Some Interesting Sayings
I had some ideas rattling around inside my head today, so I thought I’d share them with you today. It’s funny the stuff that you collect along the way through life. It’s also funny how seemingly unrelated things can overlap as you’ll see below. Maybe it’s just my weird brain, but I think a lot of people make these odd connections, too. So here we go.
Back in college, one of my roommates majored in German language studies. He brought this little gem to my attention:
Wenn der Hund nicht geschissen hätte hätte er den Hasen gefangen
In case you’re not fluent in German, it translates as “If the dog hadn’t stopped to take a dump, he would have caught the rabbit“.
That is very apt for marketing. Taking action and not getting distracted is key to reaching your goals. Trust me, I know!
Here are 10 Steps to Stay Focused on your Goals from Lifehack. In keeping with my previous post, I’m keen on acronyms and tip #1 is to use SMART goals in order to make them attainable. And what is SMART?
Specific: Identifies clearly what you wish to accomplish
Measurable: Sets the finish line so you know when you’ve accomplished it
Attainable: Be realistic about what you can hope to accomplish. It’s good to have a big goal, but don’t fantasize.
Relevant: Your goal has to matter to you in order to be able to persevere when it looms just out of reach.
Time Bound: Set your deadline. Someday never comes but day-month-year does.
Another thing that my friend’s admonition about the dog brings to mind is being open to opportunity. Don’t be sitting in the loo when opportunity comes knocking at the front door. Opportunity rarely waits.
Fortunately, life is replete with opportunities so don’t get hung up on a missed opportunity if you’re sadly mired in SHIT (another gem from my friend Caliban Darklock at his Badass Manifesto). Lest you get the notion I’m just being potty-mouthed here, let’s go over what SHIT is:
Short-sighted: Don’t get hung up on what’s right in front of you when you have a bigger vision for your life
Helpless: Don’t feel the need to depend on others to do stuff for you. You can learn to do things or hire someone to just get it done for you.
Inadequate: Don’t compare yourself to others. You’re better at some stuff. They’re better at some stuff. Most people don’t even try.
Trivial: Don’t allow others to make you feel less than you are. You are magnificent whether you’re just getting started or hitting a stumbling block along the way. Be who you are because you ARE enough just because you’re you!
And those points remind me of something I learned in Russian class:
не стыдно не знать, а стыдно не учиться
Okay, I’m guessing you probably don’t speak Russian either. This means “It’s not a shame not to know, but it is a shame not to learn“.
I could let that stand by itself, but then this would be a really short post and where’s the fun in that? Let’s delve, shall we?
The human brain is a spectacular machine with nearly limitless capacity for learning. In most cases, the only limit is the one we put there ourselves.
Why would anyone do that? Well, coming back to the R in SMART, it’s a matter of relevancy. Is a particular fact or field of study somehow relevant to your life? Chances are a lot of them aren’t.
Do you need to know who won the World Series in 1958? If you’re a sports commentator, definitely. If you’re a sports trivia buff, probably. If you’re a Moldavian folk dancer, maybe not. It’s all a matter of perspective and of need.
So, how do you decide what’s worth learning and what’s worth hiring out?
Wow, you ask really hard questions!
What kind of guy would I be if I didn’t just muddy the waters for you? Based on what I’ve learned thus far in life and business, the answer is that you should learn EVERYTHING and hire out EVERYTHING.
Well, there’s a big ol’ chunk to chew isn’t it?
What do I mean by that? Well, when you’re just getting started and you have no budget to hire things out you pretty much need to learn how to do it yourself so it gets done. It may not be great, but at least it will be done.
Done as best you can at your current level of competency is infinitely better than not done yet perfect in your imagination. See?
Done is better than not done.
Quality is something you can come back and fix later when you’re better at doing stuff or have money to hire someone who’s better at doing that stuff.
Done is paramount.
Which leads me to my final gem of the day. This one came from an episode of Wiseguy I was watching this morning. The slippery con-man said something to the wild-eyed zealot before they took him away:
It’s never the noun. It’s always the verb. Sell.
Unfortunately, in this episode and the arc leading up to it, this guy was selling racist discord to a really grumpy audience. Just shows you can sell just about anything if you know what you’re doing. The point remains. What he said to the fellow who had been consuming his vitriol whole-heartedly was:
“It was just one more thing thing to sell… that’s all, nothing personal. I’ve been selling since I was eleven or twelve. There was this neighbor… I wound up selling them a porch swing and they didn’t even have a porch. Well, right then it was like the clouds opened up and the Good Lord looked down and said… you are a salesman. I’ve been one ever since. Doesn’t matter whether it’s fish, tires or ladies’ underwear. With me it’s never the noun. It’s always the verb. Sell.“
While it’s small consolation to the earnest young dupe, it’s a lesson for us.
