I bet no one’s ever asked you that question before! If you’re looking to influence change in yourself or in anyone else, knowing the difference makes ALL the difference in the world.
As spiritualpreneurs, you and I are definitely change-agents.
Listen to this short audio (5 minutes, 53 seconds) I recorded to discover which one you are — Rock or Bird — and its implications for creating change that is natural, easy, and (nearly) effortless.
When you do, you’ll get a valuable free audio-gift to support what you’re up to right away.
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Image by Juan Tello, used with permission under a Creative Commons License
Halloween has never been a truly scary holiday to me.
For one thing, it’s my mom’s birthday, and that’s not very scary
(Happy Birthday, Mom!)
While running errands around town, whether for business or pleasure, it dawned on me that the way people were dressed for Halloween is basically what I see every day in this crazy “Keep Portland Weird” town I live in.
So, no, Halloween isn’t very scary.
Or, even as creative as other get-ups I see walking down the streets every day. LOL
There are situations in which solopreneurs, service providers, and others who inspire and/or heal for a living may find themselves that are definitely scarier than Halloween:
You’re working hard, putting in lots of hours in your business and reaching out to prospects, but no one’s biting
You keep having to explain what it is you do, and still people aren’t getting why they or anyone else need what you offer
Sometimes you ‘get lucky’ and hit a hot streak, but it’s the inconsistency, feast-or-famine cycle that’s getting to you
You go to networking events or leads groups, but you aren’t getting any referrals
You’re thinking you might have to go out and get a “real” job if things don’t pick up soon
You’re feeling desperate because you’re running out of ideas of what to do next to get the cash register to ring
You’re trying to keep your cool, but you feel powerless to (completely) hide your frustration
Not very fun.
It definitely doesn’t feel very good.
And, you’re definitely not alone.
If this resonates with you, and you are struggling in the areas of client attraction or sales, it would be my pleasure to be your sales success partner. Just fill out this short application to experience a Better-Than-Free Consultation with me. Just for filling out the application, I will send you a valuable gift that will begin supporting you right away.
The truth is, you CAN make a profit AND make a difference consistently in your life and in the lives of prospects and clients you are meant to serve.
Together, let’s leave the scariness of Halloween and put your current business results back in the nightmares of yesteryear where they belong.
* * * Important Caveat: Just a quick note that I do my best work with service-based businesses, specifically healers, bodyworkers, and yogis. If you fit in one of these categories, you will receive the most value from a Better-Than-Free Coaching Consultation (and from the audio gift you receive when you submit your application).
You’ve all heard it before: To create more abundance in our life, cultivating gratitude for what we already have is key.
I believe this is true.
But, for many grateful people who make it a daily (perhaps many times a day) practice to express gratitude for what they have and what they experience find that more abundance eludes them.
For some, frustration is so great they’ve decided all this Law of Attraction stuff is a bunch of huey and — while they are grateful – they don’t give much thought to how it may or may not improve their lot in life or in their work.
I think this is because their “vibe” is all kinked up. Their circuits have gone all haywire, such that their inherent magnetic ability to attract the clients and business they want is flowing in the wrong direction.
Some years ago, I attended a Manifestation Workshop. The facilitator gave a short talk on what Manifestation is, including action steps to deliberately creating what you want in your life or work.
One of the action steps was to cultivate and practice an attitude of gratitude.
In this context, the facilitator asked whether each of us believed we were abundant. One participant mentioned that she did AND she didn’t; she was ambivalent.
The facilitator offered the thought that if we compared ourselves to Kings who lived even a few hundred years ago, we are far more wealthy and abundant than they. For example, we can drive a chariot at speeds of over a hundred miles per hour without a horse and we can travel to virtually any place on Earth within a day’s span.
These comparisons are accurate. We are wealthier than past civilizations.
And yet, comparisons like these just might be the reason why the “Gratitude Vibe” is often kinked.
Remember when a parent told you to eat everything on your plate because there were children in Africa who were starving?
Or, perhaps you were repeatedly exposed to images of the children with bloated stomachs that you could prevent from malnutrition with just 5 cents a day, a sum you earn in 10 minutes that takes a father in the far reaches of China 2 weeks to make?
How did these messages make you feel?
Or, if they did, the gratitude was mixed up with shame and/or guilt because your bounty meant that someone else lacked. Your abundance meant someone else went without.
How can feelings of joy and abundance flow freely and without restraint when guilt and shame are constant companions?
I was even reading a Law of Attraction Coach’s blog that offered the advice to “Acknowledge that some people don’t even have half of what you do.”
In what way is that conducive to an attitude of gratitude? It’s no wonder people have such a challenge with abundance and an abundance mentality.
Pure, untainted gratitude might go something like this:
“I am SO grateful for these strawberries I’m eating. They are SO sweet and delicious. I love the soft texture and slight crunchiness of the little seeds as I bite down. It’s the taste of summer and it’s amazing. What a special treat.”
This is a simple example, but the point is that gratitude for the strawberry has nothing to do with someone else not enjoying a strawberry. Pure gratitude has to do with what’s happening in the moment, and is grounded in the belief that whatever joy you have or are experiencing is inherently yours. What others have or don’t have doesn’t enter the equation.
Religions of the world teach prayer as a way to invoke the emotion of gratitude. But even prayer can be rendered useless if it is simply rote repetition or performed out of a sense of obligation.
Where’s the joy in that?
Besides, the notion that for one person to have abundance another has to have lack is an illusion.
I think of Michael Talbot’s argument for a holographic model of The Universe. In this model, all that exists in the world is inexhaustible and cannot be depleted – even when it is divided.
Discussion of this is clearly beyond the scope of this short article, but an example of this model is that if a hologram of a flower is cut in half, each half will still be found to contain the entire image of the flower.
In turn, if each of the two halves are themselves cut in half, each of the resultant parts will possess the same information as the original whole. They themselves are whole, intact versions of the original.
According to Michael Talbot, our entire Universe (and everything in it) is a hologram.
Assuming this is true, it’s absurd the notion that to be grateful is to acknowledge that others go without as a direct consequence of us not going without.
Concern for others and assisting them as we are able are important — essential, even. And, being grateful doesn’t carry with it condition or justification or contingencies.
Only then, free of binding shackles of obligation or guilt or shame, can we allow abundance to flow to us unencumbered with senseless reasonings and worry.
What do you think of that assessment of Gratitude? Can you relate?
Do you have a different definition that works for you?
You’ve probably heard the concept behind the words “Act as if.”
It’s the idea that if you want to have, do, or be something that isn’t currently in your experience, then “act” the part and you will increase the likelihood of that apparent vacuum being filled with the thing you desire.
You may have even read or heard stories of people with health challenges or lack of experience in a certain area who, through the power of “Act as if,” manifested good health and excellent skill sets in those areas.
About this very thing, the American psychologist and philosopher, William James, is quoted as advising “If you want a quality, act as if you already had it.”
That’s all well and good if you are Tony Robbins or some other famous self-made figure who has created success for him- or herself, but what about regular Jane Yoga Instructor or Joe Massage Therapist or Becky EFT Practitioner who is trying to wrap their mind around what seems to amount to ‘faking it till you make it’?
Stories of those who beat all odds and pull themselves up by their own bootstraps are inspiring, to be sure, but just because someone says “If I can do it, you can do it,” doesn’t necessarily make you feel any better when you’re in the trenches struggling.
Since heart-based sales professionals hold authenticity as a high value, anything that smells phony or fake isn’t very attractive.
And, “Act As If” does indeed look and feel phony if you are BEING phony. But, that’s a misunderstanding — in my view — of what “Act As If” really means.
To really invoke the power of “Act As If,” my suggestion is to borrow real memories that evoke real emotions from past experiences to support you right now in the present moment.
Here’s an example:
Suppose you want to be an accomplished public speaker. You’ve taken classes, perhaps joined your local Toastmasters, and have a list of topics and outlines that you can speak on.
The only problem is you are afraid of public speaking.
What quality or qualities would you need to possess in order to reduce or eliminate the fear of speaking in public?
“Confidence,” is one quality you might be thinking of. So, when in your life did you feel absolutely confident?
It doesn’t have to have anything to do with public speaking, or even remotely related. Maybe you drew a picture in kindergarten or you learned to ride a bicycle or your father told you how proud he was of you.
