Nov 05: Push or pull?

Push-PullYou know how people talk about having an epiphany?  Yeah, well, I had one a few years ago.  I don’t know why I’m amazed that it took me to reach my 40’s to realize this, but I certainly hope others learn the truth sooner rather than later.  It’s about figuring out if you push or pull.

I used to be a full-time pusher.  I would push people away to do something myself.  I would push people around when they knew less than me.  I would push ideas on people because they were going to hear me like it or not.  I was pushy.  I was also shocked that people didn’t always like me.  Don’t get me wrong, I was well-respected for getting jobs done and making things happen, but people didn’t really care for me – the person.  It hurt, yet I couldn’t figure out for myself that I was being pushy.

Then I attended a conference on pull marketing.  Since I work in social media it is littered with pull marketing strategies, which I’m familiar with and ironically use quite well!  I remember sitting in my seat hearing another exercise about how to draw customers to you through non-intrusive methods and I literally got a jolt in my spine that this works in marketing yourself too.  Why go to all the trouble to be ‘pushy’ when I simply needed to exercise more pull marketing methods?

I sat down and listed my good traits and then I did the hardest thing I have ever done.  I asked my family and friends to tell me what they REALLY thought of me on Facebook, Twitter, etc. and wow did I get a crazy list of shit.

  • The good stuff mentioned how I donate to charitable causes and can really be there for people no matter day or night when someone called – I was in it for the long haul.  Hmm, not too shabby!
  • The bad stuff mentioned was how I would sometimes dominate a conversation at dinner (especially on topics where I knew a lot) and that I sometimes talked over people rather than listening to them fully.  Ok, so that might be pushy.
  • But it was the ugly comment that stuck low and deep.  I was ashamed to say it for a long time, but Brené Brown would tell you that being vulnerable is what makes us stronger – and I have not lied in this blog to you and won’t start today.  That ugly comment was that if someone upset me or hurt me, I would use nasty rhetoric and manipulative language to oust that person as a pig rather than internalize the hurt and cry or talk to a friend like others would.  Ew, ouch, burn.  #WakeUpCall

The ugly resonated with me to a nauseating degree and I never want to go back there.

Push marketing is easy – you go throw up on someone and then sift through who wants to buy what you sell.  Lather-Rinse-Repeat.  Being pushy in general is very easy.  You go in – demand what you want – and then move on to the next victim.  Pull marketing takes a lot more work in the beginning.  Argh, work?  You have to completely change your strategy.  I now put my entire emphasis on other people.  I’m completely interested in what they want to know and then delivering that resource to them.  I put myself into my customer’s shoes (my friends’ shoes, my neighbors’ shoes, etc.) and try to see something from their perspective.  It’s a vastly different practice and yet so much more rewarding for me and for them.  Win-win.

Pull marketing is actually less frustrating than push marketing in the end too.  You take time to get to know people.  I like to find out what people are interested in and the good Lord knows I’m a connector!  I want to find people who need something and then help them!  What I’ve found is fascinating is the clients that I help are often thrown off by the generosity of the help.  They have their guard up for a while, but after they realize they don’t have to put a bunch of their skin in the game to start a working relationship with me, it creates much stronger ties than I could have imagined.  The same with my family and friends – who I am deeply appreciative that they stuck with me through my growing up phase (thank you!) and I’m sorry to anyone I may have come across sharply with in the past.

Push or pull?  Who are you?

Sheryl Brown / @BionicSocialite




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