Internet and Inbound Marketing: How to Deal Information Overload

Protecting Your Most Valuable Marketing Resources – Time and Money

Information Overload Pt II

In the previous article, and the videos attached to it, we dealt with focus and entrepreneurial success characteristics. We talked briefly about the various aspects of online marketing, to include Internet marketing and inbound marketing, and the cacophony of sound, both literally and figuratively, generated by online marketers.

I hope you had a chance to look at Internet and Inbound Marketing Success: Focus and Information Overload, and the videos attached. The article, and the videos associated with it, set the stage for the rest of this series.

I think if take the time, you will find that your time is well spent.

On to Internet and Inbound Marketing:
How to Deal Information Overload Pt II

One of the biggest challenges many of us face when beginning to make sense of the Internet generally, and inbound marketing in particular, is deciding just which expert to listen to and which resources to invest in.

The noise made by this guru and that expert is absolutely deafening and, because we don’t know who to listen to or what to invest in…we attempt to listen to everyone and jump from one program to the next in an attempt to get it just right and not miss something vital.

Incredibly, most of the inbound marketing experts we are listening to have never attempted the actual nuts and bolts of what they are teaching for any length of time…they are simply teaching others how to do it.

Yes, some have. But they quickly find out that, online anyway, it is better to teach than to do!

In other words, it is like the saying:

“Those who can’t or don’t do…teach; and those who teach…make more money!”

Sound a bit facetious?

It should!

I actually heard an Internet marketing guru say, and I am not sure he realized what he was saying at the time or not, I have the recording of it, that he realized early on he could make much more money teaching others how to make money online than he would ever make practicing the principals he was teaching himself.

Amazing!

It goes to show you 2 things:

  1. There are a lot of “gurus” who have never actually practiced what they preach
    1. Marketers selling dog training courses who have never trained a dog
    2. Marketers selling courses to teach parrots to talk who have never taught a parrot to do anything and, like the dog trainer, may not even own one
    3. Marketers selling inbound marketing consulting courses who do not own and run inbound marketing consultancies and have no concept of what it is like to run and brick and mortar business
  2. There is a lot more money in information products teaching others how to sell info products that there is in any of the subdisciplines most gurus point the masses towards
    1. There is a lot more money in selling info products dealing with how to be an affiliate marketer than there is being an affiliate marketer
    2. There is a lot more money selling apps for making Facebook pages than there is making Facebook pages

Picks and Shovels!

Sam Brannan taught us all a lesson during the California Gold Rush and savvy Internet marketing gurus haven’t missed a beat!

Brannan sold picks and shovels to the 49ers and made a million. The gold rushers, the 49ers, bought Brannon’s wares and got tired, broke, and hungry.

Today?

Internet marketers sell the picks and shovels of marketing.

You dig and they get rich!

Stop buying picks and shovels and start focusing on a few resources and make them pay.

How?

First, decide to follow one or two experts and then devour everything they teach you. If they refer to a resource, check it out…but remain skeptical and only purchase what you absolutely require.

Hopefully, you will choose wisely Grasshopper!

Ask yourself these questions before you invest your time or money any anything online:

