Yes that’s a reference to an absolutely fantastic novel, Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel García Márquez.
If you’ve read just about anything I’ve written about over the past 10 years (when you’re not reading great novels, of course), you know that I’m a big fan — and practitioner — of content marketing.
So it’s a little odd for me to say that now is the time for content marketing. It’s always the time for content marketing in my book.
But with the craziness that is our world right now, an old-fashioned hard sell may be even more unwelcome than usual. For example, I read a particularly nasty email listserve exchange yesterday that included this gem: “We are under a state of national emergency and many people are going to die and I am getting emails for coaching service discounts. What is wrong with you people.”
Setting aside that jerk’s poor manners and worse punctuation — the offer he refers to was made in a group which had invited offers that might help those in industries affected by cancelled meetings, etc. — there is a point worth thinking about. Even if that point could be made more thoughtfully.
If you’re going to promote yourself, whether today or under “normal” business conditions, keep your focus on your prospect and on the benefit they will derive from buying from you.
Be giving, even when you’re trying to get more business. You don’t have to give away your secret sauce, but you do have to provide real value with every interaction.
Be helpful, even if that requires investing some time or effort that you may never see any return from.
Be empathetic. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes. What is really motivating them and how can you address their concerns?
That’s worth remembering whether you’re trying to win someone’s business or just understand where they’re coming from.