When I was a little kid, shopping was a mortifying experience. While all the other kids got to shop in the “Childrens' Clothes”, I was redirected to the “Husky Department”. Let's face it… I was fat. Call it genes, lifestyle, or whatever, my parents always did their best to make me feel important and special. I was slow to run the bases in baseball, but I could hit the ball farther. I was a whale on the swimming team, but I learned to swim faster.
I remember being at Boy Scout camp. At that point I was 10 or 11 years old. My brother and sister were state champion swimmers. I was exposed to success and learned how to do it myself. In order to get the merit badge for swimming, I had to swim a mile in an open lake. Having swam a mile for years on swim team and being ridiculed by my fellow scouts, I started to take bets as to whether I would finish or not. Let's just say I could have made $100 (or 10 candy bars), I don't remember the exact bets. As I rounded the turn to the final 100 yards, I was exuberant and told the troop leader (working the row boat) of the bet. His face was puzzled for 50 yards and then said, “You have a choice to make? You can take the bets (which now I know I have never could have collected on), or you can take the merit badge and forget those bets?” With less than 50 yards to go, I took the badge. To this day I can only say that success of the badge and what it meant to my loved ones, meant more to me being right in my detractors eyes. LESSON LEARNED!
I wanted to be RIGHT more than being successful at one point… Then it clicked in!
It's hard to convince someone of the benefits of something if the fear it… swimming and water, skydiving and heights, communicating and technology. Often we can be so wrapped up as marketers, that we forget that both the business and their audience suffers from “Technophopia“. No that is not the fear of dance clubs, but a real fear. Sometimes, clients don't understand and embrace change, and they think their clients feel the same way, but that is not always the case!
Customers, or potential customers may want to please the detractors and naysayers (including themselves), when they say “I don't get or want to embrace this social media thingy!” But what they don't realize is “It's not about them, it's not about their audience and where they want THEM to be!”
Businesses do not do business with other businesses. iPhones do not do business with laptops. People do business with other people. Now realize the people that you currently do business with, then try to communicate and please them rather than trying to please others (those who are not in your corner or wheelhouse).
Three Lessons Learned
- Embrace Those Who Support You – Pay more attention to the customers that you do business with already. That does not mean ignore future or potential customers, but continue to communicate with those you serve or had served. That may mean you have to communicate on two paths, just don't ignore or forget about those who got you where you are today!
- Don't Get Distracted – Those kids who bet me were not in my corner… they were betting against me. It's real easy to hear people who say “You are not doing it right”, or “You are missing sales”, but ultimately it's up to you to do the right thing, and that means for your customers (current and future included). Choose wisely!
- Get The Badge – What is your win? Is it those who oppose your or support you? Either way, it's about what make you more relevant with your most important audience. Only YOU can determine what that is. In the case of us who provide support for others, it's up to us to help them understand that!
Maybe you have lost a few gigs over the last few weeks because you were not the right choice for the client. Then maybe the client was not the right choice for you or your business model. Were you aiming for the money or the reward?
In the long run, the badge has much more importance in my life than the potential (maybe never collectable money I may have received). Successful clients will cheer you into the finish line. Those who bet against you will be bummed when you finish!
Tell me your stories, thoughts and comments?