Do you know what REALLY sucks?

Trying to convince people that they should buy your stuff.

I know as an entrepreneur, I’m supposed to be selling and hustling 24×7.

But selling as in convincing you that you should depart your hard earned money with my suave & charms, isn’t in my blood.

When I think of the word “salesman”, first, I think a fat greasy old dude named Vinny trying to sell me a junker for 5x what it’s really worth. And the second category i think of are people that genuinely want to help you when you need something.

When was I in America on my spiritual journey, I got this insane allergic reaction to a bug bite.

Of course, I freaked out. I didn’t want to chop my arm off in a foreign country. So I went to see a doctor. When I got there, I sat down in front of the hospital rep (i.e. salesperson) who was going over my treatment options. Going over the options, I see that the basic package is all i needed – basic check up, basic blood work, and basic consultation with a doctor.

She didn’t try hard at all.. but she managed to upsell me to their premium plan, that included dental checkup, and yes, I shit you not, ultrasound.. FOR MEN! Now, I am the most skeptical buyer you can possibly imagine.. but they managed to persuade me to spend 3x as much as I really needed to. How?

Simple. I NEEDED what they had… and THEY were the experts.

To me, that was the A-HA moment.

If you’re an entrepreneur with a product or a service, you HAVE something that someone needs.

This was the A-HA-I-WILL-NEVER-NEED-TO-SELL-AGAIN moment for me.

Introducing… inbound marketing!

Instead of you trying to sell sell sell … why not help help help?

Someone somewhere has a pain that YOU can solve.

Incredible? You betcha.

So how do you do this?

1) Be an expert

Know your topic. Be a pro in your area of expertise.

You go see an eye doctor when your eye hurts. Why? He knows about eyes. You go see a internal medicine doctor when your tummy hurts. Why? She knows about guts. You go see a dermatologist when your skin looks like crap. Why? He knows about skin. The point is.. people go see experts when they have a problem they need solved.

If you don’t know what you’re talking about, why would people come to you?

Me? I’m an online marketing expert. I know about search engine marketing, inbound marketing, SEO, pay per click, lead generation, conversion rate optimization, split testing, copywriting, social media & email marketing, blogging, and dogs.

If you ask me about offline marketing, I will probably look like a deer in a headlight.

2) Tell the world that you’re an expert.

You could be an expert.. but if they don’t know that you’re an expert, how would they come to you?

This is why I blog about marketing. (And you should read my blog)

This is why I do interviews.

This is why I do case studies.

This is why I run events.

If you don’t tell the world who you are and what you do, how are they going to know?

Start a blog and keep writing there at least for a year. Remember, content is king. Without GREAT content, you’re nothing but a pauper. Imagine if your customer asks you what you know.. instead of you telling them with your mouth over and over again, why not send them a URL? Remember, showing them is MUCH more effective than talking to them.

3) Build an audience (that comes back)

It’s one thing to tell the world.. but another thing to build an audience.

Your audience will come to you because

– you are an expert & have some good stuff to say

– you are helpful and not always trying to sell them stuff

Why do people follow Oprah? Tony Robbins? Steve Jobs? Experts who know their stuff, give away great content, help people, and aren’t afraid to be in public light. Their audience comes back .. and eventually buys. Note to cynical people: Just product is paid does not mean it does not help people. Case in point: drugs that cure people from diseases, viruses, infections, etc. Remember, with web technologies these days, it’s so easy to build a virtual audience. Twitter followings, Facebook fanpages, Google+ pages, and of course, good ol’ email lists.

4) Keep in Touch

If this blog was updated once a year, would you come back? Probably not. The more often you are in people’s attention, the more likely that you will develop trust with them.

Why do you think McDonalds spend billions on brand advertising? They know that the more frequently they are in their buyer’s view, the more likely that they will trust.. and eventually buy.

5) Teach first, sell later

When you teach, people trust you. This is a cultural norm that is ingrained into our minds ever since we were little. Respect your elderly.. respect your teachers.. respect the authority. When you put yourself out there and teach people what you know, you have become a de facto authority in your topic.

When you become an authority, you become trusted.

When you become trusted, you are more likely to buy from them.