“Authentic Marketing,” Part 3: I Can Read Your Mind | Steve's Quest: The Animated Musical Web Series

“Authentic Marketing,” Part 3: I Can Read Your Mind

It’s not just a line from the Alan Parsons Project — it’s the truth.

I know how you’re feeling and what your intentions are.  What’s more, everyone else does too.  Human beings are extremely empathic creatures.

I’m exaggerating a little — sometimes you can trick people into buying your facade.  But much of the time, when you think you’ve got us all fooled, you’re only fooling yourself.

People See The Concern, Not Just The Technique

I think this is the single most neglected fact in marketing literature.  The techniques in marketing books are usually about what you say and do:  the content of your “elevator pitch,” the right questions to ask sales prospects, how you should smile and use “confident body language,” and so on.

The assumption behind these techniques is that, when we’re with another person, the only thing we see is what they’re saying and doing.  But that’s simply not true.  We don’t just see their words and movements — we see the concerns that motivate what they say and do.

Networking events, which I’ve been attending a lot recently, are a great example.  I’ve had the experience many times of hearing someone give me an impressive-sounding speech about their business — but also being intensely aware of fear or sadness they’re feeling, and of any hidden agenda they have.

In other words, although I see their well-rehearsed words and actions, I also see the beliefs and emotions beneath those words and actions.  If they’re thinking “I’ve got to make this guy do what I want, or I’m not good enough,” or “I just want to get this conversation over with and leave this crappy event,” I can hear that just as clearly as I would if they said it out loud.

Let’s Just Admit We’re Mind-Readers

Why don’t “marketing gurus,” and personal development writers in general, acknowledge how empathic humans are?  Part of it, I think, is that many people are after a quick fix.  It’s easier to copy someone else’s words and body language than it is to take a deep look at what you really want and what you’re afraid of.  Thus, books and programs that teach us “the five sales tactics of successful people,” and so on, are an easier sell.

At a deeper level, I think it’s also unnerving to contemplate the possibility that others are aware of what we’re thinking and feeling.  I think we all find it comforting, at times, to believe that others don’t know our true intentions, and that they’re seeing only what we want them to see.

What we don’t often realize, I think, is that it can also be liberating to admit how attuned we are to each others’ emotions and thoughts.  If you know my true intentions and how I’m really feeling, there’s no need for me to try so hard to have you see me a certain way — because it’s not going to work anyway.

In other words, if there’s no point in trying to convince each other we’re charismatic, dominant, secure, or whatever else, we can all just relax and let go of the strategies we rely on to deceive each other, and maybe even start having little fun in our relating.  I know this sounds wonderful to me — I felt some tension drain out of my shoulders as I wrote it.  :)

So, I invite you to consider, if just for a moment, the possibility that people in your life can “read your mind,” and notice whether that offers you a new sense of freedom.

6 thoughts on
“Authentic Marketing,” Part 3: I Can Read Your Mind

  1. Wilma Ham

    Chris, can I give you a hug” I loved reading your three posts and they totally make so much common sense to me. Why don’t we connect and really see each other when we want to collaborate, because that is what I see business transactions to be, a collaboration. Why don’t we look at how we can contribute and add value rather than go straight for the WIFM and the killer sale regardless?
    I have come to understand that every connection we make is about adding value, every exchange needs to be valuable for both parties. That means business deals are a win/win AND are about authentic collaboration. To find out if there is a chance to add value we need to take time and genuinely empathetically look who is in front of us and how wonderful and joyful would that be? I agree, Chris, that would NOT ring like selling selling selling, but an authentic willingness to add value. THAT makes business fun indeed and marketing an honest profession.
    Of course we can read other people, I love how you point that out but we very seldom dare to take note of what we read, because what are we going to do with that honest reading???? NOT push for a sale?
    Chris, as I said, I loved the series and I love your empathetic approach. Marketing for me has for so long been a dirty business but I am learning there are cleaner ways to do business and marketing that sit a lot better with me. You are validating this for me, thanks xox Wilma

  2. Chris - Post author

    Hi Wilma — absolutely, next time I’m in NZ. :) I think that’s a great way to put it — that actually caring about and empathizing with the person in front of you actually makes doing business enjoyable, regardless of whether or not you make the sale. I also agree that we tend to ignore our intuitions about what’s going on for people in lots of different contexts, and I think many of us could breathe quite a sigh of relief if we could let ourselves tune into them instead.

  3. Hilary

    Hi Chris .. I really need to read these three posts again properly with time on my hands – not something I have too much of at the moment.

    I’ve always hated marketing as such .. but it’s the passion of what we offer .. and the truth in ourselves in the process ..

    Then we always jump the work, we go from here in one long (mega long) leap to success & life just isn’t like that, we need to develop and grow along the way, full understand our product or offering … start with a small step and move forward in truth and then we can have belief with little fear ..

    Thanks – I need to understand these points .. all the best – Hilary

  4. Chris - Post author

    Hi Hilary — that’s a good point — that being an entrepreneur isn’t about just following a few quick, easy steps to creating an info product or something like that — it involves a lot of trial and error and personal growth along the way.

  5. Mark

    Chris,
    There is much truth in what you state about us being mind readers. If we are open we can feel much of what a persons intentions are and what is behind the carefully crafted sales pitch. I was just reading the other day about mirror neurons which explains why we physically can feel what the other person is feeling. At the end of the day being authentic even in the sales arena will build better and longer relationships than following the 7 successful steps to sales success.

  6. Chris - Post author

    Hi Mark — yes, that’s amazing, isn’t it, that neuroscientists have discovered that our brains are designed to have us experience the emotions of those around us — and yet, there still seems to be a sort of cultural taboo against acknowledging that we can feel what others are feeling.

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