Is heart centred marketing just a cop out?

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There’s been a trend in the online world that has been rapidly picking up pace; heart centred marketing. Originally aimed at the spiritual and therapeutic professions, this phrase seems to be as commonplace as the infamous yellow highlighter a decade ago.

I’ve tried to research this phrase to find out who first used it, but googling variants of this phrase just seems to lead to tens of thousands of websites using this phrase to sell their own info products.

In a recent discussion in a Facebook group several people were asking where this phrase had come from; whether it was just another “buzz word from the Maria Forleo crowd”.

I was immediately drawn to the discussion; being a huge fan of Maria and what she does, I totally got what these people was asking. After several years of running the hugely successful B School, it is of no surprise that this programme is churning out hundreds of online businesses all seemingly offering the same old thing … how to be a heart centred entrepreneur and sell without selling.

copydoodlesaccessclub_copydoodles_shape_28_tishOn my online searching of this phrase, it seems that there are many other discussions pinging up about this topic.

Heart Centred Marketing – what does it really mean?

Aren’t all entrepreneurs heart based?

Why all the focus on heart based and ethical? Surely we all want to be ethical, don’t we?

It’s true isn’t it?

Why would you or me not be selling ethically?

Do the likes of you and me not really put our heart and soul in to our businesses?

So it is more that there are certain business owners who want to know how to “sell without selling”? Is that heart centred marketing is really all about?

Yellow HighlighterHaving thrown myself in to internet marketing almost on the day I started my own business in September 2004, the web looked very different from what it does today. Remember the Long Sales Letter? The pages that scrolled on and on and on and on, broken up only by the yellow highlighter and “Buy now … only 4 copies left” (really?? only 4 digital copies left??)

It was a very “masculine” world to be learning from.

(I use the term masculine here not necessarily focused on gender. I wish I could find other terms to use that don’t automatically point to male or female. Females can be just as masculine and sometimes even more so, than some men … and obviously vis versa.)

It was hard sell on the internet ten years ago and whether it is because business has become more feminine (again .. not more female; although there are certainly far more women online now than there ever was back in 2004); more soft; more pull than push; more attraction than aggressive double-glazing selling.

Perhaps this is why heart centred marketing is making such a surge this year.

Is it the ying to the yellow highlighter yang?

And this is where I worry and get concerned with many businesses jumping on the bandwagon of this phrase Heart Centred Marketing. And yes, in this instance it is mainly women who are doing this jumping.

I’m certainly pleased to see the move away from that yellow highlighter, but there seem to me certain women who see this heart centred marketing approach as a safe haven; a place where they can pretend they don’t have to sell and hide behind the mask of authenticity and spirituality.

If this is the case, I am afraid that his “heart centred marketing” is only going to cause the demise of hundreds of online businesses.

Heart centred marketing is NOT an excuse to hide from your fears of selling. By being afraid of having selling conversations – whether that’s through your virtual or physical words – you are in danger of avoiding the very skill that you need to grow your business and create an income.

It is the proverbial ostrich sticking it’s head in the sand.

I love selling. Selling is a lot of fun … when the other person involved is interested in buying that is. You can’t hold a gun to someone’s head and tell them to buy from you (unless of course what you do is illegal … but I won’t go there, today!).

You can’t make make an income from your business if you don’t have this two way street. And I believe that this is what many “heart centred” business owners feel afraid of; if that other person is not interested in buying, then that’s going to be a hard sell.

Social media and online networking is adding fuel to this fire. Hiding behind your screen and using the likes of Facebook to find potential customers is stopping you from the very thing that will grow your business; sales conversations.

I don’t mean double glazing hard sells; cold calling from a list of numbers bought from a data company. I mean having meaningful REAL conversations with people who may be potentially interested in what you offer.

REAL conversations that involve picking up the phone, meeting face to face, video linking on skype if distance and time prohibits travel.

Getting sucked into the heart based marketing mentality can be dangerous for business if all it does it allows you to avoid learning and developing your REAL human to human selling skills. Yes, we all want to be liked. And of course it goes without saying that we all want to be ethical, authentic and give the best we can possibly give to our customers.

But avoiding the REAL sales conversations and speaking to REAL humans will be the death of your business … online or offline.

Beware the dangers of hiding behind the heart based marketing tag as it could lead you to having an expensive hobby .. rather than a profitable business!

What do you think? I would love to know your thoughts and ideas about this new wave of heart based marketing. Do you agree? Disagree?

Please leave your comments below. And if anyone knows who first coined the phrase heart based marketing, then I would love to know!

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