August 31, 2020 Daily Post
No, I don’t mean the kind we’re all used to receiving.
Beyond the pushy peddling of wares we don’t need.
Beyond “Hello Mr. Prospect.”
What is a value-based, help-people-move-forward, “I’m so glad you called” type of sales call, really?
In our teams, we’ve found that it’s the asking of (and helping find answers to) four questions:
#1: Where do you want to go? If you don’t know where you want to go, you can’t get there. If we don’t know where you want to go, we can’t help. Just helping to find answers to this question is, in itself, hugely valuable.
#2: Why do you want to go there? If you don’t know why you want to go there, you may find it’s not where you truly want to go… or that there are other destinations that could create equal or greater results with a fraction of the effort. Finding the answer to this question is perceived by some as a breakthrough in and of itself.
#3: How are you going to get there? If you don’t know how to get there, you may find the right path, or you may take convoluted and inefficient paths with marginalising or unethical advisors. Painting a clear, simple path to the goal is also hugely valuable.
#4: Do you want my help getting there? If you don’t, you have the path now. You’re welcome. If you want help, allow us to qualify you for either what we’ve created ourselves or prepared for you through our network of trusted partners. Either answer is acceptable, but the latter is usually more popular since it follows the 3 prior questions.
A sales call asks the right questions, creates clarity of thought, and looks for ways to move forward. None of those things are ‘pushy’ nor do they ‘peddle’.
Excited about sales calls yet?
August 30, 2020 Daily Post
Ever watched a performance of ‘Tui shou’?
You’ll find a video of two individuals practicing “push hands” tai chi, moving slowly in response to the actions of each other.
Those actions aren’t forceful, combative reactions designed to overpower an opponent. They’re complimentary, harmonising responses designed to guide a participant.
What a beautiful metaphor for marketing.
Marketing activities shouldn’t be about forceful reactions to user behaviour. Businesses and individuals engaged in marketing practices aren’t engaged in combat, yet most marketing vernacular is combative. “Who’s the ‘target’? What ‘campaign’ is active? What ‘competitive intelligence’ have you developed this month?”
Marketing activities should be about complimentary, harmonising responses designed to guide people. Helping people move from where they are, where they want to be. No force is applied, only the realignment of energy exerted by those trying to create change.
How could your marketing work be a little less combative, and a little more “Tui shou”?
August 29, 2020 Daily Post
Apparently, Warren Buffett’s favorite investment holding period is “forever.”
Does that make him patient, or stubborn?
Forever could be patiently waiting, or stubbornly holding. See what he did recently…
He sold all $7 billion of his airline stocks earlier this year, based on only a short period of new data.
Does that make him patient, or stubborn?
Stubbornness would cling to the investment because “forever is my favorite”. Patience would advocate playing the long game, even if the long game means looking at airlines again another day.
Stubbornness is often mistaken for patience.
Running a project or venture past it’s prime because of sunk costs feels like patience, but isn’t.
Abandoning a stock because it’s tanking past acceptable losses feels like a lack of patience, but it isn’t.
Every day we’re challenged to be patient about something. Make sure you’re being truly patient, and not merely stubborn.
August 28, 2020 Daily Post
How you write down your ideas matters:
If you capture ideas in Word, they will receive the structure and rigidity of straight lines and font selection, possibly before the idea is fully formed. The polish you gain dampens divergent thinking and idea development.
If you capture ideas on paper, they will receive the fluidity and flexibility of analog, no fonts or straight lines to worry about. But from total freedom comes the opportunity to leave ideas in low fidelity, never to be shared.
The right method and combination of tools for capturing – and executing upon – ideas is a personal one.
Don’t be told how to do it. But be mindful that your choice of method influences the development of your ideas and your future.
August 27, 2020 Daily Post
What (or who) is at the center of your business?
A meaningful marketing message does not have you at the center. Your team inhabits just a part of a much larger narrative. With the customer at the center and their narrative as your new world, messages become more profound.
A meaningful product or service does not have you at the center. Your customers have more problems than you could possibly solve alone. So don’t solve them alone. Be it a service you designed or one you carefully selected from elsewhere, why stop serving people just because of what you did or did not make yourself?