  • What’s in this for me?
    • Marketing Lesson: How does this benefit me and help me to grow my business?
  • Who cares?
    • Marketing Lesson: Does this seem to be something that has worked for others?
  • Can I validate the claims being made?
    • Marketing Lesson: Does the person offering the resource or the advice have a following and/or a track record?
  • Why should I believe you?
    • Marketing Lesson: Malcolm Gladwell speaks of the adaptive unconscious in his book, Blink. Adaptive unconscious is the mental processes that works automatically and rapidly…based on relatively little information. In other words, intuition and gut instinct! In most cases, if you listen to your gut, it will guide you in the right direction.
    • Marketing Lesson: If you get a feeling deep in the pit of your stomach that says, “I just don’t know?” Walk away…fast!
  • I’ve heard it all before!
    • Marketing Lesson: If you get the sense that they are spouting the same-old, same-old? Find a new teacher or think about investing in a different product.
      • This is particularly true in the inbound marketing sphere right now, with every Tom, Dick, and Jane selling their particular Ju-Ju for $997 or $1997 on how to corner the inbound marketing niche and make $5,000 to $10,000 per month starting Monday…and it’s Sunday night!
  • Why in the world did I buy this product?
    • Marketing Lesson: If you get that feeling after investing your hard earned money in a course you should be all excited about…cancel! Today!
      • Yes, there is such a thing as buyer’s remorse. However, if you think the product doesn’t measure up or they are going to feed you bits and pieces over several weeks or months, it often means they don’t even have the product completed and you need to get out before the refund period lapses or you will be stuck with a subpar program and nothing to show for it!
  • What else should I be doing now?
    • Marketing Lesson: If you are watching a video or reading an article and you are asking yourself what else you should be doing now, you need to:
      • Set it aside and come back to it when you have time to devote your complete attention to it.
      • Decide whether the message is relevant or not and move on.
        • Note: Keep in mind that not everything an expert is going to offer will resonate with you. I use the 3 strikes rule, unless it is really bad. I give an authority I am interested in 3 strikes. It they haven’t offered anything that floats my boat by strike 3…they’re out!
  • Will this be a wise investment in terms of my time and money?
    • Marketing Lesson: If you can’t afford it in terms of money or can’t swing the time? Walk away! Offers are like the “gurus” making them…there will be another along later this week, next week, next month, and so on and so on and so on….
      • In fact, if you haven’t noticed it already, almost every big launch has a relauch and then a 2.0, a 3.0, and so on and so on and so on….
      • So, don’t sweat it if you can afford it…there will come a time when you will be able to. And then? You’ll probably be glad you didn’t buy it “back when,” because you will know enough by then to see it for what it is.
      • And 9 out of 10 times it is junk…or at the very least can be bought for much less or even found free with a little digging and a bit of Googling!
  • Finally, ask yourself the following question: What makes you different?
    • Marketing Lesson: In other words, why should I listen to you? What makes you so special? And don’t worry about feelings! You are dealing with two of your most precious resources:
      • Time
      • Money
        • If either of these two resources is not well spent, and you can’t find a reason why the person asking for either is worth your time and money, because time is money? Walk away…Fast!

In Part III we will discuss the different coaching strategies and the various authority sites. We will also discuss the various Internet and inbound marketing resources; and, whether or not they are worth investing in or not. Finally, in Part IV, I will discuss some of the major implementation strategies I have used over the past two years, those I have discarded and those I still use…and why.

I hope you have found this interesting and useful.

If so, please leave a comment and share it with your friends via email and social media!

Thanks so much for taking the time and please don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter which starts off with the Inbound Marketing A through Z to be published September 7, 2010; and, it will be free of charge for subscribers.

Thanks again and please leave your feedback!

John Zajaros
The Ultimate Internet Image
Lakewood, Ohio 44107
216-712-7004
Skype: johnzajaros1

Internet and Inbound Marketing Success: Focus and Information Overload

Entrepreneurial Success Traits

The Importance of Focus

Internet and Inbound Marketing Success, the Entrepreneur, and Focus

I know, I know! I really couldn’t settle on a title…so I figured the next-best solution was the shotgun approach. I could tell you I’m testing it and all of that…but that would be bunk.

So, I’ll just tell it like it is…like I always do! Why change after 55 years?

Note: I will discuss this topic, and that of distraction and time management, in greater depth in The Ultimate Internet Image’s upcoming ebook, Inbound Marketing A through Z, scheduled to be released to our subscribers on September 7, 2010. You can find the details for it and the contest on the home page (link right above you). I would suggest entering the contest…the odds are fantastic right now and someone is going to win a nice little Apple iPod Touch and some other nice prizes!

So, check it out.

OK, done with the commercial!

I have added a couple of videos below.

The first is by David McCandless and his TED talk is entitled:

The beauty of data visualization

The second is by Gary Flake and is entitled:

Is Pivot a turning point for web exploration?

