Working in inbound marketing can be frustrating because its precepts – which work so well, when applied conscientiously – are foreign to traditional business practices. They’re the opposite of marketing tactics we grew up with. They sound suspiciously soft-hearted, on first encounter. Therefore, very few people know and hold to them.
It’s frustrating when, as an inbound marketer, you consider warm responsiveness to be basic to good business, for example, but you realize that very few of your vendors and colleagues hold that value. Unless you serve an immediate need of theirs, you won’t get a response from them at all.
Or when you work hard on good listening skills, and then realize the other person’s awareness doesn’t extend any further than the end of their nose.
Or when you generously give, and then suddenly see that your gifts are taken for granted or even resented.
Or how about this one: you realize the person you’re talking to is completely possessed by fear of identity theft, not to mention AIDS, drugs, crime, terrorists, and Bigfoot, and can’t hear a word you’re saying about sharing and openness on the internet.
If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you know I’m involved in an ongoing campaign to spread the good word about inbound marketing in my local area. But sometimes the gap in understanding leaves me gasping.
- Be open about who you are personally?
- Give things away?
- Forget privacy paranoia?
- Mix business and social life?
- Publish my journal in a blog?
These things are anathema in the American South. Still.
So I get disheartened, sometimes, like the Congresswoman yesterday who remarked that philosophical differences between the sides were so great in the immigration discussions that no meeting of the minds seems possible.
On the other hand, I know inbound marketing is here to stay. How do I know that? Because it works, and the old invasive techniques increasingly do not work.
There’s one fellow I know from local networking, whom I have seen at meetings for a couple years now, though we haven’t spoken personally much. I regarded him as a master with the elevator speech, and an accomplished socializer, definitely part of the glue keeping the groups together. Not until today did I learn that he considers himself a student in, as he puts it, “learning how to talk to people.” He’s probably 55 or 60 years old; was a firefighter all his career; only recently turned to selling. There was a look in his eye as he spoke, and the spellbinding clarity of his intention. He is curious about “how to talk to people,” and that means he listens, and gives, and serves, and keeps an open mind. Awe-inspiring.
So there, I’ve now convinced myself that all is not lost, and I can go on preaching the inbound marketing gospel to the insurance agents and realtors in my local groups. If my fireman gets it, maybe many more can and will.
What do you think?