From Charlie (a fellow member of a business/marketing group I belong to): “About 18 months ago, I told you about a friend of mine, Jim, who went from being an absolute zero in terms of marketing to being named ‘Marketer of the Year’ at his company after only 8 months. I was glad to assist him, introducing him to the basics of our style of marketing. While Jim’s success story was what we like, the past 12 months’ story may be more instructive if less pleasant. About a year ago, response went down from his mailings and Jim got discouraged. He told me that “this ‘new’ kind of marketing” just wasn’t working anymore. I kew this couldn’t be since this ‘new’ marketing has been working for over 100 years. So I probed, to find how quick success turned to failure:
1. Not watching the results. Jim did so well initially he just assumed it would all keep working as it did at first, and didn’t watch the numbers. The numbers told of the need to tweak things, but…
2. Lazy. He stopped at doing only one or two things. Kept using the same two mail pieces until they got stale. Added no ‘touches’, no fence building, nothing except overt asking for business.
3. Cheap. I told Jim that as a friend I would help him get started but that he MUST do the following: join our business group, read the books, etc. – list provided, and invest in his continuing education. He did none of this. Didn’t even read the books I loaned him. He cited ‘time and costs.’ He has thrown away the ability to keep bringing in 6-figures annually and would up right back where he started from. “
My thoughts: I am thankful I never squandered opportunities as Jim did and so many do. Loaned a book, I read it. Told of one, I went and got it. But beyond that I knocked down doors, made a pest of myself, invested money that—at the beginning—I did not have to get knowledge. Charlie has seen in Jim three of about five or six bad behaviors that keep most people decidedly mediocre. It happens all the time. They have very unrealistic expectations about how successful they ought to be in exchange for doing something once but then not continuing to work on it. As if buying a tractor should itself provide the yearly harvest. Not only do you need to actually use the tractor, you better change its oil now and then, sharpen the blades on its tiller, maintain it. And keep looking for better ways of using it. Sophisticated soil analysis so you fertilize each square yard differently based on need rather than using the same fertilizer over the whole farm, evaluating that harvest, making adjustments to improve the next. You can’t be cheap about maintenance of your own attitudes and aptitudes either. It’s common for people to have some early success, doing SOME thing, maybe two, but then stop there. But lazy is the worst. Reading through a newsletter I got a great line: “You have no right to anything you have not pursued.” Big. Ought to be the answer to every entitlement scheme of government, every request for hand-out or help made of you as it becomes evident you are thriving—by your lazy relative, etc. Amongst the lessons Charlie has hopefully learned from his Jim experience: the futility of dispensing free advice.