Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Breaking through your Blind Spots

I had lunch the other day with a marketing consultant whom I admire very much. But one thing has always concerned me about her own marketing: she hides her light.

In her monthly newsletter, she expounds on high-falutin’ issues of the day and tells us stories about her encounters with bad customer service, lousy advertising, and other marketing miscues.

It’s entertaining reading, but there’s nothing there that speaks to her personal expertise. Any idiot with a typewriter and the time to shop or read could produce a newsletter like that (and many of them do!).

But Margie (not her real name) is a senior profesional who solves real problems for Grade A business clients. Her marketing never cites the work she’s doing – which to my mind is much more interesting than her opinions on mistakes made by big, impersonal companies that should know better but never do.

So halfway through the lunch I went for it. I asked why she never writes about the situations she encounters with clients, and how she helps solve them. Why not share the practical, road-tested solutions that she comes up with for her clients – many of which will apply to every reader of her newsletter?

I'd figured she had a reason. So imagine my surprise when Margie said she’d never thought of it.

To her credit, she saw the opportunity right away. Deal with typical problems faced by her readers, and share the solutions she’s been involved with. That’s solid information for her readers/prospects – and perfect positioning for her.

We discussed ways to tell these stories without compromising client confidentiality, which is paramount, and she left our lunch determined to make a breakthrough.

Think how simple this is to do. Break away from doing what you've been doing and ask yourself: what would my clients really like from me? What would constitute real value to them?

The point is that all of us have to keep learning. We have to push ourselves. And we have to be open to feedback and criticism.

And then, of course, we have to be prepared to use that information to create positive change.

The moral: Seek out more feedback. It could be the secret weapon that moves you ahead.

No comments: