Marketing advice from the man who speaks to the fish, the bulls and the bears.
We sing to ourselves. We paint for no one else. We hide in the corner and wait for someone to notice us. We long for someone we can trust to affirm and validate our gifts and talents. We cry ourselves to sleep at night hoping the pain of projected and not yet real fear is never realized. We wish the riches and fame and recognition and acclaim would simply appear at the doorstep one morning, with no possibility of our being swept aside or cast out, or dejected. We want a guarantee of success without the slightest risk of failure, and until someone offers us a guarantee, we commit to keeping our talents buried under a bushel and hiding our greatest gifts to insure no one takes advantage or takes them from us.
“The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry our their dream.”~ Les Brown
Realize your potential in such a way you charge on fearlessly, not because of the power and beauty and essence of your gifts and talents, but because of the sheer unstoppability of the one who gave you those gifts. When you see how few failures have been produced by this craftsman, you will laugh at your own foolish reluctance. It is only when we feel responsible for the results of our talents, we fear the risk of deploying them. We have no more power to produce an apple, an egg, a sunrise, than we do to produce results from our greatest natural talent. So please, take a deep breath and GET OVER YOURSELF!
Listen to the man who speaks to the fish, he also commands the Bulls and the Bears.
Imagine for a moment, a professional fisherman with years of experience and a well trained team. After a night on the sea fishing, they are exhausted. They have done the hard work, cast the nets overboard and dragged them in again too many times to count. They have surveyed the water depth, temperature, water current, rainfall, the season, the time of day, the setting of the sun, the direction of the wind and with all the information available enlightened by their vast experiences, the net result was a great catch of exactly zero fish. Well, you can’t win them all. It’s time to call it a night, about sunrise, and we will give it a go another day.
As they approach the shore you can hear the anticipated jeers and mock encouragement of the other fishing boats. Their captains might yell, “try the other side of the lake next time” or “you got the wrong bait, they won’t eat old bread!” or “I told you the south wind was too strong today to catch anything, why do you think we stayed home?” Then an unexpected voice speaks up, “Try the other side of the boat.” he says. All of these experienced fishermen glance his way, then throw looks to one another. Is he serious? The other side of THE BOAT? It’s the same boat, same nets, same bait, same lake… the other side of the boat he says.” As the laughter subsides, and the simply ludicrous idea is dismissed he repeats, insistent this time. “Throw the nets on the other side of the boat.” I can only image them asking what is wrong with this guy? Has he ever caught a fish is his life? Does he have any idea how silly he sounds… and yet they humor him. “Listen, this is beyond the pale of an exercise in futility, but just to shut you up, we will try “the other side of the boat.”
When they did, the strangest thing happened. All those fish who had been eluding the net all night long, suddenly found it inexplicably irresistible. The fish swam their little hearts out to get on board. It was as if THIS NET, on THIS SIDE of the boat, was the most happening place in all the sea if you were a fish. So many fish hopped in, that the nets nearly broke and the boat nearly sank. In an instant, one of the fisherman had an epiphany. He realized all his talents, gifts, education, experience, acumen, and wisdom were no match for the fish. He also realized this single man standing on the shore did not speak “boat” or “bait” or “sea” or “season” or “the business of fishing.” Like no one before him, HE SPOKE FISH! and He spoke to the fish, commanding them to get in the net and that’s exactly what they did.
Had the fisherman continued all of his life convinced the results of his fishing were dependent on his talent, he might well have been depressed and dejected with the first catch of nothing. When he accepted the fact, he is responsible to apply his talents and gifts whenever the opportunity arises and leave the results to the gift giver, he also accepted the fact he is a steward to a very powerful and benevolent giver of gifts.
There are three more things you need to acknowledge about this giver of gifts:
1. He knows how to run a business.
He knows more about sales, marketing, management, leadership, psycho-demographics, product development, research and development and supply and demand than anyone you have ever met. He does not possess the wisdom of the ages, HE IS the wisdom of the ages. You cannot afford to buy the amount of experiential based knowledge offered in one consultation with Him. If you have a convoluted, complicated and confusing business issue, just schedule a one on one and lay it all out as clear as you can explain it, then wait patiently and stay silent as He tells you how to “drop the nets on the other side of the boat” in your specific and particular situation.
He has a plan for you. He knows how to maximize your potential. He knows where you have room to grow and where you are trying too hard for results with little possibilities. He knows what revenue streams need attention and which ones need to be shut down. He knows which team members you should hire, fire, trust, promote, investigate and recruit. He also cares more about the success of your business and the results it will produce than you do. I know, it’s hard to believe, but all the evidence is overwhelming to prove it’s true.