The latter is very exciting because it goes hand in hand with the recent discussion about TweetPivot in The Inbound Marketing Week in Review and in the follow up interview with Chris Arnold of TweetPivot. Chris is a great guy and you can follow him on Twitter at @GoodCoffeeCode

Phew! Lots of links…sorry…but they’re for a good cause!

The two videos mentioned above deal with information overload and focusing on information (data) in a very different way. I think if you take the time to watch them, and read the accompanying article below (of course!), you will find you have a better, perhaps somewhat different perspective than when you arrived.

At least that is my hope!

For now, I want to talk about focus as it relates to Internet marketing, inbound marketing, and online entrepreneurial endeavor.

Peter Baskerville states that:

“Entrepreneurs know better than most, the power generated by focus.”

I agree!

However, I would qualify it somewhat by stating that successful entreprenuers know how to focus. I would also suggest that a large part of that success comes from our ability to focus in spite of the many obstacles in our way; and, in particular, in spite of information overload.

I suggest that, in spite of the myriad distractions, changes, and hurdles that may confront us, thus obstructing our path, we as entrepreneurs are able to keep ourselves, and those working for and with us, focused on the ultimate result, either an immediate or long term goal; and, usually both.

The successful entrepreneur, complete with the obsessive tendencies we often display towards our passion, and in spite of many obstacles and distractions noted above, will maintain focus and get the job done.

It is important to distinguish between the word entrepreneur and the phrase successful entrepreneur.

Additionally, it is important to understand the characteristics that define entrepreneurial success. Understanding the distinctions between the two, and the characteristics that define success in this realm, we can begin to understand what defines a successful entrepreneurial endeavor.

Interestingly, there are a great many individuals referring to themselves as entrepreneurs.

In today’s world, it is easy to claim to be almost anything!

It takes minutes to set up a website or blog and be online today. I can do it in less than 5 minutes…tops.

In a moment a relative unknown can go toe-to-toe with a reputable firm, established and able to deliver on their promises…and no one is the wiser.

Whether in Internet marketing, inbound marketing, or some other niche specific online endeavor, people referring to themselves as entrepreneurs are everywhere. People calling themselves “gurus” are just as common. And I’ve discussed the latter until I’m blue in the face.

There are entrepreneurs and then there are Entrepreneurs; and, there are Gurus and then there are “gurus.”

For more on this you can read:

The Top 10 Guru Survey and the Truth About Internet Marketing Gurus

This is both exciting and worrisome. Exciting, because it allows a relative unknown to step up and do incredibly exciting things. Worrisome, because it also allows the bottom feeders to surface, grab their prey, and submerge never to be seen or heard from again.

Sadly, the latter muddies the waters for the former and makes it difficult for the legitimate entrepreneur to establish himself or herself.

However, there are a few young (meaning: new on the scene), successful Internet marketers, inbound marketing consultants, and/or online marketing specialists who have been able to break through and establish themselves as successful entrepreneurs, in spite of these obstacles, by remaining focused on their ultimate desire through service to others.

When all is said and done, there are very few truly successful entrepreneurs.

Why?

I think it comes down to several things but an essential characteristic or trait for successful entrepreneur is, as stated above, the ability to focus and remain so in spite of obstacles and distractions; and, information overload is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, distraction in the online world.

In other words, the ability to remain focused, to remove all obstacles and distractions from our path, is the key ingredient to success…and a real challenge for online marketers in any sphere.

Whether an entrepreneur is solely focused on Internet marketing (e.g., as an information marketer, affiliate marketer, or some other specialty) or is exploring some other sales and marketing niche (e.g., inbound marketing), the amount of information and the shear volume of noise is deafening.

Seth Godin referred to the subject of noise on his blog today:

The blizzard of noise (and the good news)

While Mr Godin was talking about noise and the online world, particularly in the context of the familiar versus the unfamiliar, it is a constant theme of his…and for good reason!

An Aside: It is interesting, and I have mentioned this before, how many times we will be thinking of something, writing about it or whatever, and suddenly it seems that several people are talking about the same thing. The fact is, they always were, it’s just that we weren’t looking in that direction, at the shooting stars, until now!

