Have you ever noticed (or is it just me) that the people you actually "market" to aren't the ones who actually respond? In my worlds (‘ritin' and real estate), I find that the bulk of my business comes from those who have not received any direct sales pitch from me. Either I'm a lousy sales-pitcher (very possible) or maybe (just maybe), people don't want to be sales pitched.
Here's an example. A few weeks ago I got a call from a lender with whom I've done a little business the past. Just your basic catching-up call, prospecting, I'm sure. Well, I happen to know that this lender does a lot of seminars for local Realtors and since I'm also in the seminars-for-Realtors business, I asked him if he'd be interested in bringing me along on one and letting me say a few words. He hemmed and hawed and changed the subject (I'll take that as a NO). Now, I get asked to speak all the time (particularly by lenders), so I don't think what I offered was too far out of line; in fact, I thought my offer might be greeted with enthusiasm. Uh, no.
In my real estate business, I know for sure that when (in the past), I've outright asked for business - either in a self-promotional mailing or local advertising, I can count on zero hands how many positive responses I got. But I do GET business - it just comes in organically - that is - people hear about me or meet me or stumble onto my blog and THEN pursue me. And, often hire me or buy my stuff.
This is somewhat comforting, yet irritating to me at the same time. Hey, I spend perfectly good money getting my name out there, so when my marketing efforts crash and burn, I'm pretty darn annoyed. Believe me; I had plenty of other uses for that money!
But, of course, I find myself doing the same thing. I delete inbox SPAM with a vengeance and often ignore (or politely decline) invitations to cross-link my site with others. I certainly use TV commercial time to check my email or refill my wine glass. I never look at the promotional material that clutters up my mailbox or Oprah Magazine and I toss out all the inspection and carpet-cleaning brochures that fill up my inbox at RE/MAX. I can't say that I give a second glance to the gawd-awfully expensive advertising that covers the pages of my Realtor Magazine. I hang up on cold-callers.
So, what's the alternative to aggressive self-promotion? Stay tuned for MY thoughts on the matter... but please share yours!