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Grow: Ryan Caligiuri

Be an educator, not an egotist Add to ...

In a discussion last month on growing a reputation online, several participants shared a concern that many businesses face: finding creative ways to get the attention of new prospects.

Grabbing the attention of potential buyers and progressively building relationships are among the most difficult things to do in business.

What I found, following the discussion, was that many of these professionals were focused solely on promoting their own products and services. They showed very little focus on the prospect. It was all about them.

That’s a big mistake many entrepreneurs and businesses make, and it radically limits the number of leads generated from marketing activities.

If you want the marketplace to be more receptive to your marketing communications, you need to stop talking about yourself and start educating them.

In business, there are two types of marketers: egotists and educators.

The egotist

These individuals are focused solely on promoting their company, product or service. For the most part, these companies mean well but find it difficult to talk about anything other than themselves.

Egotists tend to fall in love with their own products or services and this bleeds into their marketing. They know they have to focus on the customer but their conditioned behaviour makes it exceedingly difficult for them to break out of their mould of communication and talk about anything other than themselves.

The problem with this approach is that prospects are in it for themselves as well. All they care about is their own business and making it better. So if you lead by talking about yourself, what do you think will happen? Most likely, you will be ignored because they don’t want to hear about you.

This unfortunately seems to be the case for many businesses today. and it makes growing through marketing even more difficult.

The educator

Educators understand a simple concept: It’s always about the prospect or client. And their actions are not overwhelmingly self-serving.

Educators’ actions are not overwhelmingly self-serving. Rather, they focus on gathering relevant market data that prospects and clients can use to their own advantage.

It’s about helping them come to a greater understanding of their business or marketplace. It’s about educating them, informing them, alerting them to new developments, opportunities and trends. The fact that you have a product or service that can help them is inconsequential, it’s secondary.

Your prospects tend to ignore people trying to sell to them but they will buy into someone who is offering insights, information, greater advantage and results.

If an entrepreneur or business can understand, internalize and execute with this principle in mind, the marketplace will be far more open to you and your message.

What motivates the educator

Why does the educator focus on activities about market trends, insights, challenges and threats facing their prospect’s marketplace?

It’s because the educator cares about the prospect and wants to bring greater advantage through knowledge-sharing and offering products or services that bridge perceived gaps. The approach is deeply rooted in empathy for their marketplace.

Educators are willing to put the prospect first because they understand their success and that of their clients are one and the same.

An egotist, however, uses presentations often not all that insightful and focused solely on what they do or sell. The motivation is to achieve sales, not to help the marketplace achieve greater insight.

While this approach has definitely worked for many businesses, it’s not a great foundation on which to build a business. Instead, make your foundation about giving more to your marketplace – more knowledge, insights and guarantees. This is what will set you apart from the rest of the egotists and ensure your prospects respond more positively to your marketing communications.

A final note of caution

If you are in a competitive marketplace filled with egotists, the moment someone decides to become the educator is the moment the game changes. You can either be the one changing the game or the one playing catch-up.

As 2011 creeps up on us, we should all look at our actions and figure out who we are: egotists or educators.

Want to know how to put the focus on clients? Mr. Caligiuri was here to field your questions. Click here to view an archive of the discussion.

Special to the Globe and Mail

Ryan Caligiuri is a Winnipeg-based marketing specialist who believes that many organizations are wasting their money on ineffective marketing tactics, that many professionals and students feel lost because their actions don’t translate into positive results, and that all three groups are too comfortable following the status quo. He is driven by the desire to refocus their efforts to resurrect the impact of marketing.

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Follow on Twitter: @RyanCaligiuri

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