I wrote an article about this topic just the other day and you can find it at:

Shooting Stars, Abraham Lincoln, Prayer, The Beatles, and Commitment

Interestingly if you are pursuing an entrepreneurial endeavor as an inbound marketing consultant, there is always something appropriate, something interesting, and/or something useful. However, to avoid information overload, we must settle on what a few trusted sources and resources, what feels and fits best, and stick with them…remaining focused on our primary task above all else.

So, what are the characteristics of a successful entrepreneur as related to focus?

  • The ability to remain focused in spite of setbacks
  • The ability to remain focused in spite of distractions
  • The ability to remain focused in spite of unforeseen changes (flexibility)
  • The ability to maintain focus in our personal lives, because personal problems (i.e., family issues, health concerns, etc) are a major distraction and can and will undermine our entrepreneurial endeavor or endeavors
  • The ability to keep others we depend on focused in order to get the job done; and thus meeting and exceeding goals and objectives, both personal and professional
  • Passion – Passionate about our work, about others, about our family, and about life in general
  • Concentration – Again to the point of obession but not to the point of myopia. Marketing myopia, discussed previously and again in our upcoming ebook release can be and often is the entrepreneurial kiss of death
  • Prioritize Everything – Prioritize to the point of obsession! While making sure you have the small things taken care of, be aware of the ultimate prize. I suggest the video below: Rory Sutherland: Sweat the small stuff
  • The ability to compartmentalize the various components of our lives and the task at hand…in the context of overall personal and business goals
  • Single-minded with an eye-constantly-on-the-prize” Peter Baskerville
  • Entrepreneurs rarely, if ever quit (The Dip being the qualifier here – Seth Godin’s book is a must)

Ultimately, entrepreneurs must have the ability to focus, as if with blinders on, until the job is done. This is extremely difficult in today’s world. The Internet is a cacophony of sound, literally and figuratively; and, it is difficult, if not impossible, to remain focused to the exclusion of all unnecessary distraction.

One of an entrepreneur’s greatest assets is curiosity. Curiosity is also one of an entrepreneur’s greatest enemies!

It is an inquisitive mind that is always looking for the next-great opportunity, the next-best thing. However, if one is to succeed as an entrepreneur, it is imperative that we remain focused and as ourselves one thing. Yes, it is always important to keep an eye open for the next great opportunity…just so long as it is not a distraction.

Consequently, there is a constant balancing act going on between what may translate into something real and what must be done now…in order to accomplish the task at hand.

Ultimately, the question that must be asked and answered is this:

Will this get me closer to my main desire, the task that will take me that much closer to my ultimate goal?

If not?

Then you must walk away!

Why?

Because there is simply too much noise online today and if you are not working toward the completion of the task at hand?

You are walking away from it!

The former is crucial and the latter is self-defeating.

In order to succeed in today’s connected world, any of us, we must be able to tune-in in order to enhance our knowledge and learn what is necessary to go forward toward the completion of our task.

And, we must know when to tune out, to put the blinders on, and focus on our primary goal to the point of obsession.

“Unfocused energy dissipates whilst focused energy, like the sun’s rays, through a magnifying glass BURNS!” PB

I also like Marc Joyner’s analogy of the knife and the box.

I will save that for another time…or you can ask me in the comments below and I will be happy to explain. In either case, please leave a comment.

I have added the videos below for you. The videos are useful and quite appropriate, both narrowly and broadly speaking.

Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. Please remember to subscribe!

John Zajaros
The Ultimate Internet Image
Lakewood, Ohio 44107
216-712-7004
Skype: johnzajaros1

Note: Peter Baskerville is an Australian entrepreneur who likes to call himself “a New Venture Architect.” Peter recently discussed the traits and characteristics required for success as an entrepreneur in a Google Knol. The Knol was entitled: Characteristics of an Entrepreneur: The A to Z of the characteristics of an entrepreneur. You can access this Knol through the linked quote above.

