Once upon a marketing time, if you wanted to sell a product you went through the following process:

First, you hired a big ad agency and paid tons of money to film a commercial (which, by today’s standards would be considered very hokey). You then aired said commercial on one or more of the three major networks. Attraction marketing wasn’t even a sparkle in anyone’s eye.

Why? You had pretty good odds: those were the only three places your customers went.

Your goal was to interrupt your customer and convince them how wonderful your product was and why they needed it. Then, when they’re not looking, you shoved it down their throats, stuck the pen in their hand and moved the paper around to get a signature.

Reminds me of the wild, wild west. In fact, this approach to marketing spurred a famous line by businessman John Wanamaker, “Half of my advertising money is wasted. I just don’t know which half.

Today, you can know which half, down to the dollar. Technology has changed the face of how sales and marketing work and continues to change on a daily basis. No longer do you “interrupt” our customer’s day with an unwanted message of flashy graphics and a cheesy spokesman. It’s called attraction marketing.

But here’s the bad news: it’s no longer about you. If you want sales today, put down the six shooter and pay attention to the “new set of rules” consumers have come to expect. There are thousands of places to hang out, not just three. Your competition has increased tenfold and consumers are more savvy than ever. The old model is out, the new model is in. Here you go:

First, you start by deciding exactly who is right for you.

Avoid throwing spaghetti on a wall to see what sticks. Instead, ask, “Who would appreciate your style, your quirky habits, the way you comb your hair?” Who needs what you have? This takes some research because there are millions upon millions of candidates but once you find the right person, the rest of the process is really quite simple.

Ask your prospect for permission to go out on a first date. You do this by offering something of value. A piece of your expertise in exchange for an email seems to do the trick. Right now, you’re just looking for a micro-commitment. Brushing your teeth always helps.

But remember how smart your prospects are. They have the internet, too. They can (and do) Google search everything, including your history, associations, reputation and anything else you may have put out there (whether you meant to or not). If there’s a bad review, they’ll find it. And if so, don’t expect a kiss on the first date.

Next, you must court the prospect and make sure she is home safely at 10pm every night.

Her over-protective father will be waiting up in the living room, gun in hand. Far too many scammers out there and he’ll have none of that. Trust and authenticity have never been more important.

Courting is a slow, deliberate process that can go for months or more. You have to be patient, delivering value with each interaction by opening doors, showing up on time and doing what you say you’ll do. One micro commitment at a time.

Finally, if done correctly, the sale will be the next step whether you like it or not.

Because nothing is more natural than wanting more of something that makes your problems go away and brings you joy. It’s not a big step. It’s a baby step because the prospect has been led 90% of the way. And it took an entire team to do it well.

Attraction marketing: attract, build trust, give value and the sale is the beautiful, natural result.