Let’s talk marketing. And by marketing, I mean anything about you, from your individual resume to a full international campaign for your company across mail, billboard, radio, TV, social media and websites. The communication of your message.
When working to share how great you or your business is with potential customers, do you ever think, “Surely customers want to know about how great we are and how we can help them?”
So what do most people do after they ask that? They decide to “help” others find them.
They spend lots of time and money talking about themselves. They print brochures and fliers, buy TV and radio ads, they buy ads in magazines and websites, drop-in on potential customers, and stand up in meetings and talk about… themselves.
Some do this well and are completely honest and are great! But most do this poorly… or do the pitch well but fail the follow-up delivery of value in their service or product. We’ve all seen it and we are, honestly, jaded to the pitch! Even the people that promote themselves ignore others doing the same thing!
Here are the problems with this “traditional” approach of finding quality new clients (or employers) with only offers of free lunches, resumes, fliers, fancy brochures, keychains, pens, notepads, ball caps, brochures, and such:
1) We all hear the “How Great We Are” message literally thousands of times a day. Greatest service, greatest prices, greatest people, greatest response time, blah, blah, blah….
We’ve all learned to tune these out no matter how polite people are, no matter how professional the material is, no matter how important the value is. Admit it, you don’t listen to this stuff all day long. Why would others?
2) Some people spend so much time and effort on their “How Great I Am” material, they fall in love with the material and the process.
I think this is like raising a child or a pet. Time and money is spent making it all perfect and important. And once this material is “loved”, it becomes incumbent on the “parent” to love it, protect it and defend it from those that fail to see how important it is.
With all due respect, it is now virtually impossible for these folks to consider there are other approaches… “so ‘gosh darn it’ I’m going to fight to show I’m right!” (And maybe you are right… in that case, stay the course, for you are the great exception and should value that!)
3) It is not literally remarkable. Out of billions of marketing pieces and approaches, only the tiniest percentage become noticed to the point we literally talk about them.
Is “one-in-a-billion” the odds we want to invest money in? Surprisingly “yes” for many people. Businesses invest in this every day, thousands of times, even if it is just a few dollars at a time.
4) People forget to think about the customer’s view (or the view of the partner we seek) BEFORE they have a relationship. Most make the mistake of thinking about how great the customer will see us once “they get to know us” through all the efforts we are making.
Why do potential customers want to meet you? Because you’re great? Sure you are. But your customer (or potential partner) heard that message AAAALLL DAY LONG! Honestly, they don’t have time to figure out who is great and who just has great material.
5) The customer (or partner or employer) you want is likely doing well without you. At least the great ones, the ones you really want, are doing great. That is why you want them, right?
So you are asking to be added to their team with a nice speech or useful pieces of information on a flier? The great customers (and partners) are buried in this stuff. They don’t have time to sort this out and, honestly, don’t have to sort it out.
So what should you do? BE great.
This is the ultimate message. You see, many of the great customers, partners and even employers you seek are watching what others do. They are ACTIVELY SEEKING to grow their network of success. Not all watch, but enough.
The great customers and partners typically surround themselves with great people. And they find those great folks by actively watching and remembering and by listening to those they deeply trust. Marketing material will almost NEVER interest these people.
They are “Actively Seeking”… not “Asking to be Sold.”
Think sports for instance… would you find the best players only by hearing about them or reading stats in the newspapers? Unlikely. That limited information does not reflect how well they play with others, how their current team may limit them or how their current team may make them look better than they are.
You find the best by watching them in action. From that perspective you can see the big picture and how the real players perform under pressure of “game time.”
Doris Phillips, now the president of RealSource, worked for years as a successful title insurance account executive and marketing director. She says that at the time, she did “all the things everyone else does” such as food, gift baskets, and freebies. She did them well and received orders.
However, Doris said that since that time, she has gone back to her former employer and apologized for all the money she wasted on flyers, gas, lunches and time “doing what everyone else was doing.” She says she learned that it may have gotten a few orders but it was the extra service that got the relationships.
Any client who’s orders could be “bought” with a gift would also give orders to the next person through the door with a gift. That is not a foundation for a great relationship.
Now, the “freebies” and items of appreciation were appreciated. But they were not the key to finding and KEEPING new, great clients.
In other words, the success you seek and the message you wish to share is found by continually BEING great.