A meaningful work-life does not have you at the center. The gifts of contribution, creation, and making lives better far outweigh the comforts of everyone thinking you’re fabulous.
Who’s at the center of your business’ world?
August 26, 2020 Daily Post
When everything else is equal, he who connects best with a great message wins.
When your competitors run great ads too, your connection with your audience through a great message is what makes the difference.
When your competitors have a fancy website too, your connection with your audience through a great message is what makes the difference.
When your competitors have a strong salesforce too, your connection with your audience through a great message is what makes the difference.
If you (or your marketing team) are not proactively and demonstrably refining your messaging, you stand to lose to anyone who decides to do so. They have the opportunity to steal a substantial amount of your deal flow and change the landscape of your market.
Better to be the one making the shift, than the one laying victim to it.
August 25, 2020 Daily Post
Should we ask our target audience what keeps them up at night?
If they’re clear on all the problems present in their world, asking them draws us a straight-line between what they need and what we can deliver for them.
But who’s clear on all the problems present in their world, really?
Most of the time, we can ask but listen to the answers they’re unable to provide.
In doing so, we can tell their peers not only what is keeping them up at night, but what should be keeping them up at night… and then take those problems away for their benefit.
It takes a few investments into the lives of those we wish to serve, in order to unearth these deep problems. Most people don’t care enough, and so are unable to unearth them.
Pandering to the surface-level puts you in line with your competitors. Go deeper and watch your work transform your market.
August 24, 2020 Daily Post
Create, serve, make a difference. But don’t forget to protect the creator along the way:
Make great products, but once they’re great, what is left of you? Protect the creator by not burning yourself to a crisp in the heat of the “hustle”.
Give what you can to those you serve, but once their problems are solved, how do yours look? Protect the creator by not creating more problems than you solve.
Try to change the world, but once it’s changed, what becomes of you? Protect the creator by enjoying your work so that you want to show up again tomorrow.
How are you protecting the creator right now?
August 23, 2020 Daily Post
Most complex things are just lots of much simpler things, put together.
If the complex challenge standing before you were to be broken down into just 5 steps, what would they be?
Perhaps one of those steps is to simply decide to not over-complicate this.
Or perhaps one of those steps is to give it to someone with experience in solving that problem (or to find 3 people who could and pick 1).
Maybe one of the steps is to make a simple low-tech phone call or to write something down for someone to review and execute upon.
Maybe it’s to draw your idea, massaging the drawing based on what you hear on that phone call.
It’s very easy to over-complicate things. The beauty of your body of work unlikely benefits from such weight. But it might become more beautiful if you made things simpler.
August 22, 2020 Daily Post
…And you didn’t even realize it.
You don’t remember anymore, not like you used to. You used to remember information and when someone asked where you learned it, you would struggle to recall where it came from. The information was what was important, not the source.
We bookmark more, now. Bookmarks are more valuable than information, because knowing where to get the information is more valuable when the information is abundant and always in our pockets.
And so our brains adapted. Now we’re smarter not when we remember, but when we know how to access.
Imagine trying to write code without StackOverflow, following procedure without your intranet, or making a long car journey without technology.
As creators of meaningful work, being mindful of our own development helps us to be mindful of how to develop better work.
How could your brain upgrade and consolidation of resources help drive your work forward?
August 21, 2020 Daily Post
Does marketing create anxiety in you or your team?
Don’t compromise, add value:
“Cost of living is high in our area” – that’s not a problem you get to pass on to your potential customers. Don’t compromise, add value.
“Everyone else is selling more” – that’s based on perception, not reality, don’t compromise your consultative sales decisions because of it. Add value.
“We have a quota” – not the problem of those on the other end of the phone. Don’t compromise, are value.
Marketing gets dirty when you forget. It stops working when it gets dirty. Don’t compromise, add value.
August 20, 2020 Daily Post
Meet Mr. Phone.
A marvel in technology, really.
This guy is more powerful than a space rocket.
More connected than the president was 20 years ago.
He’s your primary device, your frequent focus, and one of your biggest technological investments.
What does he actually get used for?
Looking at photos of what strangers on IG are eating for lunch.
