“But We CAN’T Do That…”

A while ago in a seminar I was hosting, I shared a campaign we’ve given to our members that is a perennial, consistent winner. It was a multimedia prospecting campaign that included direct mail, telemarketing, e-mail and LinkedIn messages. The letter had a grabber at the top that consisted of a packet of aspirin, tying in to the headline “Is your current IT company giving you a headache?”

Later, a woman who was in the audience wrote me saying she would never send that campaign out because it was too “hokey” for her clients (who she insisted were “different”). She also pointed out that stapling the aspirin to the top of the letter punctured the package, making it non-sterile, and if anyone then took the aspirin and got sick, the person who sent the letter would get in trouble. She also didn’t like the “tone” of the letter, stating she would never bad-mouth her competition that way. (And besides that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?)

So, I pointed out that this campaign has been used by hundreds of clients with great success, showing empirical evidence that it brings in high-quality clients and new opportunities when implemented correctly. I shared with her 5 case studies of clients using it, sending out very small quantities to a VERY cold list and getting $50,000 to $100,000 or more in new recurring revenue. I thought that settled it. It did not… She replied that she would rather “get no leads” than send this out. So, here are the three big points I want to make about this:

1. When you’re running a business, RESULTS need to be the determining factor in whether or not you will do something. Not your feelings, not your opinions, not personal preferences, not what you like or don’t like. RESULTS. If you are running a business and are making decisions based on anything other than what produces tangible, positive results, you won’t be successful and you won’t grow. Ever. If sending out bags of dog poop worked better than sending anything else, you should be willing to build a barn in the back of your office to round up a bunch of big dogs who produce huge turds, and feed them constantly, all while holding your nose if necessary.

2. There is no money to be made in coming up with reasons why something won’t work. Any dummy can identify problems or find reasons why something won’t work. Excuses are FREE. It takes genius to find ways to MAKE deals work and GET things done. Of course, I’m not suggesting you do anything illegal or immoral. In the example above, we are not doing anything illegal or immoral. Edgy perhaps, but mild compared to more elaborate actions that could be taken.

3. If anyone around you, particularly those you employ and PAY to solve problems, comes to you too often and tells you, “We can’t do that because…,” exile them immediately. They are a detriment to all success. That “We can’t do this because” mantra is a rotting attitude that cannot be fixed easily because that’s the way many have been trained to think – in limitations. They only see the obstacles in everything. You don’t need that person on your payroll mucking things up. You need to find, recruit and surround yourself with people who find ways and reasons why something WILL work. People with tenacity. Flexible minds and a willingness to get the job done.

As a final note, be careful dispelling advice to people (or taking them as clients) with similar “We can’t do that” attitudes. There’s no fixing them. As soon as I hear the “We can’t do that in our business,” or “We tried that and it didn’t work,” or “We can’t afford to do that” mentality, I shut up and get the hell out of there, fast. I suggest you do the same.