“Quantity does not equal quality” my mom said while she showed me how to apply makeup at an age at which I was definitely too young to wear makeup.
I stood on a little stool to be able to see myself in the mirror above the sink and there she was, spending 2 full hours with me to teach me about how to apply eye shadow to match the shape of my eye and how too much of it made me look like a clown. We had a ton of fun (and I can’t imagine how she must have felt as I clumsily plastered spoonfuls of Clinque onto my eyelids for the first time).
Why did she do this?
She knew some cool kid at school had started experimenting with that horrible blue mascara that was fashionable in the 90s. She knew that in the years to follow, all the little girls in school would follow suit, begging to be allowed to smear oddly scented blue and pink glitter on their innocent little faces.
As soon as I became curious about the nature of mascara, she used an entire afternoon to playfully teach me how to use it. I felt extra special because I knew that none of the girls my age learned how to do that.
Then she sat me down and said: “You know what? If I were you, I would wear none of it to school. Not even when you are 13.”
(Note: my mom did not say “you are not going to” or “you are not allowed” but mysteriously whispered “if I were you…”)
It made me curios. (Smart woman.)
“When you start wearing a little bit of makeup every day, you will get used to your face with makeup on it. And your friends will get used to your face with makeup on.
It will become normal and you will start feeling like something is missing whenever you are not wearing it.
But worse than that, on special occasions like birthday parties or fancy dinners, you will want to look extra pretty… so you will put even more makeup on. But as you now know, more makeup does not look better…”
I learned as a pre-teen that it was better not to wear any make up at all, so that on special occasions I could do my makeup just right. She topped it off with a big chunk of soppy momma love: “That way you will look beautiful every day and extra pretty on special occasions.”
My mom is brilliant, and I know I am going to receive a teary-eyed call soon after I hit publish because she still continues to be one of my most engaged readers (and I’m happy to admit that). But this is not just an ode to my mom (or myself as an only slightly naughty teenager), but an important lesson in sales.
You see, when you boil it down to basics, sales is about inspiring action.
Even if you do it smartly and in light doses, when you are constantly telling people to sign up for this, opt in for that webinar, listen to this podcast and buy that product, they will get used to it.
It will become the usual noise that they can easily blend out. It just comes with the package like everyday mascara.
As a result, when something extra special happens (that was momma language for you are launching a new product or service), you will understandably turn up the marketing volume to make it stand out.
When your normal is tastefully salesy (as in you often ask people to take action), your special occasion marketing can easily shift from just right to marketing overload. That is at least as bad as makeup overload. It is not pretty (and will definitely not result in heaps of sales).
A great sales offer begins before your launch. It means making your normal everyday communication easy-going and a joy to consume. It means not always trying to push people to take action or those calls to action will become easy to ignore.
When your normal is easy-going, your launches will be just right.
This Friday, I am launching my DIY course Dream Draw on business planning for people who hate business plans. The pre-sale is on now and I don’t have to make a whole lot of noise about it by virtually screaming around and plastering your inbox with the benefits of a 30-minute sessions with yours truthfully or by reminding you 100 times that the price will go up after Friday.
I can simply tell you about it like this and know that the right people will sign up.
Feels just right.