Recent conversations about food shows made me reminisce about when I was young and cable food shows were still in the early stages of popularity. Julia Child and The Galloping Gourmet were the memorable chefs of the 70s, with an occasional special on PBS from others. In the mid-80s, Martha Stewart had her first Thanksgiving special. I remember being instantly captivated by her home, her pantry, and her presentation that almost gave the food itself a backseat.
I wanted her pots and pans and her beautifully pressed linens. I loved the way she described the preparation of the food and expressed her passion with every taste. Then there were the feelings that went along with the perfect dinner party and knowing that every guest was going home delightfully satisfied.
Most of you know the story of her huge rise in popularity during the 90s which led to a magazine, several best-selling published books, and eventually the formation of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. Despite the setback in the mid-2000s and that unfortunate federal prison stint, Martha Stewart is still worth around 300 million dollars today and rising.
Why, you ask? What is the secret to her success? It’s no secret, really. You know it every time you hear it. It’s not just a slogan for Martha, it’s her signature.
While Martha is sharing a Thanksgiving recipe, the basics of entertaining, or simply how to properly make a bed, she is reminding you over and over again that “it’s a good thing.” She doesn’t shout on QVC or infomercials how you should "buy this now!" or "you will never ever have the opportunity to get this at this low of price ever again!" She doesn’t need to shout. She is continually repeating why you should love this, how it is the best color and quality, and that “it’s a good thing.”
By the end of one of her eight-minute descriptions of having the best table settings as a presentation to your guests, you are ready to run out and buy everything new possible. Anything and everything that you may not be able to afford right now but are sure that, with a few lessons from Martha, you can hand make anything you’re missing from that festive display. Why? Because it’s a good thing.
Sometimes we are a bit squeamish about selling ourselves as creatives or business owners. Self-promotion can feel a bit contrived and way out of our comfort zone. But in reality, when you know you are valuable and that what you are doing or selling is going to be a value to someone else, it should flow through you.
There’s a way to show people during your conversation or demonstration that you are qualified and the best. It’s the natural phrases you use to remind them you are an expert and your product is the best, and it should be communicated through your vocabulary. This leaves very little need for the “the close.”
Here’s the key to Martha Stewart’s level of continual selling and promoting: She believes it. She’s believed it before she made millions and had a lifestyle empire. From her first special that aired on PBS in the 80s up to the first ad she ran after being released from Federal Prison, the assurance that "it was a good thing" was never absent from her message or overall persona.
She believed that the lifestyle, recipe, or set of sheets she was offering were and would continue to be “a good thing.” The most important thing to her business is that she made us believe it too.
Use that same type of self-confidence and self-promotion to get the most out of your business, and your life!
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