As a doer and creator of meaningful work, what could YOU use Mr. Phone for if you remembered it’s a presidential rocket machine, not merely a “phone”?
August 19, 2020 Daily Post
The way we define the problem informs how we approach its resolution:
“I have a sales problem”: Do you? Is it only objection isolation and motivating closes that is holding you back, or could it be the offer, value you bring or the connection you form (or don’t form) that is influencing your sales performance?
“I have a conversions problem”: Do you? Is it only progression point targeting and bucket testing that you require in order to solve this, or could it be the offer, the value you bring or the connection you form (or don’t form) that is influencing people’s decision to move forward with you?
“I have a churn problem”: Do you? See where this is going yet?
The more we enter the world of our audience, the more we can see the nuance of their world and that which truly influences them to change for the better.
August 18, 2020 Daily Post
Sometimes, people change their minds because of your product.
When you reveal a better way and the concerns of your market pale in comparison to the status or desire or transformation it produces, cults emerge. Think about the computer or phone you use, for instance.
But more often, people don’t change their minds because of your product.
More often, they know where they want to go and simply need a (new? better? any?) way of getting there. Where achieving that result is all the status or desire or transformation they need.
The former happens – sometimes – as a result of focusing exclusively upon the latter.
Does your marketing message and business strategy reflect that?*
August 17, 2020 Daily Post
“Follow these 14 steps to become rich”
“Use this secret Facebook hack to triple your results” Seen these marketing messages before, right?
There’s a reason for that:
The feeling of ‘order’ they provide is intoxicating. For every human brain out there. Little do many know that the pursuit for complete and eternal order in their marketing is what plummets businesses into chaos.
The reality is that the world doesn’t behave like that. We ride along in a small coupé of order, along vast interstates of chaos. Things change because people change. Things can get a bit crazy because people can get a bit crazy. That’s okay.
The greatest sense of order available to any of us pursuing meaningful work is found not in forcing the people to change but to understand how they behave so that you see the corners coming.
After all, empathy and connection aren’t about telling people they’re wrong, but being with them where they are. From a marketing perspective, which approach do you think enables more transformation in the lives of those we wish to serve?
August 16, 2020 Daily Post
Marketing can seem like a mysterious thing.
Things don’t work, until they do… and then they work, until you stop working them.
Good news! You can make it less mysterious:
#1: Stop treating it as mysterious. Doing so creates the wrong mindset, one banking on the wheel of fortune rather than on the wisdom born of a focused pursuit of those you wish to serve.
#2: Stop making it about you. See #1.
It’s only mysterious when you focus on the wrong things. Your marketing must change because your people change.
Change with them and the mystery goes away.
August 15, 2020 Daily Post
Products products products.
Lifestyle lifestyle lifestyle.
Offers offers offers.
Scroll through most social media feeds, this is what we see.
Where did all the humans go?
We want to see you. The real you, what you believe in that we believe in too. What you’re for (and against) that we can get behind.
We want to see ourselves. The real us, showing us that you’ve done your homework. What we’re faced with and where we’re going, that you can help lead us toward.
Perhaps most social feeds seem shallow because most people seem shallow.
Or perhaps they’re just afraid to reveal themselves.
Perhaps it’s time to stop hiding and lead.
August 14, 2020 Daily Post
Social distancing is an interesting opportunity for people doing meaningful work…on location.
Many conversations sprung up online asking what to do, such as this one where an individual has a partner who may have contracted COVID:
“We’re booked 9 days out with jobs, do I just cancel/reschedule all these if I’m positive? Not sure what to do in this situation.”
We can use opportunities like these to benefit short-term or long-term, but not both.
Which narrative do we tell?
Option 1: You revere your client and consider the responsibility of their care to be of utmost importance. You won’t put them at risk, even when it puts you at a disadvantage. People choose you because you’ve elevated yourself above your competitors in ways they haven’t yet been able to articulate (and if the opportunity were to arise, it is as yet unclear how they’d respond).
Option 2: You risk their health, but you get paid, today. They may or may contract the virus too, and they may or may not blame you for it.
We get to choose.
Our choices will be recognized and remembered by our clients.
The decisions you make today may not be COVID-serious. But our decisions matter: which route do you take, the one that benefits everyone long-term, or the one that benefits you short-term?
