Stop Trying to Build an Audience

Make connections that matter instead


Frank McKinley

3 years ago | 3 min read

Everyone says you need an audience to sell anything these days.

The trouble with that is it’s all about you. Drawing people to you. Collecting followers so you have credibility. Building a platform to sell, sell, sell.

Listen, I get that you need to make money. We all do, right? But if you make that your primary goal, you’ll turn people off faster than unwanted phone calls at dinner.

Nobody cares about you

I’m old.

I remember when people used to answer their phones. That was in the days when everyone had a phone on the kitchen wall and on a table in the living room. Most of the time, the call was one you wanted.

When salespeople started calling, people bought answering machines.

You didn’t want to switch long distance companies while your chicken casserole is still warm from baking. You don’t want to talk about life insurance when you haven’t seen your family all day.

People don’t want to sign up for your list just so you can sell them stuff.

You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you. — Dale Carnegie

Don’t collect people — touch them instead

When I was in high school, I had a friend whose father collected beer cans from around the world.

I wasn’t old enough to drink. I’d never been in a liquor store. And since then, I’ve never seen so many different kinds of beer in my life.

What made the collection fascinating was the story each can told. They kept the collection in a shed in the back yard. They could have charged admission to give people tours, but they didn’t. They were proud of it, and they just wanted to show it off.

It’s the same with your social media profiles. Everyone sees how many followers you have. Just because 50 million Elvis fans can’t be wrong, we trust strangers with crowds.

But should we?

One busy Friday night, the clutch failed in my car. I was in the middle lane, and the car wasn’t going anywhere. So I got out and started pushing.

Then from nowhere, someone said, “Get in and steer and I’ll push.”

I did.

When I was out of harm’s way, I turned to thank him.

He was gone.

You remember generous strangers.

You trust people who don’t expect favors in return for kindness.

You buy from people you know won’t disappoint you.

Even if they don’t have hordes of fans following them around.

Your talent is a platform for generosity

We all need to make money.

But you can’t make money from everything.

Your talent isn’t just for you, it’s for them. The people you choose to serve. The people who need your gift. Happiness comes when you make a difference for someone.

Don’t think of generosity as your “freebie”. It’s a sample. Your wisdom is valuable. Treat it that way.

Other people’s wisdom is valuable, too.

Don’t talk just talk to people. Talk with them. Get to know them. Why assume when you can observe and participate?

Then when you do have something to sell, you can fill the holes in people’s lives that bring them the most pain.

When you touch people, they’ll remember. When you help them trade negative emotions for positive ones, you’ll make a difference.

You might even change their life.

But if you make it all about you, you’ll miss this golden opportunity.

Generosity opens doors that selfishness seals shut forever.

Who will you touch today?

This article was originally published by Frank McKinley on medium.


Created by

Frank McKinley







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