An incident that occurred today reminded me of this beautiful quote attributed to Buddha – In the end only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.
At 10:30 a.m. while I was completely engrossed in finishing a task, my phone rang. On the other side was some telemarketer asking for donations to a charity foundation. This was the 4th call of such a nature this week; has to do with financial year end, I think. Their marketing strategy always surprises me –rudely interrupting a potential donor to ask for donations, again and again. If only, they took into the third point from the above quote – how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.
The term marketing has come to have such a bullish ring to it, it is anything but graceful. Think of the home supplies aisle of a Big Bazaar or a D Mart. You have thousand of products calling out to you and only those that scream the loudest and longest get your attention. They never let you go, following you home on the billboards, radio, TV, Internet, newspapers, even through the mouths of your own children. The other day one of my boys raced the other to the wash basin and yelled to the other – “tera sabun slow hain kya?”
When you have a generic product such as soap, you cannot afford to be well mannered and graceful, making the customers feel comfortable by saying, “Hey it’s just a bar of soap. Doesn’t matter which one you buy!”; especially not when others are making customers feel dumb by telling them “This is a not just a soap but a miracle bar that will make you smarter!” When in Rome, be like the Romans or get thrown to the lions! Therefore companies pour millions into sponsorships so that their brand can flash on the cricket pitch or the kabbadi arena for some seconds. They couldn’t care less about being graceful.
But when it comes to the selling of soft services, it helps to gracefully let go of customers not meant for you. The way marketing is done in our world today, it is anything but a graceful letting go; it is actually the ungraceful holding on of anyone and everyone. This leaves everyone with a bad taste in their mouth. You may have made a sale but you have definitely hurt your brand. A cousin, when pursued by one of those relentless network marketers commented “It’s easier to escape from Dawood’s gang than these networks!” Any exchange that has the element of graceful letting go is actually called an interaction and interactions can lead to meaningful conversations. You may not have made a sale but you gave something much more valuable, you enriched everyone’s life in general and your own in particular.
Almost everyone that is trying to sell something struggles with this. The struggle is not in the letting go part, the struggle lies in the discerning of whether a customer or an opportunity is meant for them and how much do they compromise on grace in pursuing it? It’s a huge world out there and I don’t have any clear answers or guidelines on how to tell if a particular person is meant to buy your product today or sometime in the future or not.
The best judge of this is actually your own intuition. I do not mean this in a miraculous way that you will see a white arrow on a customer’s head or hear a booming voice say “He is the one!” but rather in a more typical way; deep within we know – whether to approach, how, when, whether to persist or back off. But most of us have been so ungraceful with our intuition so far that we have overpowered it with our worldly beliefs such as “you have to constantly, promote, push and convince people to buy what you are selling.” Hence, selling and marketing feels artificial and laboured whereas the same interaction, within the context of graceful letting go becomes an enjoyable and enriching conversation.
One guideline I can think of is being very careful about the channel of your marketing. By channel I not only mean agencies and mediums but also being aware of the settings in which you promote your products. For charity foundations, it means not interrupting potential donors in the middle of their work, for network marketers, it means not pushing friends and family to buy their products when sitting down at the dinner table, for budding artists it means not to push their art onto unsuspecting visitors and for content agencies it means not to embed ads in the middle of engrossing youtube videos J.
Can you think of other guidelines for graceful marketing?
Author: Shibani Thakur, Founder, Y2L Meditation & Relaxation Studio & Co-Founder, Travel Light
Travel Light is a self awareness program that uses a combination of pragmatic learning, mind therapy and meditation practices to enable identification of limiting patterns from the past and help you break those patterns for good.
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