August 13, 2020 Daily Post
When we (really) move our work from Product-focused to Customer-focused, we go through massive “IDK” (“I don’t know”).
We don’t know what to do, for a moment. Because our product and marketing roadmaps were based entirely upon what we want to do, what we want to achieve.
We don’t know what to feel, for a moment. Because our affections had been with our work, our craft, our vision for ourselves… rather than our audience, their needs, and their vision for themselves.
Then the world explodes, in size. We realize how much nuance and detail exists in their word that we’d not appreciated before. Why they behave as they do, what their ambitions are, and why. The deeper we go, the more we experience.
This is true of every type of customer we pursue.
If you don’t believe it, you’ve not gone deep enough.
Did the world explode for you yet?
August 12, 2020 Daily Post
“Go broad and serve everyone, they all need you!”
No, they don’t.
Not if you’re going to miss the vastness of their world, and how intricate each part of it is.
When we go for everyone, it’s like judging a state by its interstate.
For example, our creative team does a lot with legal businesses. What they need is different to what healthcare companies need, so the services, offers and goals all differ massively. Furthermore, not all legal businesses are the same. Small sole proprietorships in one sector have totally different needs, strengths and weaknesses than multi-focus, multi-location practices do.
The world of your target market is vast. You just need eyes to see.
August 11, 2020 Daily Post
Do you test things in your marketing?
Everything you say and test is your brand. Whether it succeeds or fails, some of us will remember you by what you said when you tried out that new thing.
Marketing testing isn’t for finding a better version of your future self, but to find a better way of connecting with your people.
It’s a conversation, one where you hand your best customers a cup of tea and ask, “So tell me something about yourself I don’t know.”
It’s not one where you hand your best customers a test tube and ask, “Drink this, I want to see what happens when you do.”
Which type of testing has YOUR business been doing lately?
August 10, 2020 Daily Post
Meet The Narrator.
The Narrator is one of the voices inside the heads of a very select few entrepreneurs, business leaders, and marketers.
He’s the voice that advocates for those you wish to serve, employing tactics and techniques designed to realign everything you do toward their world.
He dissuades us all from falling in love with ebooks and up-sells, instead advocating that those same affections be directed toward our people, so we can understand and serve them better.
Hearing this voice is rare. Following this voice is rarer.
The Narrator isn’t about the glory, but the transformation possible for those who listen, and for those who listen to those who listen.
We should all try to listen to The Narrator a little more often.
August 09, 2020 Daily Post
Mort’s one of the voices inside the minds of many digital marketers and self-proclaimed internet millionaires.
He’s the voice that advocates following all the “best practices” and dark patterns available in the digital marketing toolkit, never missing an opportunity to capture a lead or up-sell a funnel order.
He’s got an eBook about how you too can become rich, available for $47 during his limited time offers.
Following this voice doesn’t necessarily help people solve their problems; he’d argue that selling untested information that may or may not help the recipient is just a reality of business.
Mort’s all about Mort, and how Mort can get ahead.
Don’t be like Mort.
August 08, 2020 Daily Post
We all have them: mental modals are shortcuts we design for prompt, patterned reasoning.
Anne-Laure Le Cunff challenges our mental models by asserting we should look for reliability and validity:
“When it comes to mental models, questioning the validity of a mental model is equivalent to asking yourself: is this the right mental model for the situation? There are many mental models, and it may be that you apply the margin of safety mental model, when really you should be paying attention to your illusion of control.”
This applies to your body of work, and even your body.
If we’re tired midday, we want sugary treats. Our brains tell us we’re low on energy and that treats address this for us. Makes sense. Could be anything – a nap perhaps – but sugary treats is a familiar route so it pursues that.
If the economy gets shaky and we’re less sure of certain revenue, our brains tell us we protect our team by spending less of what we have. Makes sense… doesn’t it?
Not so fast.
If everyone contracts, the market contracts, and we all suffer. If many contracts but we don’t, we gain outsized exposure opportunity thanks to less competition (because others have the above mental model).
If everyone hunkers down, but you’re the only one out there continually spending time with those you wish to serve, that connection will guide your path – you may even encounter new problems to solve during these difficult times!