David McCandless: The beauty of data visualization

“David McCandless turns complex data sets (like worldwide military spending, media buzz, Facebook status updates) into beautiful, simple diagrams that tease out unseen patterns and connections. Good design, he suggests, is the best way to navigate information glut — and it may just change the way we see the world.”

Gary Flake: Is Pivot a turning point for web exploration?

“Gary Flake demos Pivot, a new way to browse and arrange massive amounts of images and data online. Built on breakthrough Seadragon technology, it enables spectacular zooms in and out of web databases, and the discovery of patterns and links invisible in standard web browsing.”

Rory Sutherland: Sweat the small stuff

“It may seem that big problems require big solutions, but ad man Rory Sutherland says many flashy, expensive fixes are just obscuring better, simpler answers. To illustrate, he uses behavioral economics and hilarious examples.”

Understanding Social Media: Is Social Media Really Social?

Social Media, Reciprocity, and Active Engagement

Courtesy and Personality

I am often asked how my Twitter following grew to over 25,000. How I have over 4,000 connections on LinkedIn. Those who know me ask how, across 1600 social media sites online, I was able to add over 50,000 social media friends, contacts, connections, and followers.

How?

What’s your secret?

I have thought about this a lot!

I am a relative unknown. I don’t particularly like socializing and usually stay to myself and people I am familiar with when out. I am slow to wwarm up to people and 2 years ago I didn’t have or know how to set up a website, much less know what Twitter or Facebook or YouTube was. The only reason I knew about MySpace was because my kids were on it and it was talked about in the media all the time.

I was less than a novice, if that is possible, and knew less than nothing!

When I joined Twitter on December 18, 2008 I nursed a grand total of 218 followers into March of the New Year and still had no clue what I was doing when it came to social media and Internet marketing.

Inbound marketing?

Again, less than nothing!

But I am a fast study and I realized several things right off the bat:

  • The Internet was simply a communication vehicle, albeit an extremely powerful one.
  • Social media was a communication vehicle within a communication vehicle and also an extremely powerful one.
  • Social media was a reflection of a need expressed throughout society, a need for connection and meaning.
  • Video sharing was an extension of social media and just another way to share and connect.
  • Social media wasn’t about building a huge amount of followers all at once, as many people seemed intent on doing at the time.
  • Social media was like the Breck commercial, one of the most famous marketing campaigns in the history of marketing. I tell two people…and they tell two people…and so on…and so on…and so on! The root of viral communication, pun intended!
  • Social media was not about selling stuff online, it was about:
    • Making connections
    • Building relationships
    • Building trust
    • Forming bonds
  • Social media was about converting all of the above into a Win-Win for both parties in the relationship!

But a funny thing happened on the way to meaningful social media interaction…marketing happened.

Bad marketing!

Social media marketing!

The fact is, social media has very little to do with direct marketing, it is almost anathma to what social media is all about:

  • Connections
  • Relationships
  • Trust
  • Bonds

The challenge is, everyone wants to be Dell and Southwest Airlines.

The fact is, most are not!

Yes, Dell made 3 million with social media. But Dell is Dell and has spent many millions over many years creating brand awareness. Southwest Airlines is Southwest Airlines, arguably one of the most successful customer service companies in history, in any sector, in any line of business!

Southwest and Dell did not start out on the Internet two years ago with zero visibility and no brand awareness and throw up a Facebook Page and a Twitter Page and make millions from day one. They did it the old fashioned way, they earned it over several years, banging it out, one day at a time.

No secret!

No mystery!

Solid marketing that carried over into a new medium.

Enter John Zajaros and The Ultimate Internet Image, Joe Dokes and Joe’s Auto Shop, or Julie Smith and Julie’s Flowers…or whatever.

We enter social media from basically the same space, square one!

For those you us who have little or no brand identity, little or no Internet savvy, and little or no real capital behind our inbound marketing efforts, we must do it the old fashioned way too…we have to go out and earn it.

That means one day at a time, one connection at a time, done over time, and in such a way that it benefits both parties.

In other words, we push each other up!

How?