Maybe it was something else that someone else may think inconsequential, but for you, it was a singularly confident moment.
How were you breathing? How did you stand in that moment of pure confidence? What was the temperature like? What were you thinking? What were people saying to you? How were you feeeeeling?
Write it all down, if you like. Or, record the narrative of the memory with full feeling into your computer.
The key is to borrow that memory, remember the moment and its associated emotion. In this case, “confidence” is that emotion, though there are probably other equally empowering sensations and emotions residing side-by-side in that memory.
Allow yourself to use the memory to evoke the feelings now, for theme to show up in your experience now.
This is what’s meant by “Acting As If.” You are borrowing from the past when you actually experienced the quality you require now, and then transferring that magical moment to a new context.
When you add same physicality, breathing rhythms, posture, and ways of thinking to the emotion-filled memory, you cannot help but respond correspondingly as an empowered (nearly-)fearless public speaker.
So, using that same process, what are qualities that you need to be a magnetic entrepreneur who easily attracts perfect clients?
Confidence in this context is certainly one quality. A few others might include Perseverance, Empathy, Quality-Driven, Focused, Enthusiastic, Trust-Worthy, Collaborative, Purposeful, Organized.
You can come up with many more that may be similar or quite different that these I’ve listed.
When in you life did you exhibit Perseverance? Enthusiasm? Organization?
The point is you already possess what you need to be successful, however you define success. Sure, there may be specific skill sets that you might need to learn, nurture, hone.
However, it should be noted that those who know all the lead-in questions, sales techniques, objection stoppers, and other slick tricks of the trade are not usually the top sales producers. At least, not in the long-term.
The best listeners and the best givers win the prize in the end.
And, you already know how to listen and give.
If you don’t think you do, borrow a powerful emotion-filled memory from your past and “Act As If”!
How will you use this “Act As If” strategy in your business?
When have you successfully used it before?
Join the 30-Day Gratitude Challenge, and you and I will “Act As If” together. Fun!
In a previous article, I shared Wendy Weiss’ expose of Cold Calling Myths, myths that I realized I myself had believed.
She calls these myths “Insidious” because they stand in the way of sales success that otherwise would be easy, if they were replaced with more empowering beliefs about what cold calling is and how to effectively engage it.
It was refreshing to know that, at least how cold calling is taught be Wendy Weiss, a sales professional doesn’t have to resort to sleazy tricks to get people to buy from them.
As we all know, tricks magnetically REPEL prospects rather then ATTRACT them to you.
Put another way by Wendy Weiss: ”Without a prospect’s attention and agreement, you will not close the sale.”
So how do you get the prospect’s attention and agreement?
Wendy says it’s by applying the following 5 Keys to Successful Prospecting.
Here they are (filtered through the notes I took from her recent webinar on this topic):
- Belief. Wendy offered that what we believe informs our actions (what we do or don’t do) and those actions affect our results. Then, she asked “If you believed your prospects want to talk with you, how would that affect your actions and your results?”In whatever we are doing, we need to cultivate beliefs that support our ability to be successful. The truth-value of the belief really doesn’t matter.Under this Rule #1, Wendy admitted that “cold calling” is a loaded term.
So, perhaps calling it something else that feels better — like “Introductory Calling” or “Networking” — may be a strategy that supports your ability to be successful.
- Speaking to the Right People. Wendy pointedly advised: ”Stop running around chasing people who will never buy from you.” You do this by defining who your target market is by creating an Ideal Customer Profile, along with concrete Qualifying Parameters.My friend, the best-selling author and business consultant/coach Michael Port calls these qualifying parameters “Your Red Velvet Rope Policy.” It’s exclusive because only certain people are permitted access because you’re clear about who you serve best.
Asks Wendy, “Who are your best prospects? Who are likely to buy from you? Who are likely to buy a lot from you? Who are likely to come back to buy some more?”
This high-level sorting allows you to look for the people who are looking for you. ”If you’re not’ speaking to a qualified prospect, they are not going to buy from you.” The benefits of targeting are:
=> It identifies real buyers,
=> You stop desperately chasing prospects,
=> You stop wasting time with prospects who will never buy,
=> You identify and deal with “red flags,”
=> You shorten your sales cycle.
