So Uninformed It’s Scary

During a conversation with a sponsor prospect looking to invest a LOT of money with us, I asked, “What do you know about us and what we do?” His answer: “Very little, but I know when you tell people to buy stuff, they do.”

The SALESPERSON in me likes that answer because it’s proof the marketing is working. That IS what I want him to believe about me, and it has the advantage of actually being true. I do have influence. However

My thought was that this guy is not too bright and has demonstrated a serious, unforgivable sin: being intellectually lazy. If I was going to spend a big chunk of money with any organization, I’d want to do a bit more due diligence. Perhaps digging around the website, talking to other clients, asking for specifics and details on results. But most people do NOT do such due diligence, much less invest all that much time into becoming educated about really big, really important things.

If you probe someone about certain issues and ask why they believe what they believe, you’ll almost always discover most don’t have many (if any) FACTS about a situation and are basing their opinions on how they FEEL. They lack critical information, yet come to firm conclusions based on random “bits” of information that have floated their way (not that they have actually researched). Then, with very limited knowledge, they make important decisions. Worse yet, once they form that opinion, they are VERY reluctant to hear or see anything that opposes it that might open their eyes to being wrong, and only see those things that support what they’ve already decided they want to believe.

There are two critical points about this: First, as a salesperson and marketer, you have to realize HOW PEOPLE FEEL about an issue is FAR MORE IMPORTANT than the facts; yet too many MSPs try to influence, persuade and sell based on facts and information – two things prospects might say they want, but actually don’t. They don’t want to know the stack of tools and software you use. They don’t care what RMM tool you use or the fact that you back everything up with a particular vendor. They don’t want to know the details of how you do what you do. What they want is SOMEONE THEY CAN TRUST who will simply TELL THEM WHAT TO DO.

Even SMART people who ought to know better do this. They are astoundingly uninformed and do not want to correct their ignorance. That’s why fact-based case making, on its own, is insufficient. I recommend you read my friend Chris Voss’s book, Never Split The Difference, and see why being able to succinctly articulate how the other side feels, no matter how irrational, uninformed and incorrect it is, is a BREAKTHROUGH in a negotiation.

Second point: As an entrepreneur and business owner, YOU MUST BE SMARTER THAN AVERAGE. This means you should not assume you “know” something based on how you feel about it or with very limited experience. YOU need to be smarter and more diligent about fact-finding before coming to hard conclusions and making critical decisions.

When I poll people in an event and ask, “How many of you have tried direct mail?” a large number of hands will go up. If I continue to poll, I’ll find most aren’t continuing to do it because “it didn’t work.” Then I’ll ask them how many books they read or how much research they conducted on how to make direct mail work. NO ONE raises their hand to that question. Is it any wonder it didn’t work? Would you want me to attempt to install and set up a server for you if I’ve never done it before and never read a single book or attended a single training session? Would you be surprised if I failed? Would you think I was smart if I insisted that “servers don’t work” if I had done it wrong?

As stupid as this behavior is, I see it ALL the time with business owners who are attempting to implement a marketing plan I’ve given them – they skim over (or wholly ignore) the instructions, change what they don’t like or they feel isn’t necessary, mucking up the entire campaign and THEN saying, “It doesn’t work.” No information. No facts. Just WAG (wild-ass guesses) and opinions. Scary.

Want to be educated? Then join us at one of the last two remaining IT Marketing Roadshow events: www.ITmarketingRoadshow.com.