  • Spreading each other’s posts, messages, videos, tweets, etc.
  • Sharing each other’s links.
  • Reading each others blogs.
  • Watching each other’s videos.
  • Following each other back.
  • Responding to open questions put to the entire commiunity, the social media community.
  • Responding to each others messages.
  • And much more…

Finally, and this one is so intuitive and yet is never done…show appreciation!

To say:

  • “I care!”
  • “You matter!”
  • “You’re welcome!”
  • And the biggest one of all? “Thank you!”

It is incredible how many times a day people fail to say those two magic words, any of them, but especially…

…“Thank you!”

“Please!” and “Thank You!

Common courtesy!

The secret to building a social media following?

The secret to success at anything in life?

Push others up and show gratitude for the opportunity to connect, to be a part of someone else’s life, to contribute to the “Greater Good!”

Sound naïve?

Sound a bit starry-eyed and utopian?

Not at all!

Common courtesy and reciprocity have been around since we were all running around in tribes.

No, not Seth Godin type tribes…although he is dead on!

It is what makes us human and it is why social media is such a big hit…because people are thirsty for that connection, that sense of oneness, and that sense of being appreciated.

Want to succeed online?

In business?

In life?

Make someone else feel special, make someone else feel important, make someone else feel like you noticed them; and make sure it’s not just for some relationship ROI cr#p but because you really care about people. Do that and you will succeed in every aspect of your life.

If you are focused on where your next 1000 Twitter followers are going to come from…

Good luck!

If you are focused on how you can make a difference in soemone’s life…

You don’t need me!

This has been building up for a while. I thought this a good time to bring it up.

Thank you for reading this and I hope it resonated with you on some level.

If it did? Please leave a comment?

If it didn’t? Please leave a comment!

In any case, please leave a comment!

Thank you!

John Zajaros
The Ultimate Internet Image
Lakewood, Ohio 44107
216-712-7004

Interview with Chris Arnold: Social Media, Twitter, and TweetPivot

Follow Up with Chris Arnold, Founder of TweetPivot

Imagine the pleasure and surprise when I received an @Reply from Chris Arnold, founder and the brains behind TweetPivot first thing this morning!

Chris was responding to a feature I added to this week’s Inbound Marketing Week in Review: A Hard Look at Social Media Klout, a segment on one of the newest, and certainly one of the most creative Twitter applications to date!

Do you want to know what kind of a person Chris is?

Chris took time out of his evening, on his wedding anniversary, to spend time with me and answer questions I am certain most of my readers would like to have answered. Not only that, he left the door open for future conversations.

There is little doubt in my mind that TweetPivot has real potential on several levels!

Not only is TweetPivot intriguing and fun, it is a powerful information resource with real world marketing possibilities.

So, instead of taking up any more of your time, I thought I would simply add the interview and allow you to see for yourself just what TweetPivot is about and get some idea of where it is going.


Thank you for your continued support.

Please leave a comment and let us know what you think!

John Zajaros
The Ultimate Internet Image
Lakewood, Ohio 44107
216-712-7004

PS, Don’t forget to subscribe to The Ultimate Internet Image. Subscribers will receive a free copy of Inbound Marketing A through Z on September 7, 2010.

PPS, Follow Chris Arnold @GoodCoffeeCode and check out his personal blog Good Coffee Good Code. You gotta love anyone who has listed as one of his favorite books The Lord of the Rings! I read it for the first time in the summer of 1971. Boy, all of the sudden I feel old!

The Four Letter Word in Sales and Marketing: The P Word!

Building Your Inbound Marketing Consultancy

Prospecting is a Four Letter Word

Building an inbound marketing consulting business is very much like building any other kind of service-oriented business. Building a business, particularly from scratch, requires perspicacity, professionalism, patience, persistence, practice, persuasion, people skills, perception, penetrating insight, and prospecting.

And that’s just for starters!

If you read most of the success-related, self-help books on the market today, they will recite, almost in unison, the litany of success killers, the traits we either have or do not have that lead to an entrepreneur’s undoing.

