Does Authenticity Really Matter?

A real picture of real clouds from a real plane.
A real picture of real clouds from a real plane.

"Oh hell, If I'd known you were still shopping around, I'd have told you not to waste my time."

I hung up the phone. ​​​

Who did this guy think he was? What kind of sales pitch was THAT? And if he thinks...

The thoughts whipped across my mind hot and fast.

I'd contacted this well-known tech company to see if they could help me with my internet rankings.

"James," we'll call him, used an old school sales tactic. Erode my confidence and then swoop in to save me from the problem he'd framed up.

"So you only spend x dollars on marketing, is that right?"

I felt defensive. Red flag.

"It appears that you haven't even implemented a keyword strategy, is that right?"

My shoulders were up around my ears - red flag.

"You do realize you need some real technical expertise here, don't you?"

Now I was pissed.

I felt myself clench my teeth and managed to suck in a deep breath.

My primal instincts had initiated protect and defend mode, and I knew I needed to end this call asap.

I forced two more deep breaths, let him finish his spiel, paused for a long silence, and said I needed to think about it and speak with a few more companies.

That statement unleashed the worst in James.

When he stopped for a breath in his diatribe, I thanked him for his time and hung up the phone.

I sat for a minute to sort out what was so off about this call and why it made me so angry.

It's a very common sales tactic. He wasn't being evil, he was just following a script that works on a lot of people.

He was doing exactly what he'd been told to do.

The problem?

It was fake.

He was just following a formula.

Deep down, I knew there was more potential in my business than I was producing, but I hadn't been able to figure it out alone.

I was looking for an expert who could see the buried treasure and help me unleash that potential.

He was just following a formula.

After a day or two, I sent some feedback to James and his boss. To their credit, they both responded. James apologized.

His boss, who had clearly been in the business awhile and understood the long game, had authenticity down in spades.

Everything from his first email to our most recent call, felt like he was honestly invested in my long term success, no strings attached. And it worked, not long after Jame's boss stepped in, I signed as a long-term client.

But that first "strategy" call with James really made me think.

It's easy to fall into an old script to try and manipulate the situation.

But people will feel it.

Being authentic isn't just a fluffy idea that produces happiness and joy and sparkles out of your butt.

It has a tangible, monetary return on investment. It helps you get hired, promoted, and it affects your bottom line.

For me, it was a wake up call. I'm combing back through all my work to clean up what isn't consistent with the real, caring attention I always intend.

If I notice it in James, I bet I'm doing it too.

What about you? Where can you be more invested? More authentic? More yourself? I'd love to know.

Warmly, Shannon