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  • James Pruch
The Key to Success in Business Is Simpler (and Harder) than You Think
Pink Plane that says Tell the Truth
Photo by Joël de Vriend on Unsplash.

"Just love them and tell them the truth."


That's what my mentor told me week after week when I was a pastor in a small, suburban church in Upstate New York.


Every Sunday or Tuesday or any day. During a service or at a coffee shop. Playing basketball or board games.


My job was to love people and tell them the truth.


Here's the thing about being a pastor: people expect you not to lie. Generally, for pastors, lying is frowned upon. It's actually a great strategy for people who want to stop being pastors.


(Full disclosure: lying is not why I'm a former pastor.)


What does this have to do with you and your customers?


When it comes to running a business or selling for a business or (gasp!) buying from a business, we expect lies. In fact, our culture encourages lies.


Why?


Because, like Col. Nathan Jessep told us, we can't handle the truth. We're afraid of it. If you're a business owner, doesn't it scare you half to death to think that if you tell the truth you might not make a sale...or a thousand sales?


The truth is so hard to find today. Our 24/7 news cycle (both cable news and social media) is entertainment-driven. Fueled by anger and hate, it tells people what they want to hear, not what they need to hear.


People are deceived and betrayed daily. It's a significant aspect of living in our culture.


As business owners, we think we need to play by the same rules. If it gets more clicks, what's the harm? I get it.


But we can do better.


Telling the truth is your best business strategy. And it's the simplest thing you'll ever do. You tell what you can really do. What really happened to others who worked with you. What customers will really experience with your product or service.


But simple doesn't mean easy. Telling the truth is also the hardest thing you'll ever do.


You'll always face the temptation to appeal to negative emotions to get someone to buy something. Every. Single. Day.


Fear and anxiety are powerful motivators after all. And unless stuff gets sold you don't pay rent or eat.


Yet, when you communicate what you do honestly, it's the most persuasive tool in the universe. It earns trust, respect, and lasting partnerships. Oh, it's hard now. Others seem to zoom past us rolling in the profit.


But business is a long game. In the end, it'll be worth it.


There's not a magic three-step process to this. In your copy, content, newsletters, emails--whatever you write--you just do it.


You tell the truth.


Leave the fear-mongering to the cable news stations.


You have something better to offer.