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Last week I talked about vulnerability in my online class.

It struck me prior to this class that we are often taught to find the pain or vulnerability in our potential clients and market to that.  We are taught to start by helping to associate people into their pain – then tell them how you will help solve that problem. Done well it undoubtedly works, whether it is the right thing for the person on the receiving end or not.

So, this is where I start to p**s off many people who train speakers; tell you they will grow your business 10x; teach you to build funnels, sales pages, trip wires that convert like crazy. Most of them demonstrate the technique perfectly while exposing your pain, your weaknesses at selling yourself, speaking, converting to sales, and if you are cringing right now because that’s you, I’m sorry. Here’s the thing, this method gets results, good results, results which convert to many sales if it is done well. How many times have you bought a course, a coaching session etc. that you neither needed or used because you got caught up in the moment?  Not just me then!

Ethics aside, the trouble with this approach is that most people don’t do it well, most people don’t spend years learning and perfecting their techniques, most people grab hold of a formula and try to make what they do fit. At the same time, they feel uncomfortable – either because they don’t know the formula too well or it doesn’t really fit with how they like to show up, or worse, it has them doing the very things they hate in others.

The result – it damages you. You look insincere or incongruous. I’m not exaggerating – your integrity is at stake here. If people are getting mixed messages, whether that’s in person, on video or in writing, they will not trust you, they will not believe in what you are selling or even saying. If it doesn’t feel right – don’t do it!

I am not saying that selling, marketing and promoting yourself is wrong or bad or even icky – it is essential. Essential, if you want to connect with your audience, your potential clients and your existing clients. What is also essential is that you connect in a manner that is honest and real for you. This, by the way, is not the same as natural and easy, you are still putting your stuff out there, you are still risking rejection, ridicule even. The difference is that you are doing it from a position of strength, of belief – if not quite in yourself yet, belief in the need for what you do, the value it brings and the way it helps people.

The power of vulnerability in business is in your vulnerability – not your clients’ vulnerability. When you can get real, when you can share what you believe, why what you do matters, how it is part of your bigger story, then people can connect with you as a human being, they are attracted by shared values, by your vision, and by a sense of belonging, of feeling genuinely understood. They know you can help them. And you, you get to stand in your own truth, and to attract exactly the people you can best serve – the same ones that are likely to be the easiest to work with and who get the most benefit from what you offer.

I see vulnerability as a real strength, there are so many things you can’t do without an element of being vulnerable. You can’t try anything new, you can’t say no, you can’t stand up for stuff you believe in, you can’t risk being different – without vulnerability you are destined to settle for the safe, the familiar, the groove you’ve already carved for yourself, probably at great personal cost.

Vulnerability allows you to grow, to take risks, to stand up for what you believe in – it’s not about being weak or needy. Most importantly, vulnerability is real, we all feel it sometimes. When you share yours appropriately for the situation and audience, of course, people will connect with you.

Genuine, honest vulnerability keeps you real and I’d say it has just as powerful an impact on people, as the scenario I described at the beginning, just that you get to keep your integrity and reputation.

Do you love what I’ve said or hate it and totally disagree with me – I’d love to hear your views in the comments below.