It was so frustrating. It was like everyone else was from a different planet. There wasn’t a single person who “got it.”
My first info-marketing business targeted the association industry. I promoted a product teaching associations how they could recruit and retain more members.
For 10 years I attended events where association executives got together. I spoke at many events, and I became known within the community.
While some of them wanted to understand, few of them had any idea what direct marketing was all about. I started to get frustrated easily. After what seemed to be the thousandth time explaining long copy versus short copy or writing with a conversational tone versus a corporate institutional voice, I got fed up. I made the ultimate mistake.
I didn’t make this mistake once. No, I repeated it over and over again for years.
The first time was innocent enough. The association executives’ annual meeting conflicted with a Dan Kennedy mastermind meeting. Easy enough, I’m attending the Dan Kennedy meeting and skipping the association event. I felt at home with the other Dan Kennedy mastermind group members.
A few months later, another association event came up. I skipped it. Then I skipped another and another. It was always a different excuse, always a good reason—another event, an important project, another priority that took precedence. Plus, those association people were so frustrating to speak with because they didn’t “get it.”
Five years went by before I finally showed up at another association event. Few people knew who I was anymore. I had made myself irrelevant.
Here’s a market in which I had made a lot of money for several years. By ignoring it, I’d let a profitable well go dry. I felt I was too good for the room. Now it was as if I didn’t exist.
I see this happen to info-marketers all the time.
They get swamped with ideas and fall behind on their reading; their first impulse is to cancel their subscriptions so they can catch up. But that cuts them off from the flow of ideas that will take their businesses and their lives forward.
Some people get tired of going to events. They tell me “I don’t like this event anymore; they just sell, sell, sell.” I have to smile to myself because I know the event hasn’t changed; they’ve changed. It’s the same event with the same amount of selling. It’s just they’ve learned a lot more, have seen more and have a new perspective now.
The answer isn’t to stop attending but to learn from the event at a new level. Start studying what the speakers do to sell, what they offer and how the event is choreographed. Besides, staying home cuts you off from the stream of ideas and the relationships you can benefit from to grow your business.
We all get frustrated with our own markets. We attend the same silly events and shake our heads at how folks “don’t get it.” It seems like we are from a different planet. And yet our presence at those events and our constant explanation of the basics help to establish us as people to be followed.
It’s easy for us info-marketers to cut ourselves off from others. To become too swamped to subscribe, too busy to attend or too good for the room to show up. There are several side effects of that decision we don’t realize at first.
First, it gets us out of the flow of ideas. While it appears to give us time to focus on the projects at hand, it shuts us off from the new projects and ideas that will enable us to keep growing. After all, bringing in new ideas is the entrepreneur’s primary role in our businesses.
Next, we lose the connections. The vendors who can get work implemented more quickly, the person we can do a joint venture with or the customer who wants to move from client to referral source. These connections happen because we show up.
Finally, it shuts us off from customers. In every room there are people who may want to work with us but are not attracted by our sales materials. These people need to see and hear from us directly. That’s why they went to the meeting—to find a resource, to locate the person who is going to help them. If we stop attending, we’ll cut ourselves off from all of those opportunities.
Conflicts crop up. You and I cannot attend everything we should attend. You and I cannot read everything we should read.
And yet, as you and I make the decisions of where to prioritize our time, it’s very dangerous to cut ourselves out of the stream of information and events. Businesses need a steady stream of ideas, connections and customers to grow. Those don’t come from building a fortress around ourselves. That stream is created by showing up and participating where we need to be, even when it’s not where we want to be.
What do you think? Do you get frustrated when attending events within your industry? How do you make your choices of where you spend your time? Or, do you disagree and have a better way? Scroll down to the bottom to leave me a comment. I read every comment and reply when appropriate.