I recently had an epic lunch with Ann Handley (aka @MarketingProfs) at one of my favorite places, Angelo’s in Stoneham, MA. If you know me even a little, then you know that I don’t understand the term “grab a quick bite.” As we were coming to the end of multiple courses, Ann said something that clicked with me immediately. Let me back up for a minute, because it’s important to know that throughout the lunch, Ann was suggesting a variety of ideas to help with my book, Winning the Customer. She was being genuinely supportive and I wanted to reciprocate, so I told her that I could help her out in various ways, especially in Boston, and that if anything came up, “Think of me first.”
That is when Ann looked at me, pointed, and said, “That should be your next book ~ or at least your next blog post.” I had met Ann only a couple of times, and we haven’t known each other for very long, but she instantly knew that statement comes out of my mouth often and is a big part of my philosophy. When you think of it, it really should be a part of everyone’s make up in very individual and specific ways. As you are marketing your brand, whether it be corporate or individual, your goal is to separate yourself from the rest of the pack in your particular area or specialty. If you are doing your job correctly, people will think of you first in your area of expertise.
Such a simple statement, yet it is a very powerful message if it is done the right way and is genuine. I believe Ann knew that I was being absolutely sincere with my offer and knew I could do what I said, and that’s why she suggested I write about it. It’s not that the concept is a breakthrough in marketing practices; it’s the manner and disciplines behind it. Lots of folks claim they can and will help you. There are so many organizations standing up and shouting that they can help, claiming that they are the best and you should spend your money with them, for they will lead you to the Promised Land. Just because statements are made doesn’t mean they are truthful. If you are truly going to be the person or organization that consumers and clients think of first, you have to back it up with substance and not just stake a claim to an area because it is the next opportunity to potentially generate some revenue.
I think of all the self-proclaimed social media “experts” and “gurus” out there charging people money to assist them with social media techniques and strategies. If Malcolm Gladwell is correct in his book, Outliers, stating that it takes ten thousand hours to master an area, then how is it possible for all of these self-promoters to actually be real experts? There are some great go-to people in social media, but not nearly as many as there are making claims. The key to all of this is that you can’t just say you will be the solution for someone in a particular area and then not deliver. Well, I guess you can make the statement, but after you do not come through on your promise, why would people want to think of you first? Those are powerful words that come with great responsibility if you truly want them to matter.
In Winning the Customer, we go into great depth about the disciplines necessary to always do what you say you are going to do. If you feel that substance is important in your approach, I promise that you will like the book. By the way, you don’t have to wait until September, you can pre-buy it now on Amazon. Just click on the button right there next to this post. Yes, there on the right.
When someone tells you, “think of me first,” I recommend that you always refer back to the individual’s track record, and not just the marketing spin that hooks you. If you want folks to think of you first, you first have to do what you say you can do. Ok, now click on the Amazon button and thank you.