Let’s say you’re walking through the mall to look for a new outfit and two different employees approach you.
In the first store you walk into, an employee politely walks up to you with a smile asking you for your name. They compliment the outfit you’re already wearing, they ask if there’s anything that looks interesting to you, and they offer their assistance if you need it. They provide you with enough space to look around comfortably while remaining nearby in case you have any questions.
In the next store, one employee interrupts your conversation with your friend to introduce themselves and tell you about their sales. They say, “I think these would like nice on you”, while handing you two shirts that don’t fit your style and a pair of pants that aren’t even your size. Finally, they walk away telling you that they’ll be happy to ring you up when you’re ready. What they don’t mention is that they have a quota to meet for a number of sales they need to make today.
Which store would you shop at again?
Realize, both employees do have your best interest at heart, but these two kinds of approaches that create entirely different results.
In marketing there are two types of strategies: Push Marketing vs. Pull Marketing.
We freelancers have a misconception about marketing ourselves.
We think the push is more effective than the pull, so we exaggerate the push and forget about the pull. Pulling is subtle and takes patience. Pushing is obvious, which is why everyone does it. Pulling the customer in creates trust and makes them feel comfortable with working with you. Pushing makes customers feel like your force feeding them advertisements, so they’re more likely to push YOU away.
So, how do you pull in customers?
make it about them, not you.
Customers are simple creatures. We want to feel important, but we don’t want to be sold to. We want to feel like our decisions are reasonably sound and we want to feel like we’re making our buying decisions on our own without influence. That’s why you would probably say you would come back to the first store. That employee is making everything about you, while the other is making it all about them.
The approach from the first employee feels generous, welcoming, and relaxed, while the other employee may seem aggressive, frantic, and in other words, a bit desperate for your attention.
The problem is many freelancers think they’re acting like the first employee, but end up coming off like the second.
If you want to learn more about how to get more clients and businesses to work with you, check out this post I wrote alongside this one.