- Knowing what to say/Skill. Wendy calls cold calling a communication skill, where you need to learn how to always lead with the value the prospect wants and needs.Other cold calling skills include learning how to deal with objections before anyone makes them, knowing what to say to a gatekeeper, and using voice mail messages effectively, to name a few. Not knowing what to say is probably the #1 thing that stops sales professionals in their tracks.
- Having a specific process/Best Practices. Having a process allows for consistency, predictability, the ability to measure results, and the ability to improve results.Examples of cold calling situations that need a specific, repeatable process include answers to questions like:
What’s the best way to pursue a prospect on a cold call? from a referral? from a networking event? from a known contact?How many times do I call a prospect?
If I get the answering machine, am I going to leave a voice mail? If so, what am I going to say?
Am I going to send an email? If so, what am I going to say in the email?
Since most sales professionals make these decisions on the fly, they either shy away from engaging the prospect or are highly ineffective. Having a “Best Practices” process eliminates guess work and you don’t have to think about what to say or do.
- Taking action. ”Belief without Action is Daydreaming.” Here’s how to get into action:=> 1) Set an appointment with yourself when you are going to prospect. Put it in your calendar.
=>Get a calling buddy or accountability partner. Regularly check in with each other.
=> Reward yourself for taking action.
=> Take the focus off of the result. Know that if you are taking the right action consistently, the results will happen.
=> Enroll in Wendy’s Cold Calling College! Wendy periodically offers classes. You can find out when they are, as well as access her other free and fee-based offerings at www.WendyWeiss.com.
One of the biggest take-aways for me from these 5 Prospecting Success Tips is that they all apply to both inbound and outbound marketing efforts.
Whether you decide to add cold calling to your marketing efforts or not, in whatever we are doing, if the focus is on cultivating beliefs that support success, getting clear on who our Ideal Client/Target Market is, honing and improving our communication skills, developing and improving our specific Best Practices and processes, and taking action, we will naturally continue to fill our pipeline with just the right people who want and need what we have to offer.
So, how are you going to use these tips to improve your prospecting, client-attraction efforts?
What’s the very next step for you to implement them?
Can I be really honest with you?
I’ve had an aversion to even the phrase “Cold Calling,” so naturally, I haven’t historically been interested in anything anyone has had to say on the subject. BUT, as I have mentioned on before, something compelled me to read several articles authored by Wendy Weiss’ (the Queen of Cold Calling), one of which so impressed me that it formed the basis of a blog article I wrote, titled How to nip cold calling mistakes in the bud.
Following that, somehow I stumbled across a webinar Wendy was going to give just 24 hours before it was to happen. It was called ” How to Sell Your Way Out of a Sales Slump.” I signed up, and to my surprise, Wendy completely transformed my perception of what cold calling is.
Before I share with you what Wendy called “Insidious Myths of Cold Calling,” on the webinar, she acknowledged that the phrase “Cold Calling” is itself a loaded term.
“Call it something else, if that supports your ability to be successful.” An example might be referring to Cold Calling as “Introductory Calling” or even “Networking.”
Isn’t that a great response?
Sometimes a simple name change makes all the difference in the world. But, what if you (like me) had an incorrect understanding of what Cold Calling is in the first place?
Wendy Weiss address 4 specific Cold Calling Myths right upfront:
Myth #1: “Cold Calling is a Numbers Game.” Of course you have to dial the phone to talk to prospects, but simply calling anyone with a pulse is not an effective use of anyone’s time or effort.
Myth #2: “Open Up the Phone Book and Start Making Calls.” No wonder people hate cold calling! Like Myth #1, blinding calling random people in the phone book is a recipe for disaster and is neither efficient, nor sustainable.
Myth #3: “You have to go through the Nos and the hang-ups until someone finally says Yes.” Talk about demoralizing! This is also the “Numbers Game” mentality, which positions you as a telemarketer rather than a professional.
Myth #4: “You have to practice rebuttals because prospects just want to get you off the phone.” Cold Calling is a skill set that can be mastered, and that skill set is about saying the right thing so that people say “Yes,” not about knowing what to say when people say “No.”
