You 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