Interestingly, the number one reason why most people fail, at least as far as the success and self-help “gurus” are concerned is procrastination. Over and over again, until it has attained the status of dogma, we are told that if you can only beat the nasty procrastination habit we will all be masters of our universe and captians of our destiny.

And I say…

Poppycock!

I’d say something else but this is a PG kind of blog and I think Poppycock does it rather nicely.

It is my firm conviction, my belief if you will, that people only procrastinate when they hate doing something. Now, they may hate it because they dread the action, they may dread it because they aren’t crazy about the result, or they may dread it because they simply hate what they are doing in total.

Regardless of what the act or the outcome is, the bottom line should be crystal clear to anyone looking at this whole thing objectively:

A procratinator dislikes, often hates, at least some aspect of what they are doing. In fact, they dread doing it. And, unless you change the underlying fear, because dread and fear are incredibly powerful forces that go hand-in-hand, a procrastinator will continue to procrastinate.

Consequently, they will also continue to fail.

Have you ever heard of anyone dreading a vacation to the Caribbean?

Have you ever heard of anyone dreading payday?

Have you ever heard of anyone dreading winning the lottery?

Have you ever heard of anyone dreading their favorite pastime?

Walk with the dog?

Spend time with the grandkids?

Well OK, maybe you have me on that last one.

But you get the point, right?

And what is the activity most dreaded by salespeople and marketers?

Heck, by business people and virtually anyone who has to “go out and get it!”?

Prospecting!

Why?

Because you have to ask people to do something thay may not want to do. You have to go out and talk to people, people who are resistent to change under the best of circumstances; and, you may be rejected.

And fear of rejection is right up there with fear of failure and they both stifle productivity and lead to procrastination!

Prospecting has linked to it, built into the very core of it, fear of change, fear of rejection, and fear of rejection. Is there any doubt in your mind as to why salespeople procrastinate when it comes to time prospect?

I hate prospecting! Or at least I did!

In fact, I had one of the most coveted marketing jobs in the country. I was making top 5 money. That’s income in the top 5% of all wage earners in the USA. I walked away from it because I hated prospecting and, in particular, the telephone.

Loathed, hated, despised, broke out in hives, got physically ill!

And that was on a good day!

And I wasn’t talking to people who resented my call either. I was talking to warm leads, referrals from other businessmen who were already clients.

It didn’t matter…I hated it!

Why?

Because I put so much pressure on myself to make the sale, to make every sale, that I made myself sick.

Interestingly, looking back at it many years later, there was virtually zero pressure coming from anyone else; the pressure all came from within. But it was enough to completely destroy my ability to do my job effectively.

The ironic part of it?

Once in front of a prospective client I was fine. I had one of the highest closing percetages in the company, ever.

But when it came to the dreaded “P” word…I was a basket case!

I can’t go into all the reasons why, they are beyond the scope of this article, but I can tell you this, my reaction was irrational, it was illogical, and it is felt by hundreds, if thousands of salespeople each and every day across tashe United States and around the world.

We all hate two things:

  1. Being required to ask people to do something they may not want to do
  2. Rejection

Now, what if we could get around those two obstacles?

I think most of you reading this, if you are serious about selling and marketing at all, will agree that making a sale, bringing a new client on board in any sales situation, is a kick. It is one of the best feelings in the world, a complete rush!

Better than sex!” we used to say.

Hey, what did we know…we were young!

But the fear of rejection and the pressure we place on ourselves can be such an impediment to success that it undemines everything else we do or even attempt to do.

Even the result, knowing a big commission or an annual contract worth thousands isn’t enough to offset the dread and the pain associated with prospecting.

Ironically, while the dread and pain are self-inflicted, they are nevertheless real.

Happily, because we have done this to oursleves, we have the capacity to undo it. But it takes shifting our thinking, looking at the entire process with new eyes and a fresh attitude.

Unfortunately, there are far too many sales trainers, prospecting experts, offering the same, rehashed notions that have been around since Christ left Chicago.

Funny thing about sayings, and there are a number of them, is no one can remember how they came to be used, if not accepted.

The same is true of prospecting methods.

Since Christ left Chicago!