What a load off to finally debunk these myths about cold calling!
And when you come to think about it, attending a networking meeting and going up to a perfect stranger to introduce yourself is something of a “cold call.”
In fact, Wendy says that the same communication skills that are necessary for success with other forms of prospecting are also needed when using cold calling as a prospecting strategy. In all cases, these skills require learning and practice.
So, why would I choose cold calling over other prospecting methods?
Well, if you are using other prospecting methods and are consistently getting qualified leads and prospects, then you absolutely should continue doing what is working.
And, it’s important that all businesses should have multiple points of entry and ways for people to experience what we have to offer them. Wendy Weiss offers an additional perspective on Cold Calling versus other prospecting methods.
Most marketing, she observes, is “inbound.” That is, it depends on the prospects themselves getting in touch with you rather than the other way around. This makes tactics like referral marketing, advertising, networking, and Web 2.0 activities (as they are typically practiced) inherently passive because you have to wait for someone to do something.
Cold Calling is active marketing because you go to the prospect to invite them to have a meeting with you.
How do you do this successfully, in a way that feels magnetic, authentic, and fun?
Wendy Weiss offered 5 Keys to Successful Prospecting with Cold Calling on the webinar. Unfortunately, she didn’t make available a recording, but fortunately, I took good notes!
In a future blog entry, I will share her 5 Keys to Successful Prospecting with you so that you can begin putting the ideas to use. They will support you whether you decide to adopt cold calling as a new marketing strategy or if you simply want to improve the rate of success of your existing marketing.
You’ll be happy to know the 5 Keys apply powerfully to both inbound and outbound methods of filling your prospect pipeline.
Does this discussion alter your perspective on Cold Calling?
How might letting go of these Cold Calling Myths improve your success with other marketing methods you may be using, or that you are considering using?
Cold calling? Why would anyone want to do that?
I hear you.
In the traditional, most strict sense of the word, cold calling holds no appeal to me, so it really has not been in my personal marketing toolbox.
Even so, one real estate agent I know built his entire business and went on to become Rookie of the Year his first year as an agent strictly by cold calling. Clearly, it works.
Not exactly my I idea of fun, though.
BUT, since “Wendy The Queen of Cold Calling Weiss” has such a provocative moniker, I was persuaded to give the article I want to share with you another, closer look.
Wendy definitely knows her stuff.
Her article I stumbled upon in December 2007 is called The Top 10 Cold Calling Mistakes, and I think I can safely say that all of the mistakes she enumerates stem from not having a clear, specific, definable strategy before you even pick up the phone (whether or not the prospect is a true ‘cold call’).
In Wendy’s words:
“When you hang up the phone, where do you want to be? What action do you want your prospect to take? What commitment do you want your prospect to make?”
Without a specific goal, the cold caller sets themselves up for failure. The article is a great read. Here are Wendy’s Top 10 Cold Calling Mistakes (You’ll have to read her whole article to get all the juicy details):
- Not understanding the goal of the call
- Sending literature when you don’t have to
- Poor telephone etiquette
- Poor listening skills
- Projecting your fears onto the prospect
- Inadequate or nonexistent questioning
- Poor or no preparation
- Not asking for what you want
- Creating objections where none existed
- Not leading with the value
What do you think?
How would the elimination of these mistakes influence how you approach/view Cold Calling?
“When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”
– attributed to Abraham Lincoln
(but who really knows? LOL)
I know many of your reading this are struggling in your business.
You have a service that can really help people to improve the quality of their lives.
You’re working hard.
Because you are not seeing fruit from your labors, you are naturally discouraged. Maybe you start to wonder whether this selling thing is really your thing.
Maybe you just aren’t cut out to be an entrepreneur.
Yes, we get discouraged, depressed.
But, don’t lose heart!
We need you to keep on keepin’ on. The people you are meant to serve are looking for you, even if right now it doesn’t feel like it.
“The darkest hour is just before the dawn.”
Several years ago, I was talking with my sister about the exercise program and healthy-eating plan she had just begun.
She was getting discouraged because she wasn’t seeing any real progress on the scale.
