I’m borrowing from a conversation I had with my friend Drew yesterday. He said, “I can be your personal trainer, but if you stop at McDonald’s after every workout, I can’t help you.”
Let me clarify: Drew is not my personal trainer. And I don’t go to McDonald’s.
We were talking about business counsel, marketing plans, social strategy and the advice we provide to businesses trying to be successful. Drew is right; our firm can provide good counsel, a solid marketing plan and sound advice but if our clients have a bad product, or get distracted from their mission and the purpose of their business, we’re not going to be successful. How frustrating it must be for personal trainers who realize their clients are loading up on burgers and fries as soon as they step off the treadmill. Fortunately, the burgers and fries don’t lie; you can’t hide the lack of commitment to your business and its communications efforts any more than you can hide extra pounds.
It astounds me that businesses (or people hiring personal trainers, for that matter) are willing to spend money on counsel they ignore . . . but then I look at all the industries that are based on helping people who refuse to help themselves and I think, baby steps are sometimes all businesses can take. If we can make a difference in your internal understanding and communications and that helps your business learn to focus enough on the inside, it will affect your external communications for the better. If we can help you get your messaging solidified, nailed down and agreed upon, then consistency of your brand will be created. If we can tackle just 30 minutes on that treadmill and you ordering a salad at McDonald’s once in awhile, we’ll call it success in progress.
Businesses, like people, don’t change overnight.
oh my you’re preaching to the choir and in my head again. I’m only a little over two years into this, but I’ve learned a lot about clients. I’m doing a much better job now of understanding up front which businesses “get it” and which don’t. I’m in a situation now where I’m part of a team that made a solid pitch, created a great communications program, but we knew up front that the client, which is made up of about a dozen businesses, was sold…but not sold. We are nearing the end of a one-year contract and WE are going to pull the plug on it. Why? Because we told them up front that they would only get out of this what they would put into it. And only 1 or 2 of them understood that. We know that when the year is up, they’re going to say, “Well, we didn’t see any results”. But when you send them all weekly emails with tips and requests, and get no responses from 90% of them, of course you see very little in the way of results.
Thankfully, there are businesses who DO get it and are willing to put the time and effort into making things work. One such client of mine is @BestRoofer . He understands and puts in the time and effort, understanding he won’t see overnight results.
For the record I am NOT a personal trainer! As a matter of fact, I should probably do myself a favor and get one! But the analogy works very well. Much like @KenMueller , I have had to look at someone I was working with and simply say ‘I can give you the tools, I can teach you how to use them, but I can’t force you to. If you choose not to use them that does not mean they don’t work, stop making excuses.’ Especially in tougher economic times the people that ‘make it’ are the people who accept control of the things they can control and don’t make excuses. Those that flounder are the ones who will always find a “reason” (ue an excuse) as to why they aren’t succeeding without looking in the mirror.
I think that there is a certain section of folks who think that part of the game is to try to get others to force them to take care of themselves, and by extension their businesses, cars, houses. It’s like a blind spot, a power struggle that they are not aware of. They need a special invitation, and then only comply begrudgingly. These are the folks who have to be told eleven times to return their seats to the upright position when the plane is preparing to land. I don’t think they know, and they need help to be made aware by someone who is not afraid to really assist.
I remember thinking about this when my son was really young, and I was tempted to force him to eat something he didn’t like. It helped me refrain from doing that, and setting up that struggle-dynamic in the formative years. What happened, though, was that if he didn’t eat what was offered, he didn’t eat. Consequence. Looking back, I was raised like that, too. We are both self-starters – as were my parents.
Maybe that stuff runs deep, and we need lots of rewards at first to unlearn it – especially in a world that tells us that all we have to do is spend the cash on weight loss supplements, and we’ll be fit in no time.
Can’t wait to reference this Monday!