“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. ~ Matthew 23: 3-7
Ever see a puppy enter a room?
It runs around licking everyone, rolling over to get its belly scratched. It’s tail wags and it’s so excited it pee’s on the floor. The more excited it gets, the more it wants to be noticed and pretty soon it’s running up to EVERYONE in the room looking for attention.
Everyone thinks the puppy is so damn cute. Everyone scratches behind it’s ears and ooo’s and ahhh’s.
Did ya ever notice though that at the end of the night no one takes the puppy home?
It’s cute but we’re not interested in having a dog right now!
I want something a bit bigger.
I wonder if there’s anything smaller.
(Pssst. We’re the puppy!)
I am not sure if there were puppies running around two thousand years ago when Matthew wrote the parable of the seed, but it brings the point home.
Are we any different from the puppy in how we market ourselves and our services?
We start out with a super duper idea and we convince our selves that the entire galaxy, past, present and future not only wants it but NEEDS it.
A sort of throw it up there and see if any of it sticks. We’ll work out the details later on.
We build a book, a list, a Rolodex, shoot I don’t care whatcha call it! It’s names. The more names you have the better chance you have of creating a relationship.
Relationships can turn into sales.
Sales can turn into revenue.
Easy-peasey lemon squeezy. Right?
The farmer in the parable walked out the front door and started sowing his seed. Not a lot of thought, just following conventional wisdom. Throw your seed far and wide, go home, light a candle and wait for results.
The seed in our story is like our latest and greatest idea. A new product launch, a webinar, a coaching offer. Like the puppy, we are so excited we want to tell everyone because everyone needs what we are offering. Right?
A lot of that seed never germinated. It lays there, (Like so many unopened e-mails maybe?) until the birds came and snatched it up. (Everything in your deleted folder will be permanently emptied every thirty days.)
Do you know that most email providers believe a twenty five percent engagement rate, which means only one fourth of the people you reach out to, actually are curious enough to lake a little look-see? Hell, even major league baseball defines stardom at a thirty percent rate! ( I hit sixty percent once and threw a party!)
More of the seed reached the ground and was allowed to germinate but it either wasn’t fed and watered or other seeds choked it out. It hung around for a bit and then withered and died. We meet someone at a networking event or at a meeting and we add their business card to our ever growing list.
There’s a problem. Those folks MIGHT remember us. Those folks MIGHT open our emails and they MIGHT even read them. They MIGHT meet us for coffee. They MIGHT schedule a discovery session. Long term? Those folks aren’t in it for the long haul. We are not on their radar. Their first contact comes more from curiosity than from need.
Who the hell is John Jurkiewicz and why does he keep emailing me? Hmmm……. Ah, there it is, the unsubscribe link.
They are not bad people.
They just ain’t our people.
They are someones people but not ours. Capeesh?
Expecting business or any sort of relationship to develop from a few emails and a free gift offer is like betting the mortgage payment on a 99 to 1 shot at the track. There’s a chance! A slim chance but a chance. (We just keep telling ourselves that. It’s a mantra of sorts.)
Finally some of the seed manages to fall on good ground, germinates, and produces results. Those are the folks we cultivate relationships with. We get to know them. We find out what we have in common and most importantly can WE help THEM.
Sometimes I think we get it bass-akward. We get all caught up in what the pooh-roo’s are doing. (If you haven’t read many of my epistles a pooh-ru is exactly what it implies: Someone pumping out a whole bunch of pooh just to make money.) When they market themselves as being successful in their area of expertise we believe we have to do what they do.
Monkey see, monkey do.
But if you take the time to notice in Mathews parable, the seed that fell on good ground produced a bumper crop, over and over.
Here’s the dull and boring business part.
Why pay for a bag of seed that potentially 90% will go to waste? Wouldn’t it be better to spend a fraction on just enough seed to attract who we’re looking for as the person who is going to buy, love and ultimately cherish our service or product?
Doesn’t it make sense in cultivating relationships with folks who share our same vision of life, the universe and the world?
Aren’t those people more apt to share who you are, what you do and how you can help them with other people they know who embrace the same values that you embrace?
Over eighty percent of my coaching clients come from referrals. I’ve developed that success because I work really hard at establishing a relationship with every new person I meet.
They keep waiting for the sales pitch, the squeeze, the upsell. When it doesn’t come they are more apt to relax and engage with me.
I’m going to share a technique I use when I meet with someone for the first time and many of you have never met me, so you qualify! 🙂
I ask questions
Okay here it comes. If I were a bit more savvy when it comes to technology I’d do some music or thunder crashing or something like that.
While I’m doing all of the above I am scanning the amazing hard drive God presented me at birth, AKA, my brain. I am looking for a way to help the person with a situation they are having a problem with.
It may be a connection, a resource, or a solution to their situation. Something tangible, something real!
It’s not a tease. I don’t give them just enough to keep coming back for more (God, I hate when people do that to. Ya either care about me or ya don’t! Know what I mean Vern?)
There are no strings attached. I just don’t pump out a bunch of BS any moron with an internet connection and a phone could look up on their own. I give them hands on, valuable information based on my knowledge and experiences.
Then I wait. (Imagine a clock ticking or the final Jeopardy theme music playing in the back ground.)
I always get a response.
Sometimes it’s just a Thanks so much John and I never hear from them again. (See the seed failing to germinate. To use technical terms They aint my people.)
Sometimes it’s a I’d like to meet with you again, but right now my schedule is full. There is a lot of value in what you shared with me but right now I feel I’d be better served making my investment elsewhere.
It’s like Zig Ziglar once said: If you want to understand how people think all your have to do is look at a plate of bacon and eggs. The chicken made a contribution. The pig made a commitment.
Finally, there are the people who come back and want to know more, want to test me a bit. Are you the real deal or did you do this to squeeze me into an up sell? We meet again and then I let them ask ME, Talk to me about your coaching packages.
Just like the T.V. shows that save the world with forty one minutes of content, this relationship doesn’t happen in the blink of an eye. It takes weeks or months to cultivate.
It’s the seed that often produces a bumper crop.
So let me ask you: Where are you sowing your seeds?
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