In every marketing presentation for thirty years, my opening theme is the same: tell me how you build, update and use your customer lists and I’ll tell you how efficient and effective your marketing can be.
Said simply, what we say doesn’t count until we are talking to the right people.
Ideas, silver bullets, clever words, cool visuals, breakthrough strategies, even irresistible offers don’t mean a thing until they are exposed to the people who can buy your product.
If you’re not talking to or targeting the right people, everything else you do will be less effective and efficient. And yet marketing, advertising and salespeople persist in the practice of spray and pray.
It occurred to me that this applies to another, more important aspect of my life. That is, who I am talking to in hopes of resolving issues.
If I’m having trouble with my wife, am I talking about my issues with friends and bystanders? The honest answer is – usually.
Why am I not talking to Alice?
Similarly, at work, If I’m having difficulties with my boss, am I talking to my co-workers, my wife, sympathetic friends?
I should be bringing up my issues directly with my boss.
But just like marketing, advertising and salespeople who hate the dreary and fearful job of identifying their best customers to target, we tend to work around the issue instead of hitting it head on.
And the same ineffective, inefficient and hopeless spraying rarely hits its target. Hoping Alice might understand me better by talking to my friends, when I think about it makes me feel foolish.
Further, when I take my issues directly to the person/audience, they may tell me how to improve my product. Each of us has wants and needs in a relationship and listening improves our chance for long lasting success.
I read a marvelous book years ago titled “Fierce Conversations”, by Susan Scott. It opened my eyes to how much my life is affected by conflict avoidance. I’m a people pleaser, first last and always.
Author Scott says I’m hiding behind myself instead of confronting, bravely and lovingly, the person who needs to hear my voice, and may want to voice their concerns in return.
Getting your message in front of people who use products or services like yours will improve your chances of selling your product. Getting your message in front of thousands of others is far less likely to be helpful.
Identifying the source of an issue and having fierce conversations to improve relationships is always harder than talking to everyone around the situation hoping the issue will get resolved.
I’m learning to identify the source and go directly to it.