Archive for July 27th, 2011

“Am I tough enough to succeed in the cut-throat business world?”

I was on a Webinar today where I missed the audio because of a simultaneous client call. One quick line flashed across the screen, though: “Create a competitor wall when trying to close new business.” Hmm … what exactly is a competitor wall?

Now I’m not sure MY presenter had the same thing in mind, but a search on the Google lead me to the concept of a poster you hang on an actual wall with all your competitors on it: their branding, logos, missions, clients … you get the picture. Every detail you can unearth about who your competitors are and how they distinguish themselves from each other and from you.

Here’s an interesting segment from an article titled “Never Stop Looking Over Your Shoulder,” about keeping tabs on your competitors:

When you find something [your competitors are doing that] you can do easily, that’s great. But be really interested when you find something that would be hard to do. It might be hard because of technical or practical difficulties. Or hard to do because it would destroy businesses (or revenue) that you already have. But that’s what makes it attractive as a strategy. It won’t be easy for the competition either. 

The point of this – and all the other talk of competition? To motivate you to stop at nothing to climb over those competitors, conquer them, and land the next client. This idea might really be resonating with some of you. Other than that single passage, the concept didn’t resonate with me … at all. In fact, in not resonating with me, it led me a direction I don’t usually travel … to wonder if I’ve really got what it takes to succeed in business, because I have NEVER resonated with that message of “Conquer your competitors before they conquer you!”

Here’s my problem with belief in competitors: it comes from a place of lack. This whole idea of competition stems from the belief that there is a finite amount of business to be had, and if I don’t CONQUER the others in my industry, they will TAKE something from me. I have always believed that we live in an abundant universe, which means there is more than enough for all of us. The challenge in the business/marketing world is that this puts me at odds with the “never stop looking over your shoulder” mentality.

I’ll admit my way is NOT for everyone. But it’s the only thing that works for ME. And that’s what I encourage you to do – find the way that works for YOU. We can have all the clever names (SBM/Savvy Book Marketer) and cute cartoons in the world … but at the end of the day, the only marketing that will work for you is marketing that works for you.

If I tell you to blog, blog, blog, but you can’t/won’t/don’t blog – for whatever reason – blogging is not going to work for you. Video works great for some people/businesses; others never get it off the ground. Find the marketing strategies that work for your book, and use them to your best advantage. Please note the word strategIES. As we’ve mentioned in the past, a diffuse approach really works best, because certain segments of your market will respond better to certain marketing approaches, while other segments will be more aligned with something else altogether. Underneath it all, though, your marketing plan has to work for you.

So, in answer to my own question, it’s not about being too nice or too tough. It’s about being focused, committed, strategic, action-oriented, and comfortable in your own skin. I may look around regularly to see what others in my industry are doing – both to learn from them and to take note of where I fall in the offerings, but I will never take the anxiety-prone approach of always looking over my shoulder to see who’s gaining on me. I’ve got too many things in front of me that need my attention.

Happy marketing!



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