There are a couple of idioms that I don’t buy into.
- Everyone is in sales
Not everyone is in sales. If you live and die by a quota, if you’ve driven far distances for meetings that are canceled at the last minute, if you know what it’s like to count on commission to eat, and you know what 3rd prize is in the Mitch and Murray sales contest, you are in sales. Otherwise, you are sales support.
- There are no stupid questions
How is that possible? There re plenty of stupid people, people say stupid things, stupid is as stupid does, there must be stupid questions. The idiom would have us believe that the wherewithal to ask, is what voids the stupidity from the query – the sentiment is wrong, questions asked that are devoid of forethought are often stupid, or at the very least stupid to ask.
As a professional keynote speaker, I have spoken in front of tens of thousands of people, but the most memorable moments are not when I speak to the audience, it’s when the audience speaks to me.
I am not one of those speakers that disappear backstage after the keynote is over. I like to be accessible to the audience for as long as they can stand being around me. I step off the stage and answer questions one-on-one until the last question has been answered, it’s my responsibility to the audience and it makes me a better speaker.
Having been a speaker that specializes in marketing, sales and customer behavior, I’m often hired to speak to audiences that are in the trenches, those that roll their sleeves up every day to make businesses happen. Most often I get great questions that are more than worthy of being asked, but sometimes I get a clunker that makes me tilt my head and think, “really, are you really saying that?”
One example is when someone asks me why their marketing isn’t working (and I quote), “because I don’t have any competition”.
There was a time when I was a younger speaker with a song of wonderment in my heart, when I saw the world as a sunshiny place, you know, back when I still had hope, when I’d entertain a concept of a world of competitor free commerce – not anymore. Today, that question initiates an internal needle scratch across the record of my mind and triggers a look of bewilderment and disappointment in the human condition.
If you have no competition, you have no need for marketing. People would beat a path to your door.
If the path to your door remains unbeaten, you either,
- Have competition
- Your selling something no one wants
- Selling it wrong (which includes marketing it wrong).
I’ve run a top ital marketing agency for the last 20 years, I’ve spoken to thousands of companies across practically every industry on the planet, and have yet to speak to anyone that did not have competitors, and I’ve always been able to prove it.
Yes, you’re unique and special just like your mom said, but try and understand that although the look of the competition may not be apples to apples, I guarantee they’re not apple to curling irons. Karate schools compete with Girl Scouts.
Competitors don’t have to look like you to take customers from you.