I don't know about you, but I subscribe to a lot of emails, I also get a lot of emails that I don't subscribe to. Of course, they're usually just pitches saying, “Hey, buy my thing.” And then there's a followup email that says, “Hey, did you get the last email that I was trying to sell you this thing?” Then they'll send a third one, “How do I get you to respond to my email?” Well, that's because they're sending a blind email. They're not talking to me, they're talking to everybody, hoping that they're going to catch a fish.
But there's one email I get every single day that I do pay attention to, and it's usually something very profound, but some days it can be life-changing. It's by Seth Godin, who's written a lot of books, including Purple Cow. If you've never read it, I strongly suggest you do.
The one that he sent today asked a question at the end, and the question was, “If it's not helping you take action to make things better, what's it for?” And that, in a sense, is what I want to talk about today. Are you doing things that are helping your business, or are you just doing activities because you have them on your to-do list? One of the things that I find is we tend to get into habits. These habits are good when they're part of a system that is actually doing something to move your business forward.
Unlearn & Relearn
In some cases, you may have to unlearn some things, learn some new things, or change your perspective on others, but ultimately, it's up to you. So again, you have to ask yourself the question, “Is it making things better?” If not, what's it for?
Over the weekend, I got another email from Seth Godin, and this one I want to explore. It goes like this, “That story in your head, it's invented, it has to be. It might be based on some things that actually happened. The story we tell ourselves might be a useful predictor now and then, the story might even have been put there against our wishes over time, but it can't possibly be a complete and detailed understanding of everything. That's why it's a narrative. It's a shorthand, a map, not the territory. It's filled with shortcuts and misreading, a personal myth about you and your role in the world. If we find our story isn't helping us, if it's inaccurate, or distracting, or enervating, we can work to change it.” In other words, what he's saying is we are a culmination of our experiences, we've all tried and failed at certain things.
Failure & Success
Thomas Edison is famous for the light bulb. He experienced both failure and success. Some of his often quoted thoughts on success and failure include, “I have not failed, I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work,” and “Many of life's failures are people who didn't realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Too often, when people try new things, they miss or skip one or two small points that robbed them of that success. They abandoned their effort too quickly and moved on to the next bright, shiny thing that they may have just learned about yesterday.
When I'm working with coaching clients, I'm usually asked one of three questions, and they come in this form. The first one is, “How do I know that I'm getting what I'm paying for? And is it working?” The second one is, “I feel like I'm doing all the right things, but what am I missing?” And the third one is, “What one thing should I be putting my money into today?”
Let me start with the first one.
Question number one is, “How do I know what I'm paying for? And is it working?”
The answer is this, stop doing some of the things and see which one's absence affects your sales. If your sales dip because you stopped doing one thing, then start it up again. And as a matter of fact, do more of that and just do a better job at it. If they don't change, then you know it's not working and reallocate the resources to something more effective.
Question number two is, “I feel like I'm doing all the right things, but what am I missing?”
Well, chances are, you're missing a few pieces that will help you understand how to measure the effectiveness of what you're doing. You may be able to find a couple of pieces to add that would supercharge what you consider to be the right things. You just have to learn what those are.
And then the third question is, “What one thing should I be putting my money into today?”
The real question is, “Where should you be investing with your marketing?” Stockbrokers, in general, are guessing, but the better ones are selling you educated guesses unless of course, they're breaking the law with insider trading. Chances are you, and maybe your salespeople know the answers to the questions that your customers are asking. Maybe you need to ask better questions and invest in showing the world within your sphere of influence that you have better answers to those questions.
I want you to think about this for a sec. We live in a world of basic truths and principles, and you can trust these and build a successful business on that.
Business Is Easy – People Are Complex
Here's a simple one that you need to remember, business is easy people are complex. Businesses are simple. All you got to do is find a need, fill it, and charge enough, so at the end of the day you make more money than you spend. The more value you provide, the more people will pay you for that value and the more profit you will make. That's where the complexity starts because now you start to add systems and so many other things to try to make that more complex than it has to be.
When I say people are complex, they are. They may buy from you, but they have their own story in their head as Seth Godin said. They have experiences and phobias and preferences and quirks, but ultimately, they are people, you have to get them to know, like, and trust you enough to be willing to evaluate the true value of what you can provide them. And you have to convince them that you have the best option. If you earn their trust, they may even buy from you.
The same thing applies to that original quote that Seth gave us. And here's the question you have to ask, “If it's not helping your customers to take action, to make things better, then what's it for?” You have to be willing to learn and unlearn based on the things and the stories you have in your head, and you have to be able to convince them to rewrite the stories in their head. That way, you can meet in the middle and rewrite the story for both of you, hopefully in a way that ends in mutual success.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas, or questions about the things that help you take action. Are these things making your business better? What worked and what did not live up to your expectations? Do you have any ideas or advice you could share?
To learn more about this and other topics on Internet Marketing, visit our podcast website at http://www.baconpodcast.com/podcasts/