Since Christ was a Corporal!

Since Pontius was a Pilate!

Throw enough “spaghetti” against the wall and some of it will stick!

Every no gets you closer to a yes!

And so on and so forth. You get the drift, right?

Plenty of catchy sayings and lots of rah-rah, chant in front of the mirror, manic mantra “stuff,” but not enough real world, nuts and bolts, “How do I overcome this terrible feeling?” advice.

Why?

Because they didn’t and still don’t know how to themselves!

Why?

Mainly, because we were going about it all wrong.

The prospecting process, in fact the entire sales process was and remains fundamentally broken for millions of salespeople doing their very best, day in and day out, to “Go out and get it!”

Just go out and do it!

Buck up and all that old boy!

Pip pip!

“I am the greatest salesman in the world!”

And so on and so forth!

Most of the rehashed “stuff,” another four letter word, has been around a very long time and every few years a new sales training “guru” comes on the scene and tries to sell the rest of us what has never really worked all that well to begin with.

Interestingly, with the emergence of inbound marketing many salespeople and marketers have come to believe that everything can be accomplished at arms length. And, while it is true that more things can be accomplished at a distance, for the majority it is simply not the case.

In fact, there have been several studies, including one concluded just recently, The Digital Report 2010, that suggest that people are more skeptical than ever of information gathered and/or received from online sources.

That means salespeople have an even bigger hurdle to overcome than ever before!

There is a fundamental lack of trust for any information gleaned from the Internet. Consequently, salesmanship, and personal contact, have become more important than ever before. In many instances the sales and marketing infrastructure is directing us one way, and the consumers seem to be demanding something altogether different.

Does that mean that prospecting, and indeed the entire sales process, has to be more difficult?

No!

Significantly, recent findings would suggest that the high pressure prospecting and sales closing methods of the 50s through 90s, and even into our current decade, are not only outmoded, they are counterproductive.

In other words, they just won’t fly anymore.

People are turned off by the old school tactics, and that includes many of the more intrusive outbound marketing practices dating back decades. The consumer is smarter and better educated than ever before and the tricks of yesterday simply fail to convert.

Today, a new sales approach is necessary if we are to be successful, and that goes for inbound marketing or any other field.

The new approach is a laid back, conversational approach!

In the words of Ari Galper, one of the smartest sales trainers to come along in a very long time, it is necessary to:

“Go deep with the client.”

In other words, instead of the shotgun approach to prospecting, a method in which the focus was to talk to 10 people by 10am, now the focus should be to talk to one person from 8am until 10am…or longer.

The idea is to drive deep into the issues and concerns of the prospect, the challenges they are grappling with.

A great word: grappling!

Imagine walking into a business with no expectation of a sale. Now, imagine taking the time to get to know the individual who has their very life blood invested in that business and seeing them as more than a prospect.

Now look at them as more than simply number one in a one out of ten on my way to 10am.

You might actually find out something useful about them. You will build a relationship. And once the relationship is established, trust will follow, and the sale will take care of itself.

Interestingly, when you shift the focus from a sales pitch to a conversation, the stress and the dread disappears…from both sides of the equation.

Remember when I said I used to hate prospecting?

No longer is prospecting about making a sale, it is about building a relationship, getting to know the man or woman you may have as a client for a very long time…getting to know them in a way the old school apporoach never would have allowed for.

The greatest thing about Ari’s approach?

You will never feel the same dread again. You will no longer be out to make a sale…you will be out to begin a conversation.

Once the sale and the sales pitch are removed from the equation, the experience becomes a pleasurable one and one that will ultimately lead to more sales, greater success, and less procrastination and dread.

That is a Win-Win in anyone’s book!

Contact me anytime for more information and see the postscript below for more information about Ari Galper’s Unlock the Game. Ari’s free training alone will change how you approach sales forever.

John Zajaros
The Ultimate Internet Image
Lakewood, Ohio 44107
216-712-7004

PS, Best of luck and please leave your thoughts and feedback below. Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter. All subscribers will receive Inbound Marketing A through Z free of charge on September 7, 2010!