We all have at least two selves — two versions of “us” — swimming around inside our minds…
I’ve been on a new quest recently, to better understand how our minds work. And in doing so, to better understand myself.
I also get the advantageous byproduct of getting an even better understanding of how our prospects’ and customers’ minds work, too. Which is what I why I thought you might appreciate this as today’s essay topic. It has HUGE relevance to selling and marketing.
In a bunch of recent reading and reflecting, I’ve come to really understand that there are at least two big versions of “us” inside.
- Who we want others to see us as.
- Who we really see ourselves as.
Now, I can argue for many more little selves floating around inside, but at least these two identities are pretty clear.
We have that little voice inside that tells us how we need to behave to be socially accepted and liked.
And we have another voice in our head that tells us what we think, feel, believe on a deep, deep level, safe from the opinions and judgments of others.
I’ll get to the marketing application in a minute, because that’s important for a publication titled Breakthrough Marketing Secrets, but first…
How this applies to YOU living your best life…
In short, the more time you’re able to actually spend living your life as who you really see yourself as, the happier and more fulfilled you’ll be. Also, you’ll be naturally attractive both to people who are actively living life as an expression of their truest self. As well as anyone who really wants to live life that way, but isn’t able to yet.
This can be a very long, slow process. In fact, I think many, many people go their entire lives trying to conform to that voice inside that wants to be who they think others want them to be. They try to silence and even reject that part of themselves that knows, deep down, what they really want.
But that’s a source of infinite struggle and unhappiness.
Because that innermost self who knows exactly who you are, and who you want to be in the world is much more stable and enduring than the people-pleaser self that’s only looking to make others happy.
It can also be a fast process. You’ll see someone going through some awakening experience. Maybe it’s a big life transition. Maybe it’s a simple decision to change. (Often times it comes from hitting rock bottom, but it doesn’t have to.)
Suddenly, they stop caring what other people think. They decide it’s time to make themselves happy. To live in alignment with that self inside that knows what it wants, and is going to go out and get it.
That’s when it clicks. And suddenly they’re living a better life (often with a ton more success) than they ever thought possible.
Because now they don’t have to put all that energy into the everyday struggle between the little self that’s trying to please others, and the bigger self that knows who it is and who it wants to be.
How this applies to marketing and selling…
So much of what I write to here assumes that you follow Jay Abraham’s Strategy of Preeminence. That you truly have built and run your business in service to your clients’ best possible future. That the sum total of your services (or products) is meant to move your clients forward toward their goals in the most advantageous way. That you have nothing but the best of intentions for prospects, and your true desire is to improve their life as a result of 1) considering the possibility of doing business with you, and even more so when they 2) actually do business with you.
And so when I offer a very powerful persuasion strategy that could be used for good or ill, my greatest hope is that you’re only using it in order to get prospects to do something that is in their best interests.
The “life or death scenario” illustration: let’s say, for example, you’re with a friend who has had a TON to drink. They are stumbling all over themselves drunk. You’re the designated driver, and you’re completely sober and able to drive home safely. They insist they want to drive though. What persuasion techniques are ethical in this situation? If you getting them to comply could literally save their life and the lives of others, you have a moral imperative to use every powerful persuasion technique in the book to make sure YOU are the driver that gets them home safe!
By operating from a place where your prospects stand to have a better life by taking you up on your offer than by not doing so, you’re suddenly in a position where even this incredibly powerful persuasion technique should be a part of your marketing toolkit…
Your prospect is dying to live in line with their vision of their “true” self…
It’s incredibly exhausting to go through life wearing a mask, feeling like you have to hide your true self.
You do it with your family.
You do it with your friends.
You do it with your peers and business associates.
You do it in social contexts.
You probably even do it in your most intimate relationships.
You’ve heard the saying, “there’s two reasons anybody buys something — the reason they tell their spouse, and the real reason.” Well, as much as that rings true, you know exactly what I’m talking about here.
The reasons we come up with to tell others as to why we do anything — including making a purchase — are reasons that have to satisfy the part of ourselves that’s always looking for approval.
The real reasons for our actions and purchases… The emotional reasons… The subconscious reasons… The reasons that stimulate our deepest desires…
Those reasons come straight from the part of ourselves that we see as our “true” nature…
And really, that’s the part that’s in the driver’s seat. The part of ourselves that only wishes for conformity and social acceptance is sitting in the passenger’s seat, leaning out the window, shouting apologies for our true self’s driving…
STRATEGY #1: Speak to the true self, then give the conformist self a reason to go along…
This works for most products, and most everyday purchases.
When someone wants to buy something, it’s because the true self sees a problem it wants to have solved.
Often (but not always) this problem-solution pair falls in line with what the Christian church called the seven deadly sins.
— Lust or sexual desire.
— Gluttony or the desire to consume.
— Greed or desire for material resources beyond need.
— Sloth or the desire to get without deserving.
— Wrath or the desire to act out anger and get revenge.
— Envy or the desire to have what someone else has.
Does this mean your truest self is sinful? I don’t think so. What I think is that you experience an emotion of sinfulness when you try to hide the motivations of your truest self, and don’t allow your truest self to be expressed in a healthy and socially-acceptable manner.
There is healthy sexuality, healthy consumption, healthy gathering and use of resources, healthy recreation and enjoying the fruits of your labor, healthy expression of angry emotions, healthy motivation that comes from seeing what others have…
The key is to figure out which desires are the biggest drivers of purchase behavior in your prospects. What does their true, innermost self want out of buying your product? How can you make it clear that you offer that?
And for any of those desires that may be seen as uncouth or edgy, how can you walk that back and make sure it’s presented in a way that’s socially acceptable, that they can share as a reason for purchase with their friends and loved ones?
I know this sounds a little edgy and dark, but if you believe humans aren’t a little edgy and dark, you don’t know humans very well. 🙂
STRATEGY #2: Empower your prospects to live in line with their true selves…
I like this strategy even better, although it probably applies to a much smaller number of products.
There are some products and services, in some markets, that actually help prospects bridge the divide between that self that craves social acceptance, and their true, innermost self.
Therapy, coaching, and counseling can fall into this category.
Self-help products can as well.
Other personal improvement products, including both physical improvement (fitness) and mental improvement can be made relevant.
And even in your sales materials and other supporting messages, some of these themes may be relevant and prevalent.
If this is the case, I love the sales positioning of being able to strip away the false, manufactured self in favor of the true and honest self hiding underneath.
Usually this must be done by example.
But when it really is who you are, you serve as a motivation and model for those who follow you.
And if your product is relevant to something they want in life (e.g. the healthy expression of the Seven Deadly Sins topic areas), they’ll be happy to buy that as a way of coming along with you.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,