I told her to stop looking at the scale (I really was thinking she’d be better off throwing it into the ocean!) because it didn’t accurately tell her the true story.
In fact, it kept telling her she hadn’t lost a thing, and some days (God forbid!) it told her she’d gained a pound or two.
Have you ever had this experience?
The truth is that eating the right foods in the right amounts, along with cardiovascular exercise and strength training may actually maintain or even increase scale weight when improvement has in reality been made in both heart health and weight (fat) loss.
In other words, you’ve got to believe you’re becoming healthier when you are eating healthily and exercising even when there is no external evidence or confirmation of the fact.
And, EVEN if it appears contradictory in the moment.
What does that have to do with you and me in our spiritually-oriented businesses we are growing?
It may be that we might need to adjust our approach or get coaching or additional training, if what we are doing is not working.
(Investing in coaching and continuing education is essential, by the way, in any case.)
That said, it does not mean to give up and quit on your dreams!
A teacher friend of mine once said that when we give up on our own dreams we give permission for others to give up on theirs.
Who wants that on their hands?
Let me tell you another brief story.
When I was living in Bellingham, Washington, I planted some flower bulbs in a pot on the deck of my apartment. I used quality soil, and I made sure the bulbs had full sun and adequate water.
The funny thing is that the next day when I went out to look at the pot, there still weren’t any flowers.
Same story the day after that.
AND the day after that.
Truth be told, it was a couple of weeks before I noticed the first green sprout.
Wouldn’t you think it a little ridiculous if I gave up after a couple of days and through the pot out, convinced that nothing was happening and pissed off that there were no flowers, yet?
We don’t have difficulty understanding that growth is actually occurring even though the present reality would have us think otherwise, as far as planting a seed or a bulb is concerned.
Why do we have such a hard time when we are working toward losing weight or growing our business or achieving any other measure of success or joy or happiness?
Know that 90% of everything in the world is created long before you or I see any physical evidence of it.
To turn a saying on its head “You’ve got to believe it in order to see it.”
It reminds me of a verse from the days when I was a student of the bible, Hebrews 11:1.
Maybe you know it?
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (New International Version)
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Revised Standard Version)
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evident demonstration of realities though not beheld.” (New World Translation)
For spiritual and heart-centered sales professionals and entrepreneurs, we have a change-the-world vision as the reason for what we are up to in the world.
Allow THAT to call you forth powerfully through the challenges, disappointments, discouragements rather than trusting in the illusory mirage our eyes would have us believe.
The world needs you.
I need you.
That’s why you’re here.
And, that’s why you must never, ever give up.
A client told me that he discovered the Jerusalem Diet and really resonated with its approach to diet and weight loss.
In the book, the author advises to forget about all those programs promising to help you lose 5 or 10 or 20 pounds a week. Instead, he says, concentrate on just 1 pound a week. That way, in 6 months (for example), you’ll be comfortably at your ideal weight.
But, that’s not what we (as a culture) do. That’s too slow and too boring.
We want results now. Tomorrow’s too late, and today’s not soon enough.
Have you heard of Tony Horton’s P90X program? I’m very much a fan! I had to laugh when I saw a YouTube video someone had created, where he was talking about the P90X Diet Guide, encouraging folks to stick with it.
He said (I’m paraphrasing), ‘It takes time, People. I have folks emailing me that they’re frustrated that the program isn’t working fast enough after 1 week in the program. It’s called P90X for a reason. 90 DAYS, not 7. You didn’t get fat in 7 days. It’s going to take more than 7 days to un-do the damage you’ve done to your body.’
Sadly, this very same thing is what stops entrepreneurs from progressing in their business and making the impact they want to make in the world.
You’ve seen the hype. Maybe you’ve fallen for it:
Gain Thousands of Twitter Followers in a Day!
From Zero to $100,000 30 Days Guaranteed!
Get 15,000 Targeted Facebook Fans Fast!
It’s the promise of a Quick Fix or Magic Bullet that gets us every time.
Why is this?
It’s actually rooted in human psychology, and being aware of this tendency can spare you from playing lottery with your business in the first place. Or, if you’re already in the game, it can help you take your hand off the Slot Machine or get up from the Roulette Wheel.