The reliable and valid answer to times of uncertainty is to create certainty not by contracting, but by pursuing your people with equal or greater fervor and empathy than you would when times are good.
What mental models do you hold that ought to be revised?
August 07, 2020 Daily Post
Great products don’t seem to require a silver tongue to sell, do they?
Their value is clearly understood by their target market. Perhaps the product is obviously superior from first glance. Rarely is this the case.
More often, the product designer has spent time getting to know those the product was designed for, learned of their pains, solved them, then told them about it.
The connection between problem and solution has no space between them. Isn’t this what makes a product great for someone?
Bad products, on the other hand, need all manner of smooth moves to peddle toward unsuspecting victims. Either because the product is bad, or because the product designer spent no time learning what those it’s designed for actually need. Oh wait, that makes it a bad product, too!
August 06, 2020 Daily Post
Try learning things on a “need to learn” basis.
When you “need to** know”, you probably don’t need to know, do you? You just **want to know.
But what does the knowing amount to?
You’ll have to learn how to apply it as soon as you know it, so might as well learn things on a need to learn basis instead.
That saves you from the wasted hours or evenings “researching” things that don’t impact the week. Or “preparing” for things you don’t yet need to prepare for.
It focuses you on moving the tasks at hand, making progress every day toward the goals we’ve set that matter.
Isn’t that what the learning was for in the first place?
August 05, 2020 Daily Post
If you understand it, you can draw it.
Your idea. What does it look like? If you can’t draw it, you don’t get understand it. Until it can take form, you can’t shape that form into anything.
Your product development. What does it look like? When our team worked on defining narrative structures to help brands connect with their audiences, the work wasn’t done until it could be drawn, simply and plainly.
Your vision for the future of your work. What does it look like?
Draw it for me.
August 04, 2020 Daily Post
No, it’s not annoying, if done correctly:
If you didn’t message your spouse again that one time after you first met, perhaps you’d never have gotten together.
If you didn’t call your sales prospect again that time after you’d sent them an email full of lovely goodies, perhaps they’d never have been able to benefit from your gift.
If you didn’t offer to solve that problem for that person or company even though they hadn’t asked, perhaps they’d still have that problem. Or worse, they’d have paid twice as much for half a solution.
Sales and marketing should include the gift of pursuit. Not harassment and stalker-tracking and wearing people down…but don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater here: the gift of pursuit is a noble pursuit and a wonderful gift.
August 03, 2020 Daily Post
For businesses that run primarily online, there is no pandemic.
Do you run online advertising? More people are online…
Do you send direct mail? Everyone’s at home near their mailbox, likely able to answer the door to the mailman…
Do you sell products or services? People probably have more time to hear you out than usual…
People are scared of what the future holds, but they always have been…
The pandemic is mental, for businesses doing meaningful work. The cure is to bring your best self and your best work to those who need it.
August 02, 2020 Daily Post
It’s rare, dignified marketing.
“Buy this course to change your life instantly” is a fib, isn’t it. Buying courses and attending webinars does not create progress. Helping people makes progress. Helping people how they want to be helped makes even more.
“Learn how to create a $xxxx product that practically sells itself” is destined for failure. Starting with your desires – when your desires aren’t aligned with your market’s – leads only to tears.
Morally bankrupt pursuits of other people’s wallets lead only to financially bankrupt entrepreneurs, eventually.
Create something the world needs. Serve lavishly upon your chosen people. It all starts with them.
August 01, 2020 Daily Post
It’s not cold email that’s the problem.
Or retargeting ads, or salespeople calling you on the phone, or direct mail in your postbox.
The problem is value-less, care-less, self-absorbed nature by which these channels are utilised by the vast majority of businesses.
The short-term solution is to cut off such activities, apply to DoNotCall lists, and throw all full-colour mail straight in the garbage. But it’s not a long-term solution, is it?
We love receiving gifts in the mail. We love reading thoughtful messages from thoughtful people. We love calls that make our day. We love buying things that help us move forward in business and in life.
The difference is focus: is it about you, or is it about them? Is it sent because of the story you’re telling yourself, or because you want them to receive it as part of the story they’re telling themselves?
Be a part of the solution.