How was your weekend? It was Labor Day weekend, so no papers, coupons, or crosswords to be had.
And on Labor Day, I should have said what I’ll say now–I’m eternally grateful for the brave men and women in our armed forces who risk (or have risked) their lives for the rest of us.
All right, let’s get to it.
A funny thing happened to me a couple months back (and not because this is the first Codex in quite a while).
I was shopping for a service. Internet service. The one I would eventually choose to have set up at home.
A couple things occurred to me during my several calls with this company, that could have landed me a juicy marketing gig, but didn’t. There are several factors, but in general, here they are:
- Don’t figure out what’s happening until it’s too late, and keep your eyes closed to the possibility of a gig. I’d looked at the website for this company, which gave me certain information. The postcard mailer I received gave out another set of information. Their website was really wild, and another story. But that all paled in comparison to the phone staff in the sales department, who gave me different information altogether about pricing, plans, and what-have-ya than either of the first two sources of info. This was a total disaster because I didn’t know which set of information was the correct one. Which leads me to…
- Realize you’re a prospect, and when you do, make a half-hearted attempt to help them based on your unique perspective. Obviously I was the prospect for this internet service because there I was, shopping for internet service. I would be the market on this one. This is a primo position to be in. To get info on a prospect’s pain, desires, and needs, all I’d have to do is think about myself (no interviewing, phone calls, or any of that stuff). My attempt wasn’t really half-hearted; I did try to help (by telling them the #1 benefit of their monthly program was being swamped by a bunch of other useless/outdated info–well, not in those terms, but you get the ideee). So we’ve got a website, postcard mailer, and sales staff all with different info working against each other, which needs to be straightened out (for a fee of course). And who better to do that than a potential client/prospect of the service?
- Have other things on your mind, instead of the matter at hand. After I told the sales guy about the big benefit they weren’t trumpeting, he said they had a marketing director, and he’d let them know about it. Which was fine. But I had a lawn to mow, darn it, and I didn’t want to take up all kinds of time on the phone with this guy.
Did anything come of this? No, although I did my questions answered about the internet service. And I’m not sure the phone sales guy could’ve/would’ve put me through to the marketing director if I had asked, or been able to do anything about it if I had decided to pitch my writing services to him. He wouldn’t have been the guy/gal to talk to.
Was my information/suggestion acted upon? I don’t know. I’m merely showing that opportunities can arise in the least likely of ways, and as writers, it’s awesome if we’re poised and ready to take advantage when they crop up.
And in case you’re wondering, this company I’m referring to (if I read things on their website correctly), brings in $125 million a year. With inconsistent messaging. Maybe to some potential clients that doesn’t matter, but they sure aren’t maximizing what they have to its fullest extent.
Could be that they would have said “Thanks for the idea(s), but we’ll take care of it” if I had persisted (and forgotten about the lawn for more than 15 minutes).
So, to get opportunities you don’t have to be pushy. Just look at things from the outside, figure out if they can be improved (and how), and make a few suggestions. But only enough to let potential clients know you know what you’re doing (without giving them 100% of the info, so they don’t need you–unless you couldn’t care less what they do with a solid suggestion you give them).
Until next time,