2. He knows how to speak to customers to come to you, to return to you, to buy from you.
When you have exhausted your baiting and netting and scraping and scrounging to fill the nets, ask for help. If you’re like me, we tend to read the sales and marketing secrets of every guru we can find. We look for businesses like ours and mimic their best successes. From “Raving Fans” to “Purple Cows” from “One Minute Entrepreneurs” to “Product Launch Formulas”, we offer the better price, the newest features, the greatest packaging, to the ideal customer in the narrowest niche and we wonder – “Where are all those stupid fish anyway? Don’t they see all the trouble I have gone through to attract and keep their attention?” At some point we need to spend a few minutes asking the “Customer Whisperer” to send some of them our way.
We need to ask Him some of the tough questions like:
- “What must I do to be trusted with the results you want for me?”
- “How can I serve the customers you send me in a way worthy of customer loyalty?”
- “What am I offering that your customers for me don’t want or need?”
- “What do they need that I am not offering?”
3. He knows who your market should be vs who they are.
We all have experienced a client, customer, sale where we are cringing with the “vibe” we get from them. Yet, desperate to close a sale, cash a check, make the budget, we proceed without regard for all the warning bells going off in our souls. Sometimes the best thing you can do for the sake of your business, your relationships, your reputation and the stewardship of your talents and gifts is to just say no. Walk away from the sale. Defer the opportunity to someone else. This notion seems counter intuitive for any logical business person. We don’t want to “leave money on the table” or “let one get away” or “bite the hand that feeds us.” What we are willing to overlook is the truth that by taking the sale now we might be saying no in advance to another deal, with another client. We might over commit our time and resources for this “guarantee” and miss out on a future transaction because we cannot serve both well.
We have had a family DJ business since 2005. I made a commitment to integrity early on because of some one the behavior I saw in the industry. I know of very few other DJ’s who have been so brave as to publish their actual rates for all to see. We have published our rates from the very beginning, and we still do. You can visit www.thatguyrocks.com if you want to see for yourself. I noticed DJ’s who would use one of three strategies to “get the most” out of every client.
- They would ask for the name, email, phone and zip code of the client on the first call and literally set their charges based on the clients home zip code -related to the value of their home or cost of their venue/ location and “presumed ability to pay.”
- They would take a minimal deposit for a would be popular date then “refund the deposit” if a bigger paying client or better offer came in for the same date.
- They would take any contract, at any rate, on any date and time, sometimes even “low balling” every other DJ’s offer, just to get the contract, then “farm out” or “sell” the gig to another DJ for a portion of the price. (I can remember DJ’s calling me to cover an event for them because they were “double booked” only to find it was a client I had quoted a specific price and lost the gig to a cheaper DJ.)
Over time, we realized our vast music library of edited selections, our respect for the parents and our ability to engage with audiences of all ages made us very popular for school and family events like 5k runs, church carnivals and weddings. We also realized the drunken house parties, karaoke bar gigs and all night club scenes were not worth the friction in our souls at any price. We eventually learned to just say no. We are now very selective on the clients we accept to DJ for. We are conscious of our reputation for creating a fun event and willing to walk away if the chemistry isn’t there. (I apply the same rules to the conferences I agree to speak at and the clients I agree to coach.)
When you trust the Customer Whisperer to speak to the fish you are meant to serve, you will not likely encounter these issues. If you are offering a service or product, truly adding value to your client, then the price of your product or the rate of your services, will be of little consequence to them. Clients who only want the “best price” are not always the best client base to run your business around.
Step out! You have gifts and talents unique to you. No one else can offer them to the world. For you to be the best steward of what you have been entrusted with, you need to be brave and bold enough to let the world know what you have to offer. Before you choose your color scheme, sales pitch, unique selling position, logo, pricing structure, marketing channels, advertising vehicles, social media strategy and website design, get to know the nature of the customers you were sent to serve.
I have seen it true in my own life, the life of my friends and the life of those I serve as a coach or trainer. The greater truth is not we can’t, but we won’t. All the potential bottled up in us sits like the fizz inside the soft drink begging for release but like the vacuum sealed and adult proof lid we won’t let it out. We fear we will be mocked, ridiculed, rejected or shushed for speaking up, so we remain silent.
Ask these questions of the Customer Whisperer and make your marketing decisions according to His answers:
- What colors, styles and offerings will attract the people you want me to bless?
- Where will the people you want me to reach be gathered and looking for me?
- What is the best way to add value to them?
- What gift, talent or skill have you entrusted to me for the purpose of changing their life for the better?
- What is a fair price for the people you want me to serve and the talent you want me to offer them?
J Loren Norris is available to speak and train on leadership and communication skills, for corporate America, Associations, Conventions, churches, and non profit organizations. Click here to learn more.