Psychologists call it “intermittent reinforcement.”
It happens when someone is encouraged to repeat a certain behavior by giving that person a reward for that specific behavior. The beauty and curse of intermittent reinforcement is that the thing that reinforces the behavior (the reward) is not given every time the person does whatever is the desired behavior.
It’s intermittent. Inconsistent. Random.
A classic example is the Slot Machine. People can easily become addicted to playing slot machines because they regularly (but randomly) deliver several small- and medium-size payouts.
The psychological effect that keeps you playing is this: Just when you are thinking you want to stop playing, you get a payout. This payout lures you to play again and again, “reinvesting” your small- and medium winnings on the hope that hitting the big jackpot is just around the corner.
It doesn’t help things when you actually see or hear of people who do indeed hit the Big Jackpot.
The key difference between rewarding a behavior inconsistently (intermittently) and reinforcing/rewarding a behavior every time it is exhibited is when it comes time to extinguish the behavior.
It is far more difficult to extinguish a behavior that has been intermittently reinforced, and here’s why:
Suppose your child loves peanut butter cookies. So, every time she cleans her room, you give her some peanut butter cookies as a reward. If you suddenly one day decided not to give her peanut butter cookies after your child cleaned up her room, she would quickly un-learn the behavior.
But, if in this same scenario, you began with intermittent reinforcement, sometimes gifting the peanut butter cookies and sometimes not, a different “pattern” is established. Getting the child to stop cleaning her room by withholding the cookies would be a challenge because there is a strong expectation that one of these days, she will get the cookies sooner or later, just like has happened in the past.
So it is with many sales professionals and independent entrepreneurs, like you and me.
Most of us know that slow and steady wins the race. And, marketing strategies are not particularly difficult. In fact, a poor strategy consistently executed will yield better results over time than a perfect strategy inconsistently executed.
The problem is that slow and steady isn’t always sexy or exciting. A plan to go from $0 to $100K in 90 days? Now, THAT’s exciting! So is jumping on the bandwagon of the next marketing tactic of the week.
We become addicted to these Quick Fix ideas because from time-to-time they seem to work; we’re rewarded for our sporadic behavior.
We get a client here and there. Or, we bump into someone who interested in giving us a major project. Or, maybe some new tactic causes a sudden spike in traffic to our web site.
And, then we’re off to try something else, on the hope we might hit the big jackpot.
Then, we wonder why we never seem to see any lasting traction in our business.
So, where have you been playing slot machine in your business?
What behavior keeps showing up (that you have perhaps already recognized as not very productive) that has been difficult to extinguish?
Conversely, how might you use (or, how have you used) the power of intermittent reinforcement in positive ways?
“I find out what the world needs, then I proceed to invent.”
- Thomas Edison
After reading the sales letter, a woman immediately sent me an email saying she was ready to purchase my coaching program right that instant. In fact, she was about to get out her credit card, when she realized she would unfortunately be out of the country, unavailable and on holiday during the dates of the program.
Why was she ready to buy after reading the sales letter?
Because, in her words: “I felt it was written exactly for me!”
I had to smile because she was right: I had written it exactly for her. And for others just like her.
This was no accident.
Before I wrote a word of that sales letter, I conducted a series of interviews and coaching consultations with real prospects about their needs, hopes, and dreams.
Once I learned what their issues were, the resulting impact of those issues, and how that made them feel, I spent some time identifying how my service could solve that specific issue. Additionally, I uncovered the exact feelings they would have when their problem was solved.
I went through this process with each of the issues I identified.
Using this raw data from multiple people, I was able to create a customized sales letter that addressed the challenges they told me they had. In many cases, I used their exact wording and turns of phrase.
As a result of reading the letter, it was entirely predictable they would see themselves in it and both know that I understood where they were coming from and was genuinely interested in supporting them.
This process (thank goodness!) is not rocket science, but it does take time and concerted effort to execute well.
The alternative is essentially shot-in-the-dark marketing, or what one marketer called “Hope Marketing.” This is the slow route to success – if you ever get there– because people won’t see your offerings as important, relevant, or useful unless they are specific to them.
And, you can only know what’s specific to them by asking them.