IQ.2.12.19

“Virtue does not consist in the act we do, but in the end it is to effect. If it is to effect the happiness of him whom it is directed, it is virtuous… The essence of virtue is in doing good to others…”

“Man is a free agent,” and “Happiness [is] the aim of life.”

Thomas Jefferson

World Citizen

Sales is Not a Dirty Word.

Convincing is not sales – Matchmaking is sales.

You are a salesman. You’ve been a salesman ever since you can remember. The day you started to form a personality was the day you fell into the marketplace. We may like to think of ourselves as reasonable, intelligible people, but our day-to-day is riddled with emotional input and output. These emotions are fueled by a set of beliefs and ultimately dictate our character. A salesman understands this, embraces all types of characters, and helps the character play his or her role in the game of life.

Unfortunately, the word ‘sales’ and the professional title of ‘Salesman’ have become tarnished in popular culture. Degrading sales into something entirely different than the prophetic role it plays in society – the distribution of goods and services within society.

Yes, there were conmen and swindlers branding themselves as “salesmen” with an ability to dawn the veil of a charismatic gentleman. These abilities allowed them to portray a personalized genuineness for each individual they interacted with and engaged. Their understanding of the psyche and the games people play coupled with a selfish outlook to get ahead, can turn any buyer into a mark. And when the plot climaxed the buyer believed the salesman’s game was the solution to their problems. So they bought into the conman’s game.

Now, this is where it gets interesting. In any sales scenario, we wait to see if the buying actor experiences cognitive dissonance. Let’s assume that, now, our salesman does not intend to con the buyer and instead is someone helping to find a solution. If the dissonance does set in, the salesman has exposed a vulnerability. In that moment of truth, the actor reveals a con. Unfortunately for our actor, this conman was not the salesperson they believed him to be. Or, was he? Whether or not the intention of the salesperson was to provide a solution or a con is almost irrelevant at this point. The conman in this scenario is actually the ego of the buyer.

A true conman exposes vulnerabilities and weaknesses possessed by their mark. A true salesman exposes needs, desires, and values in their customer. Neither is convincing their target of anything. Both are matching a proposed solution to an ideal held by the psyche of the buyer, long before the two ever met. The equation is dependent on the buyer’s ego to deduce and accurately represent their best interest in the transaction.

The two contrasting characters of Salesman and Conman provide us with a spectrum for business exchange. A third role emerges between the two, comprised of a myriad of actors who provide Customer Service.

Customer service wants to help everyone.
The Conman wants to help himself.
The Salesman wants to help individuals find the perfect solution.

The Entrepreneur wants every individual to have the best solution. This is where things can get tricky. Is the entrepreneur a salesman or a customer service provider? Obviously, they must be both. An Entrepreneur’s job is to recognize the conman, provide customer service, and lead their audience to find the best solution that fits their needs. A great Entrepreneur exposes both the conman’s findings and the salesman’s findings and provides a solution that solves for both the desire and the fear harbored in the ego. If successful, he becomes the greatest salesman.

The thing that torments me is that most Entrepreneurs don’t seem to believe themselves to be salesmen. They’ve been equipped with a fear of the word and have put a barrier along their path to success. Instead of providing great salesmanship they provide customer service – which is limited to the products they are willing to provide. Somehow they believe their decision to provide goods and services to the market is too altruistic to be placed on the same spectrum as the convincing Conman. Or, perhaps, deep down they are afraid a selfish reason for entering the market will be exposed and that that selfish reason will make them a conman. For most entrepreneurs, this is downright silly.

Most Entrepreneurs are selfishly providing goods and services they believe in and enjoy. These Entrepreneurs must not forget that they exist to provide these goods and services to others. To do this you must sell  match people with your good or service. You’re only a con if you convince someone to do something that directly opposes what you perceive to be their best interest… Is that why you went into business?

Find Satori, my fellow Salesman.

The Millennial Whisperer

The “Millennial Whisperer” is a term coined by Luke Smaul, business leader and advisor of tied.house, Inc. While the context for coining the term was meant to cheekily label himself amongst his peers, the coinage applies to anyone possessing the ability to belong to an earlier generation while connecting with millennials. And, not just in a demanding way but in a way that converts them into believers.

I am not a millennial. Born in 1984, I was raised believing I was Generation-Y. Maybe I’m a Generation-Y, Millennial?

Sometime around 1994, PepsiCo. challenged the idea of generations with a campaign for “Generation Next.” I recall this causing some confusion amongst my pre-pubescent cohorts. Were we Generation Next?

My marketing textbooks in college (around 2004) labeled us as something else entirely. It wasn’t until well after the recovery of the .COM collapse that I first heard the term Millennial.

