Two years ago I decided to take a step out of doing church work exclusively and picked up a few ?marketplace? clients to test the waters of the corporate world. In a few short months I had picked up a number of great clients and was finding I had great success. After time, though, I started to feel a bit drained?namely because I wasn’t passionate about what the businesses and organizations I was working with were selling.

It’s inevitable that, whether in the church or the corporate world, we will be called upon to help market or sell a product that we don’t use. For me in the business world, it was teeth whitening treatments and luxury condos. In the church world, it could be the mom’s knitting group that meets on Tuesday afternoons that is relentless about wanting an on-stage announcement.

Regardless, here are a few tips I’ve discovered over the years that I come back to when I’m tasked with promoting something I’m not necessarily into:

1. Tune into the deeper passion and tell that story.

Even if you aren?t necessarily passionate about what you’re being asked to sell, there is undoubtedly a deeper passion behind the product or service. And, no doubt, the people behind the product have a passion motivating them to do what they do. Tap into that passion, hear their stories, and get to the bigger meaning behind what you?re selling. Today, most marketers and businesses know that it’s more about the story their product helps someone tell than it is about their actual product. So get behind that story and find creative ways to tell it.[quote]Tap into that passion, hear their stories, and get to the bigger meaning behind what you?re selling.[/quote]

2. Take it for a trial run.

If you’ve never used a product or seldom use it yourself, it’s hard to know how to market or communicate about it well. So, take it for a test spin. In the ministry context, it may mean making a trek to the Tuesday afternoon knitting group. While it may seem inconvenient or a hassle, chances are that once you see how other people are interacting or engaging around whatever it is that you are asked to promote or sell, it will give you a better context to know how to communicate. You can discover what it is that you need to say to convince others to check it out for themselves.

3. Equate it to something you do use.

We all have common needs and desires as human beings. We crave relationships, connection, purpose, meaning, and a whole host of other things. Regardless of what it is you are being asked to promote, there’s a good chance that the end goal of the product or service is connected to one of those human longings and desires. If it’s all about fostering connections, relate it to something that brings connection into your life. Think of the emotions you feel when you’re using a similar product or service that evokes the same feelings the product you don’t use is meant to evoke. Think of the words or language you would use to define what you’re familiar with and apply it to the unfamiliar.[quote]We crave relationships, connection, purpose, meaning, and a whole host of other things.[/quote]

4. Remember that the customer is always right.

If you’re working in the ministry world, you’re called to serve the bigger vision of your local church. If you?re working in the corporate space, you’re accountable to your boss and to your clients. In both scenarios, it requires that you do all you can to support and back whatever it is that you are called to promote. Even if it’s unfamiliar or irrelevant to you, it matters to someone else, and you have to be able to create that sense of meaning for others. Sometimes that means giving up your own agenda or preferences and embracing some humility. At the end of the day, it’s not about you. It’s about the customer.

5. Ask questions.

When all else fails, nothing can help you get a clearer understanding than asking questions. Don’t assume or take what’s given to you at face value. When you learn to ask great questions, you will uncover a whole new world of understanding and meaning. For all of my clients, I have a standard list of Who?, What? Where?, When? and Why? type questions that I ask them about what it is they are trying to do. Understanding those helps better inform me as I go about helping them communicate and promote whatever it is they are trying to sell.[quote]When you learn to ask great questions, you will uncover a whole new world of understanding and meaning.[/quote]

In the end, while I still don’t have a passion for teeth whitening or the women’s sewing group, these few things have greatly helped me see the bigger picture behind them and serve my clients well. Knowing the heart behind the product or service and deeper story trying to be told through them is invaluable when you’re trying to sell something you don’t use.

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