A University of Northern Iowa Writing professor in the 1980’s taught his class the following outline for communicating ideas in an essay:
- Tell ’em what you want to tell ’em.
- Tell ’em.
- Tell ’em what you told ’em.
Introduction, body, and conclusion, right?
So why is it that many news stories have no conclusion? Instead, we hear the same things day after day after day, just in different formats delivered by different anchors. Is that really news? Look at “NEWS”: The base word is “NEW”. I guess it would look stupid to call it “OLDS” or “REDUNDANTS”.
Ever wonder why morning television news broadcasts a lot of the same things regardless of network? Once again, it’s taken me 49 years to figure it out. The networks get their information from essentially the same traditional resource: An upgraded version of the one Walter Cronkite used to read breaking news from at his desk.
Here’s another testament to the power of the Internet: My wife sorts and relays news that is important to both of us using a program called “TweetDeck”. Heard of it? She follows people whose worldview coincides with her own and who share the same concerns. Any time they use Twitter to communicate something that matters to them, the information is delivered to her in real time. What benefit does this provide? It filters news and allows us to reduce interruptions and distractions in our world by getting only the communication we want to get.
If newspapers are deemed obsolete, television news can’t be far behind. Perhaps that’s why anchors we used to watch are moving to YahooNews and other online platforms.
How do you decide? And what if you could reduce how many different things you needed to look at replacing because you were totally happy with what you have?
Every month I get a thousand letters or cards asking me to look at new cars, a different bank and insurance company, a new credit card, a better cable TV provider, a great vacation, or pretty much anything else you can imagine. And I’m not the only one who deposits that mail directly into the shred pile. Why?
Because the 2008 Honda Civic Si sedan is my all-time favorite car, my bank and insurance company provides unbeatable service and a mobile application that’s second-to-none, my credit cards (2) have the lowest rates in the industry, Directv may not be the cheapest, but the picture quality is fantastic, and I much prefer a “stay-cation” because flying isn’t really my thing.
What can anyone who reads this ascertain? I’m pretty happy with almost every aspect of my life. Sure, it’s taken all of 49 years to figure it out, but there aren’t many things I’d change right now. That’s why I can devote so much energy to doing what I do better so the people I help every day get more value from my service. What about you? How happy are you with your current situation?
The ability to think through every aspect of a change is both a gift and a curse. Analyze too much and the “go-getters” pass you by, sprinting out to a commanding lead. Don’t analyze enough and you’ll be running the 1600-meter hurdles instead of the 100-yard dash, stumbling over unanticipated obstacles every 5 steps.
The starting point is defined by a very fine line. In reference to a significant change in a process or organizational culture, it represents a clear balance of understanding versus being understood. The moment you sense that balance shift, pull the trigger no matter the level of competition in the field. Chances are good that you’ll break through the ribbon without noticing a single hurdle.
Chris Brogan did a post a few years ago: If I Were A Realtor . This was back when few really understood the new media rules, or better yet, had any idea of what was to come.
It’s August 2014, less than FIVE YEARS since that post was published, and the power of inbound marketing has increased exponentially across all facets of our world. In fact, if revised today, it could be titled “If I Were—-anything”
- A Restauranteur
- A Youth Sports Coach
- A School Principal
- A Car Sales Person
- A Building Materials Sales Person
- A College Graduate
What do all of these individuals have in common? They all require some form of human interaction. They all have distribution networks. They all use marketing systems that have proven to be successful over many years. Here’s the challenge: The demographics of a large percentage of consumers will be changing significantly in the next 10 years. They will be taking their parents’ place in the market for these goods and services, and will have a significant amount of wealth to fund their purchases. What they’ll also have at their disposal is something their parents weren’t as adept at using: The Internet. It has already changed how business gets done…have you adapted your sales training manuals to these changes?
An ad is currently running that requests citizens contact Congress to keep free TV instead of making people pay for it. We need to think about this for a second…If the TV we currently get subjects the public to all the things they don’t want, but get because it’s necessary to cover the costs of broadcasting, would consumers PAYING for television give them a voice? What if customers had to approve having ads? They can order Amazon Kindles without advertising, so why not this?
What if we had to go back to the old-fashioned way of doing business?
Products and people are not. A salesperson without a process is, well, unemployed. And products (solutions) can’t be identified without a process of discovery.
As few as 5 years ago, the discovery process was performed and guided by so-called “experts” within the walls of their personal domain…their office. Customers and prospects have been accepting this arrangement since the 1950’s. If you ever needed something from whichever expert handled that specific situation, the answer was always “make an appointment to meet at the office.” Is that still true today? Sometimes, but let’s think about it in more detail:
- Where do people live and work in relationship to the office?
- How much does fuel cost per gallon?
- How much spare time within regular office hours does the average person have?
- How much information do customers have at their fingertips today versus 1950?
- How many alternative ways are there to interact with their expert today?
- How tolerant or open are customers today to discussing anything that was not their idea or relative to their situation?
With these 6 questions in mind, what, exactly, are customers looking for from “experts” now and in the future?
Contractors say that a customer can’t have all three. If you want it cheap, it can be done tomorrow with substandard materials. If you want premium quality done tomorrow, you’re going to pay for overnight shipping and overtime for the 14-hour day. If you want premium quality on OUR schedule, we’ll select the highest quality materials available and we’ll fit you into our schedule when the building season slows down.
What if we’re not talking about a contractor? What if you really could have all 3 in a needs-based industry? How could that be made possible?