
unrealistic promises and overblown claims, because you know they
backfire in the long run. Even when exaggerations like these
convince customers to buy, when their purchase doesn’t live up
to the hype, they feel misled and dissatisfied. Unhappy
customers don’t make repeat purchases or refer others.

~ You always represent your abilities and experience accurately.
You’re not afraid to let customers know how good you are at what
you do, but you don’t feel the need to fabricate a background
that doesn’t exist. Instead, you play up your strengths, tell
stories about past successes, and rely on positive references.

~ You explain why you are good rather than why the competition
is bad. You know that running down the competition only makes
you look jealous or defensive. Your competitors are also your
colleagues, and can often become some of your best referral
sources. You don’t hesitate to stress your unique competitive
advantages and emphasize the benefits of your products and
services, but you do so without disparaging others.

~ You never trick people into taking or returning your calls.
You wouldn’t think of asking someone’s receptionist to put
through your call by giving misleading information. Nor do you
leave voice mail messages implying that your call is for a
purpose other than the real one. The most productive sales
conversations are always with people who are open to having

~ You ask for permission to follow up or to add prospects to
your list. When you ask a prospect “may I call you again next
quarter?” you are both agreeing that a follow-up conversation is
worth having. You’ll feel more confident making future contacts
when you know they are welcome. You also know that subscribing
people to your email list without permission only annoys them,
so you always ask first.

~ You stop selling when it’s clear the customer doesn’t need
what you’re offering. In a sales conversation, of course you
respond to objections with counterpoints, but you do so
respectfully, and never push customers past their own comfort
zone. When prospects make it clear that they don’t have a
current need for your products and services and don’t wish to
continue hearing about them, you thank them for their time and
move on.

Post this list by your computer and your telephone. Read it over
before writing marketing copy or making sales calls. Do whatever
it takes to reassure yourself that your own sales and marketing
is honest, ethical, and authentic. Once you are confident that
any hint of the sleaze factor has been eliminated from your
marketing, it’s my bet that you will want to engage in sales and
marketing more enthusiastically, with more pride, and more

Note: I love this article …It fits my views perfectly

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