I remember when I started in project management at a construction company in my early 20's and heard the phrase "Cash is King" for the first time. In many ways that's still true. But when it comes to sales and prospecting specifically, the real reigning monarch is authenticity. The ability to sound and act in an authentic way is what helps real people connect with you, and see you as different from your competitors.
Intentionally Authentic In everything you do, you have to find a way to do it authentically. That can be
hard to do on accident. Here are 3 ways you can work on being more authentic while you grow your business.
1. Original is Not the Same as Helpful I see the potential irony of using a stock photo in a mass newsletter that's preaching about being authentic, but I did it to make a point. Being authentic is not always synonymous with just being original. A wise man once said, "There's nothing new under the sun." That probably wouldn't feel true to him if you handed him an iPhone 15, but it is true that something doesn't have to be new, novel, or groundbreaking to be valuable. If you want to be authentic, worry more about what people would find useful than what might be completely original. 2. Avoid the "Uncanny Valley" The uncanny valley is a hypothesized relation between an object's degree of resemblance to a human being and the emotional response to the object. In other words, your brain is pretty good at spotting something that's fake but meant to come across as real. When we do spot it, we freak out a little. Here's the Hot Take: Stop using AI. People can tell when you use AI to generate content. We don't know how we know, but we do. And when we do, there is a violent subconscious reaction against it. There's nothing wrong with using AI to gather ideas, but if you are ever copy/pasting something from ChatGPT we can tell... and we don't like it. 3. If you Feel it Say it If you're ever talking to a prospect and you start to feel uncomfortable, they noticed way before you did. You're not going to be able to hide it... it's already out there. The only way to get out of that mess is to find a way to "hang a lantern on it." An old phrase from Hollywood, it means that you know that the audience notices that something is conveniently improbable so you have a character point it out and you all can move on. Oh, the main character escaped from an inescapable death trap with remarkable ease? Have the sidekick say, "Wow, I can't believe you made it out of there!" Problem solved. Dumb, but it works every time. If you find yourself talking, writing, or otherwise communicating in a way the feels off... we feel it too. Stop, take a moment to try and identify the incongruity, and correct it with us right here and now.