In truth, we are the elder millennials that don’t quite feel like we fit in with the younger millennials. Sure, we are quasi-digital natives who want to find purpose in our work.  We understand the younger millennial mindset, but It’s really not that hard to grasp. Any generation is defined by the environmental implications attributing to their group-mind. Some people possess the ability to belong to an earlier generation while also connecting with other generations.

Being labeled a millennial affords us a luxury when working with the earlier generations. We are provided with an element for surprise: “He looks like a millennial, but he doesn’t talk like a millennial. He must be 40 (Generation X).” We elders, the Generation-Y Millennials, are Generation Next. We sit on the millennial cusp minding the gap that separates our generations.

Mind the Gap and find Satori, my fellow Salesman.

Keys to Marketing Every Entrepreneur Should Know

The Secret Keys to Marketing in 2018

  1. Don’t confuse Marketing with Operations.

Supply and demand are represented in the physical business model as Operations and the customer – Where Operations is the supply and demand is the customer. Marketing transcends operations and the customer to ensure supply meets demand. Allowing operations to dictate marketing is a common mistake that we have termed “The Entrepreneurial Dilemma.”

 

2. Marketing is a verb.

Marketing is both a science and an art. Marketing’s purpose is to position, manage, and innovate to ensure the demanding customers are pointed to your supply and that supply meets demand. It is marketing’s job to optimize this point of equilibrium.

 

3. The customer matters most.

Companies exist to serve their customers. Their purpose is to provide society, defined as a market, with a good or service that provides a benefit to individual lives. Profit is a measurement for how well a company met the demand of the market it serves. Own your purpose and adapt to the needs of the customer.

 

4. Data Rules the World. Digital mediums provide accountability.

Marketing and Operations have both hidden under the guise of revenue relativity. Where revenue is accepted as the metric for success rather than a final metric in a succession of mission-critical metrics. The tech community has made it possible for us to evaluate KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) in real-time. A flexible organization, equipped with the right processes, can literally make adjustments on the fly to influence these KPIs. All KPIs, therefore, should point to the final metric of success: PROFIT.

 

5. “Content is king and Context is God.” – Gary Vee

Is this re-affirming key principle number 2? Yes. But it’s speaking more to the positioning of messaging in the act of marketing. There aren’t many organizations that have bested the marketing of religions. In Christian religions, the bible is the medium, the content is Jesus (king) and his teachings, the context is the Logos necessary for reaching the worshiper. When approaching marketing it is your duty to act like the god of your audiences.

 

6. Convincing isn’t Sales. Matchmaking is Sales.

Sales 101 tells us that the key to sales is providing a solution – just as we discussed in key principle number 3. Positioning a brand to excite demand and increase revenue is not a matter of convincing non-believers. It’s a matter of finding more believers and strengthening the faith in your product. Therefore, sales are directly dependent on the proportion of the market whose values align with the values of your offering. When metrics are not optimal (defined in proportion to the market) the company must evaluate both its exposure and resonance within the marketplace.

7. Success = Understanding + Execution

Successful marketing management, especially social media management, requires a deep understanding and execution of the 6 key principles outlined here. The 7th key is to adopt keys 1-6 and integrate them into your core set of beliefs and methods.

 

I can’t stress enough how vital these keys are to your organization and its ability to succeed. If you don’t think you can attain this level of marketing prowess, do not fret. That is actually a good thing. You’re right. As Plato said, “Man was not made for himself alone.” You might be too busy to do it alone and if you really want to build a meaningful company (Link to come) it’s absurd to think you can do it alone. Doing it alone is for the self-employed – Building a team is for the business owner.

If you’re ready to hire someone to be your marketing manager, here’s a guide to doing just that (link to come).

Find Satori, my fellow Salesman.

 

Busy is the New Lazy.

Are You Too Busy for Business?

Busy work is a perception. For many of the entrepreneurs I meet, this concept of being busy is posed with negative discourse. There seems to be a correlation between an individual’s self-assessment of the work performed and the actual result in productivity. Within that correlation, the output is dependent on the entrepreneur’s priorities. The most productive people I know would never think that the concept of being busy constitutes as an acceptable excuse for limiting performance.

There are a number of effective methods and tools for increasing productivity. So many so there are blogs dedicated solely to the subject. Yet with all this information floating around for the taking, many entrepreneurs struggle to grasp the one fundamental truth that must be surpassed. If you’re wondering if you’ve learned this truth or not – maybe you need to hear this message as well:

You’re the Problem.

Once you can look in the mirror and say, “I’m the problem,” you are ready to begin your journey toward success.