Sleazy Used Car SalesmanThink about the stereotypical used car salesman. Tell me how you feel about him. Do you like him? Would you do business with him if you could avoid it?

I’m guessing that your feelings about the used car salesman aren’t so positive. He probably comes across as fake and as someone who only cares about the sale and not about what you want. If you’re like me, you’d avoid him at all costs. People don’t like to interact with people (or companies) that don’t appear genuine. That’s why everyone is always attempting to appear genuine. Well, I’ve come up with the solution. If you want to appear genuine, all you have to do is…be genuine.

I know, I know. You need to make money. Everyone knows that. That’s not a problem. It really isn’t. People want the businesses they like to succeed and make money, so that they can keep delivering a great product. The problem is how you make the money. Does your company make money by exploiting your customers? Are your goals at odds with the desires of your customers? If so, then you’re going to have a harder time creating or maintaining a successful company.

The more closely your goals align with those of your potential customers, the easier it will be to convince them to do business with you. Your best bet is to build a company that delivers a product that you believe in and that the users want. Then monetize it in a way that is compatible with the service you are providing and aligned with your values and the desires of your customers. If you can deliver that, you can speak authentically and passionately in every communication because you aren’t trying to conceal a hidden agenda or convince users to want what you’re selling even though you know it’s not what they either want or need.

A business whose goals are completely at odds with their customers can’t succeed. Even Facebook is partially aligned with their customers. Their problem is that they pretend to be completely aligned with their customers. That lack of authenticity results in a significant amount of distrust, which will become a larger problem for them with time. At the moment, they partially get by because people feel like they have to use the service because everyone else is. With time, that could change. Don’t believe me? Ask MySpace.


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