Monday, September 28, 2009

Be Good Marketing

I first heard the term "Be Good Marketing" from Jane Atkinson, a speaker's agent and author.

Jane is the author of The Wealthy Speaker. It's an excellent book if you're a speaker. But like most good books, it has gems that apply to any business. (My bias is that anything I read can help me improve some part of my life or business.)

In The Wealthy Speaker, Jane points out that you can rely on fact sheets and agents and videos to promote yourself. But no amount of marketing machinery will make up for a bad speech. So job #1 is to Be Good at What You Do.

This seems obvious, but it's not. I talk to lots of people across several continents. In person, by webinar, conference call, and on the phone. There are a LOT of people who are working very hard to be good at what they do. Luckily for me, those are most of the people I interact with. After all, I probably met them at a training or a seminar of some kind.

But there are plenty of other people out there NOT working on being good at what they do.

This is a real marketing opportunity for you.

I've told the story before about one of the most alarming quotes I ever saw. It was 1998 and Windows 98 had just been released. The prospect brought me in to side check a quote she'd received. She asked me whether it made sense to buy ten new machines, un-install Windows 98, and install Windows 95 because it was more "known" and more stable. I laughed.

She showed me the quote.

Dude was actually going to charge her for 20 hours labor to un-install an absolutely brand new operating system and install an obsolete operating system because he was more comfortable with it.

You're Not Paid to Be Comfortable. You're not paid to live in the past. You're not paid to make your clients wait on new technology until you get around to learning it.

You are paid to be good at what you do. So be good! Buy those books. Attend those seminars. Get the software, install it, learn it, and take yourself to the next level. If you want to sit on your butt and do the same thing for the next ten years, this is not the business for you.

And - truth be told - there aren't any such businesses. Maybe technology moves faster than most, but all businesses are now evolving faster than ever before. OUR business - technology - is forcing every other business to speed up. So whatever you choose to do, you need to focus on being GOOD at what you do.

You can wear old clothes, drive an old car, and have an old haircut. But you can't turn back the clock when it comes to your profession.

The future is in hosted solutions. You need to use them. You need to learn them. You need to sell them. You need to get good at them.

Be Good - It's the best marketing you have.

Of course you need to be nice. You need to have some business sense. You need to treat people well. Those all come with the territory. But you can have the best "machine" around for delivering service and it will all be trumped by lack of technical skills.

Unfortunately, you can't really have a marketing campaign that says "Is your I.T. guy really just an incompetent moron?" That wouldn't reflect very well on you.

But you can do your job really well and then ask for referrals. Treat your clients right and then ask them to tell their friends. Don't belabor the point when you one-up the another technician. Believe in your heart that the client gets it. In other words . . . Be good.


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