ASH AMBIRGE

Author, CEO & Founder

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Just The Tip: Don’t Sell People.

In: Just The Tip,

As I write today’s tip, I’m sailing away from Honduras on a cruise ship as a guest speaker (are you picturing me stomping all over the poop deck with a microphone?), speaking to a group of bright, motivated women starting their own businesses on the topic of standing out from the crowd. Getting noticed. And rising above the ubiquitous “sea of competitors,” which I promise I’ve only joked about once, though there’s certainly the temptation to harass everyone with as many nautical metaphors as possible.

At one point during the talk—somewhere in between putting paper bags over the heads of poor, unsuspecting volunteers and writing with marker all over their faces—I told them this:

People don’t care about your product. Your “service offering.” Your promotions. Your stupid launch.

Those things are about you.

So how do you sell yourself if you can’t make it about you?

And the answer is this:

It isn’t about selling people.

It’s about seeing them.

Find ways to unite people. Tease out a common thread. Search for a higher theme. And then provide an opportunity for them to rally around that theme. And by extension, around you.

Take American Express, for example. Instead of sending out another riveting batch of You’re Pre Approved! letters, they started their Small Business Saturday initiative encouraging consumers to shop small and support local business owners during the holidays instead of big retailers. And as a byproduct, they naturally earn attention for themselves. And customers, if they work it right.

Or the Double Tree By Hilton. Instead of starting yet another groundbreaking loyalty program, they earned their loyalty in a refreshing new way: By starting The Little Things Project, sparking a conversation about the little details that really make a difference while traveling.

Or even us. Maybe you saw the announcement about our new international travel company, Life Hooky Worldwide, opening its doors next Wednesday, and our fun “You know you need a change when…” initiative. (If you didn’t, click here.) We aren’t starting a typical sales conversation about the places we go, or the cross-cultural experiences we offer; we’re starting a conversation around a unifying theme that actually matters to people; in this case, what it feels like when you stop feeling. Stop caring. Stop living. (And seeing if we can learn to laugh at ourselves, too.)

The bottom line of today’s tip?

Instead of yelling at everyone to pay attention to you—

—Give them a reason to, instead.

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34 thoughts on "Just The Tip: Don’t Sell People."

  1. Brilliant as always Ash! I need to think about how I can use this in my business. I work with wedding professionals and I help them with their marketing. My main driver is helping people create more freedom so maybe I can do something with that.

    1. Ash Ambirge says:

      🙂 🙂 🙂 Let the brainstorming begin!

      1. Do you see this as something that has to be a separate site? I ask because the examples you gave are all sites outside of the main site for each business.

        1. Ash Ambirge says:

          No, not at all. For them it makes more sense since it’s pretty involved and requires its own site – it would be far too much to merge in with their regular site. And same for Life Hooky, though we’re developing that as its own stand alone brand separate from TMF, ultimately, so a new website made sense.

          1. So is Life Hooky going to be a business in itself or a blog that feeds into TMF Project? I TOTALLY see the value in creating a message bigger than just me. It’s just how (of course).

          2. Ash Ambirge says:

            It’s a separate company. 🙂

          3. I’m going to have to think about how to do this for my business. Any tips on what I would even search for when researching this?

  2. Brilliant as always Ash! I need to think about how I can use this in my business. I work with wedding professionals and I help them with their marketing. My main driver is helping people create more freedom so maybe I can do something with that.

    1. Ash Ambirge says:

      🙂 🙂 🙂 Let the brainstorming begin!

      1. Do you see this as something that has to be a separate site? I ask because the examples you gave are all sites outside of the main site for each business.

        1. Ash Ambirge says:

          No, not at all. For them it makes more sense since it’s pretty involved and requires its own site – it would be far too much to merge in with their regular site. And same for Life Hooky, though we’re developing that as its own stand alone brand separate from TMF, ultimately, so a new website made sense.

          1. So is Life Hooky going to be a business in itself or a blog that feeds into TMF Project? I TOTALLY see the value in creating a message bigger than just me. It’s just how (of course).

          2. Ash Ambirge says:

            It’s a separate company. 🙂

          3. I’m going to have to think about how to do this for my business. Any tips on what I would even search for when researching this?

  3. maxwell ivey says:

    Hello; another great post my friend. Cool how you started by joking about yourself yelling at the people on the cruise and then going on to tell us we can’t yell at people about our new programs or offerings and expect to get results. so, how would you suggest someone like me apply this technique of taking action. I help people sell amusement equipment. so mostly i am sharing the details of someone’s equipment or the benefits of a new product. thanks for the reminder and take care, max

  4. maxwell ivey says:

    Hello; another great post my friend. Cool how you started by joking about yourself yelling at the people on the cruise and then going on to tell us we can’t yell at people about our new programs or offerings and expect to get results. so, how would you suggest someone like me apply this technique of taking action. I help people sell amusement equipment. so mostly i am sharing the details of someone’s equipment or the benefits of a new product. thanks for the reminder and take care, max