Love Meets Marketing: Attract Your Ideal ProspectBy: John R. Barker
I believe the world of business is in a state of transformation. Radical transformation. In my opinion, traditional business practices have operated from a place of fear and a model of competition. Strategies of war are taught to MBA students. Marketing courses focus on identifying target markets and developing advertising that is psychologically appealing to that "demographic." It is my belief that the approach of "Figure out what they want and then sell it to them" is not always the best way, especially for the small business.
It has been about a year and a half ago that I sat down with my personal coach and expressed my frustration about not having a romantic relationship. The thought occurred to me that at thirty years old, maybe I just wasn’t the type of person who would get married and have a family. Perhaps my own life goals were more important to me than the relationship I coveted. Being a believer in the power of intention, I thought if I really intended to be married, I would have been by that time.
My coach strongly encouraged me to "define" my ideal partner. I began with vagaries like; "She’s pretty." "She’s smart." "She’s this or that." He pushed me to be specific. "What do you really want? How do you envision your dream partner?" He asked me a lot of specific questions, ranging from descriptive physical features to her spiritual nature. After about an hour I had five pages that detailed my dream partner. This was in October of 1998.
To this time, I had been seeking to be attractive to anyone who seemed attractive to me. It didn’t matter if she were tall or short, blonde or brunette, fashionably quirky or trendy. I was not clear about my ideal and as a result I was unable to focus my attention on any particular person or persons. From a marketing perspective, I was taking the approach of "I have a product (me) and I’m waiting for somebody to buy." Whoever came along, I was seeking to make myself attractive to.
Once I defined who I was looking for, the process became easier. Over the next six months, I dated more than ever. It seemed suddenly I had become attractive. I believe the truth is, I wasn’t "chasing" every "prospect." I was focusing on my ideal prospect. The temptation to chase appealing prospects that didn’t fit my ideal was there, but I held the course. At times, I felt a little foolish. Since most of us begin by seeking a partner that’s physically attractive, I wondered, "I may be missing out on a great person just because she’s blond and I said my ideal is a brunette."
And then, one day, there she was. Ironically perhaps, "my ideal prospect" had been living right under my nose for the previous year and a half. I didn’t realize it, however, because I wasn’t clear about who I was looking for. We went out a few times as friends and then it hit me: She’s perfect. Within two months of our first "date" I asked Tara to marry me, and this woman who said she would never marry, accepted. Three months later we were married.
I believe the success of this relationship is a result of a shift in my "marketing paradigm." I moved from a place of "competing" to "attracting." The distinction is that by "attracting," I was clear on what I wanted and as a result I was more authentic. I wasn’t seeking to "position" myself or out-do the competition. I had moved from a place of doing (selling) to being (attracting). By knowing who I was looking for, I was less "desperate" about where I would find my ideal. And, rather than looking at every prospect that walked through the door, I only considered dating the women who truly had the potential of being "my ideal prospect."
To succeed in business, particularly the small business that doesn’t need to appeal to everyone, authenticity is a major key. Authenticity means showing up as who you truly are, as opposed to who you think your market would like you to be. And, I believe, that passing on a prospect less than the ideal can ultimately be the best decision. Doing so will free up your time and energy. In turn, you will be more attractive to that prospect and they will tell others about you.
I have heard it said that, "The quality of our life is a reflection of the quality of our relationships, with ourselves and others." I believe the same is true for business. So define your ideal prospect, write it down and stick with it. And, may your marketing results be as blissful as mine.
© Copyright 2000, John R. Barker