A friend’s car got involved in an accident and he is struggling to get the insurance to pay up due to some small loophole in the contract.

I always get calls from banks offering me credit card facilities with huge credit limit, or get letters offering me overdraft or loans.

These friendly call centre agents who are just doing their job to sell you something, will not be there when you miss one installment, instead you will be harassed by collection people who are not so friendly.

What would happen if your friends and colleagues treated you the way marketers do?

What if your spouse sold your personal information to anyone who would pay for it?

If your boss promised you miraculous changes and then failed to deliver?

If your colleagues at work refused to talk to you unless you spent half an hour on hold first?

During a mentorship session this past week, I discussed the concept of values with my mentee. Treating your customers with respect and having their best interest at heart is the core of a caring entrepreneur. Always be truthful and sincere.

Instead of seeing people as a means to an end in marketing your business, how about we see them as human beings who needs caring.

Love people, use things. The opposite never works.

What if the people you liked and trusted made promises to you in order to get your attention and cooperation, and then broke those promises whenever they could get away with it?

Most of us would not choose to work with people who disrespect us as much as marketers do.

Most of us would not choose a career where everything we interact with is prettied up, made to look amazing and once you sign up, you get dumbed down.

Why do we hate marketers so much?

We don’t just hate them. We ignore them. We distrust them. When a marketer calls you on the phone to sell you some insurance or, slimming products, we look for an excuse to drop the phone.

Marketers use people as a means to an end. What is important is what they get in return [a sale, commission, income] not what is in the best interest of the client.

The client is secondary in the mind of a marketer.

In fact, when a marketer actually keeps his promise to us, we are so surprised we tell everyone we know.

I got a call yesterday from a company that wanted to “confirm my order”. When I returned the call, I discovered that there was no confirming… it was just a come-on from a company I had never heard from to sell me something new. [I would get free lunch if I came to their offices].

Somewhere along the way, marketers stopped acting like real people. They substituted a new set of ethics, one built around “buyer beware” and the letter of the law.

Marketers, in order to succeed in a competitive marketplace, decided to see what they could get away with instead of what they could deliver.

As businesses have become commodities, many of them have decided that respect is the first thing they can no longer afford. If you have ever been put on hold by a cell phone company, you know the feeling.

One sales executive confided in me last week:

“After we sell you an account, we never ever want to hear from you again. If we hear from you, it is bad news.” Hey, it is just business.

The few successful marketers we hear about again and again are all on our short list because they still show their customers respect. Apple, good car sales agents, none of them talk down to their audience in order to score a sale.

When I started working, I had a sales agent say to me that instead of giving me a ballon payment deal on my first car, how about I save money for three months and pay a good deposit on my car. He was willing to wait for three or four for me to save for a good deposit instead of selling the car on a huge ballon payment so that he can score the deal and make commission now.

Such marketers and sales are scarce today.

The magic kicks in when marketers are smart enough and brave enough to combine trust with respect.

When a marketer does not trick you with smooth talking and manipulate you on the way to a retail establishment, or trusts you to make intelligent decisions, you remember it.

Today marketing and advertising is about manipulating customers to buy and finding the first excuse or loophole to get out of a contract.

The number of companies that keep promises to their customers, respect their intelligence and keep their promises, is quite tiny.

Of course, this means that a huge opportunity exists. It means that if you seek the very best slice of the market (the individuals and companies that can spend money, wisely, on new things) you will likely do best if you let go of the trickery, manipulation, misdirection and pandering and instead focus on customers that will embrace a realistic and honest approach to doing business.

RULE ONE: Smart marketers treat their customers like respected colleagues and admired family members.

Now, apparently, it’s okay if a company reneges on an insurance claim, apparently it’s okay for an insurance company to rip you off on your claim as long as there is a loophole.

If an organisation makes a promise, then keeps it, delight kicks in.

Eric Mashale talks about branding not a a logo, or how you look or how cool you sound, he says branding is the promise you make and keep.

If a manager or an employee or a co-worker takes an extra minute or jumps through an extra hoop to honor a commitment to you, it is something you will remember for a long time, precisely because it is such a rare occurrence.

So there is the real opportunity… to follow in the footsteps of the great marketers by reclaiming the interactions that used to be commonplace.

Be real, be trustworthy, be genuinely interested, be honest, be vulnerable, and let your clients know that they truly matter.

Have the courage to make promises and keep them. Do more than you promised, not what the contract says. Assume your colleagues are smart, and show leadership by respecting their work as if it were your own.

RULE TWO: Treat your colleagues the way a smart marketer would. With respect. And keep your promises.

You want loyalty? Treat your customers with honesty, trust and respect.

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