It’s never the noun: What you sell is really immaterial. It’s what the audience wants to buy that matters. If you already have a product picked out (or picked for you by your sales manager), then it’s a matter of finding the audience who’s hungry for whatever that is. On the other hand, if you are faced with a conspicuously hungry audience it’s a matter of finding a supply of the thing they’re hungry for.
In the story, our wily salesman happened upon an angry racist looking for someone to blame for his misery. Instead of walking on by, he took up the man’s cause and created books, tapes, t-shirts and media appearances in order to make lots of money. He knew how to “pick the scab” and “twist the knife” to hook his audience and keep them buying more and more things. In one of the episodes, he mentioned that his tape series was going for $300. That’s a fairly hefty sum for 1988 money, but I’m guessing they modeled it after someone who was actually doing it at the time.
It’s always the verb. Sell: If you’re a sales professional, you’re set for life. That’s what our villain discovered. He learned how to say what folks want to hear in order to give them what they want to have in exchange for an inconsequential sum of money. That’s action, a verb. That’s selling.
Huh, another definition for us to ponder. No? Boy, I’m on a tear here:
Say what folks want to hear: Customize your message to make your audience happy. You can do this by being NICER because “People will do anything for those who encourage their dreams, justify their failures, allay their fears, confirm their suspicions and help them throw rocks at their enemies.“. Our despicable salesman in the show hit every single one of these points to keep people buying his books and tapes.
Give them what they want: If you can also give them what they need, that’s a bonus. What they want or think they want is what’s going to draw them in the first place. Vegetarians don’t want steak, but they do want to eat something that makes them feel fed. Feeding someone a nutritious meal is a good thing. Feeding someone a sumptuous meal is better. Feeding someone a sumptuous meal that is also highly nutritious is the best. Offer a win-win and you can’t go wrong.
Exchange an inconsequential sum of money: If you’ve gotten them to listen to your story and see the value in your goods, all you need to do is accept their money in return. Pricing is something that people consider to be tricky, and it can be. The price should reflect the value, yet leave them feeling they’ve gotten the better end of the deal. If they don’t see that much value or if they just don’t have that amount of money available, your price is too high. If you are trying to sell on value and it’s priced so low that they think it’s possibly junk, your price is too low. So, how do you find the middle ground? Ideal price is based on product value. How much time or effort are you saving someone by selling them your goods or services? Returning to our example of dinner out, how much time and effort have you saved someone in terms of shopping, cooking, skill of preparation, artistry of presentation, washing up? How much is that worth? For a PB&J, there’s a logical threshold. For a steak dinner, you could range from a Ponderosa special all the way up to a world class celebrity chef preparing kobe beef at your table. For a hungry football team on the way home from the big game, the Ponderosa may be a phenomenal value and the celebrity chef a colossal waste of time. For an executive looking to impress a big ticket client, the celebrity chef may be the start of an important evening and the Ponderosa an embarrassment that shouldn’t even be seen out the rear view mirror of the limo. Value is perceived by the customer, not defined by the salesman.
Wow, it’s amazing how we connect the dots between seemingly unrelated points in life, isn’t it? If you’re like me, and you think that you’re just a boring nobody doing nothing who has nothing to talk about, do what I just did here. Take three seemingly unconnected points in your life and see if you can make them relate to what you’re working on. You might just be surprised by what comes up. I sure am.
I hope you found this rambling bit of exploration and explanation helpful.
If you’d like to dive a bit deeper and really get your business going, I strongly recommend that you have a chat with my friend Andy Beveridge. You couldn’t meet a nicer guy. You also couldn’t meet a guy who’s more determined to help you get your business up and running in no time at all. Andy walks the walk and he can guide you on that journey as well.
How long would it take and how much more time would you waste trying to figure it out all by yourself?
How much time have you already spent and how many different products have you already bought hoping this would be the thing that gets you over the hump?
If you find yourself languishing in confusion and inexperience, take a ride on the Super Accelerator to jump start your business.
The cost-benefit ratio is thoroughly in your favor on this one.
Andy will bend over backwards to get you up and running because he’s just like me. He loves helping people just like I do.
Put his fertile mind to work for you today. You won’t regret it.
Seriously, I’m handing you Aladdin’s Lamp here. Let Andy be your magic genie.
(NB: There are a couple of affiliate links here. If you buy a hunk of kobe beef, I might be able to buy a Frappuchino from Starbucks. If you hire Andy to get your business running like a well oiled machine, he’s going to reward me for referring you. That’s business. Don’t get bent about it. The price is the same whether you buy through my link or go straight to the source.)