You will have heard the phrase “People Buy People” and it is true, but what does that mean for how you market your business?

I will tell you what it does not mean: it does not mean that you have to be the most likeable person in the world, so do not panic. Yes, people buy people, but it is not a popularity contest. It is about finding people who are like you, it is about being “one of us”.

So you might think that your hobby is not “corporate” enough or that nobody else will get why you like the TV shows you watch. Or perhaps your have obscure musical taste or an unusual fashion sense. These are things people often worry about because they imagine that revealing these things will harm their marketing. The truth is, these things are your marketing.

Unless you do something terribly unusual, the chances are that hundreds of people do what you do, or do something similar. So there’s only so much mileage in saying “I do this…and I’m really good at it”. There is however a lot of mileage in showing up as authentically you and building relationships with like-minded people, who will then want to work with you. Guess what? No one is going to ask to see your professional qualifications. We like to think we are logical as human beings, but we are so much more emotional than we admit, and when choosing someone to work with top of the list is “will I get on with this person?” It is rarely “are they the most qualified in their field” – unless perhaps you are a heart surgeon.

Being authentically you on social media and in your other marketing avenues means that not only will you attract like-minded people but also that you will put off people with whom you really don’t want to work. If someone finds your posts off-putting because your personality is shining through then that’s a great way of weeding out a person you didn’t want to have as a client in any case. Never worry that your authentic self will be off-putting: if someone is put off by who you are, they are not the right client for you.

We are always told that we have to “niche” and know exactly to whom we are offering our services. That doesn’t have to just mean “I coach creative people” or “I do graphic design for sports teams”. It can also mean realising that most of your clients are into cooking, same as you are, and they have grown up children, or they love their pets, or they are petrol-heads, or into 80s music. You don’t have to put that on your website, but you will gradually notice that your clients tend to have the same values as you and perhaps similar life experiences – and that is a good thing. When you find “your people” that is when the best business relationships blossom and they are far deeper relationships than those based on price or who had the shiniest website.

Yes, people buy people. But we don’t all buy the same people. Show up authentically as yourself, don’t be afraid to show who you are, and your people will find you. When they do, they will want whatever services you are offering, because they will recognise that you are one of them.

Helen Calvert
Coach and Director of Clear Day
April 2021