I was wrong!
"Be willing to listen to others and be teachable;
You're not right about everything... nobody is"
Okay! So, I was wrong!
Not always easy to admit is it? But, sometimes the only thing to do is admit it and immerse yourself in learning from it.
You see I began my 'quest' (in February 2014) to learn how to understand the intricacies of harnessing the power of social media to help me build my new business when we moved to Scotland. Since then I have been open to learning about and mastering so many new and previously unexpected tactics and skills. But having previously trained in 'sales', and done MLM back in the 1980's, in some pretty regimented systems, I was very clear from the start on my quest that I wasn't going to spend my time and money working with, or listening to, the people that talked to me about Sales and Marketing 'Machines'.
For me the phrase 'Sales Machine' transported me straight back to the 1980's and to those people who valued the 'sale' above all else. There was a significant element of the people that I worked with back then who had a lack of true engagement and care about the customer which didn't sit well with my own beliefs, values and style. My experience back then left me with a very nasty taste in my mouth about sales people and many sales techniques. So, when I began to explore how to market my new business, after more than 23 years of never having to advertise my services, I was clear the 'Sales Machine' guys were not going to be on my list of people to learn from. A 'Sales Machine' was not going to be included within my Plan!
Fast forward to 2018.
My new Business here in Scotland was going well, in fact very well. Better than we could ever have hoped for. But it was time to step things up a notch.
I was following all of the new tactics and strategies that I had learned in the previous 4 years of my quest, and the things that my 36 years in Business had taught me. But I had reached a point where I needed to leverage my business assets (the products that I had created and my personal time) in order to scale up in the way that I knew my business was meant to.
It was then that I reached out to a colleague of mine, a leader in his field of marketing, to see how he could help me take these next steps. Formally working with my friend this closely was going to be a significant investment in my future business potential but I knew it was the right thing to do.
In our first meeting I outlined who our Ideal Customer Avatar was for each of the products and services that we offered. I shared the process that we followed to attract our customers; the platforms that we used; and gave an overview of content strategy; and our success rate.
After complimenting us on how well we had done to date, my friend looked at me and said 'the solution to the next phase of your growth is simple - we need to create your marketing machine'. You can imagine the level of heart-sink that I felt at that moment!
Have A Plan And Hold It Lightly
My friend went on to explain what he meant. My friendship and respect for him made me listen to him carefully, looking for the redeeming elements in what he was going to tell me.
By 'machine' he was referring to an automated approach to consistently attract my ideal customers, giving me a constant stream of new leads.
Using the content that I already created in a much more structured way; reviewing more closely what was really 'working' for me and what wasn't. Contrary to my previous beliefs it was not going to create a mammoth 'spam-fest'; it was not some sleazy 'sales(y)' process that would contradict my values and principles.
It made total sense - I mean total sense!
It was clear that this was my next step and far from meaning I had to become the type of 'sales person' that I had spent so long running away from it would actually mean that I could reach far more people with the valuable lessons; I would be able to focus more of my personal time on the things that I was best at and my business would be able to grow to it's next level.
If I could step aside from my pre-conceptions; and prejudices I could see my next phase panning out in front of me!
So, what's the lesson here?
Well, it could be that every successful Business needs its own version of a 'sales / Marketing Machine' - which I now firmly to believe to be true.
It could be that you should always 'have a plan and hold it lightly' so as not to let past experience stop you from capitalising on the brilliant opportunities that may manifest in front of you. But actually for me it's simple really:
It reminds me that every idea; every concept; every business or sales model; everything in life or business, can be used for good or for (let's be generous here in our categorisation) 'not so good'.
It's up to us to choose how we harness things, and what we do with them.
All too often we create boxes around ourselves that we think are a protection mechanism. We lock in our strongly held beliefs. But maybe, just maybe, sometimes we need to review these beliefs, stretch our boundaries and trust that we will be able do what is right; make good choices for ourselves; our loved ones and our customers and to thrive outside of this box.
So, are you holding any beliefs or pre-conceptions that may be holding you and your Business back?
Perhaps it is time to break free from them and take your next giant step forward?
Until next week,