Atilus Blog: Profit Redesigned

What Dating Can Teach You About Marketing

Dating & BusinessA couple of weeks ago I was stood up for a date. Let’s start at the beginning.

I asked a “nice” young lady for her number. Let’s call her Lucy. After a few phone conversations, and coffee I invited her to my place for dinner later that weekend (I cook pretty much all of my food anyway).

She excitedly accepted.

Saturday night came with no call or knock on the door and, after hours of waiting, I finally finished my meal while Lucy’s salmon sat cold and uneaten.

It’s true, I’ve been back in the dating world – and at times it’s been difficult. Although I feel more prepared than ever for success in dating each scowl, unreturned phone call – or extra cold dinner plate – stings.

But, it’s not all gloomy. I must admit for every failed interaction there’s been 10 positive interactions, and as I continue on this quest, as many of us are on – to find someone to share your world – it has helped me stumble upon life, business and marketing lessons.

What Dating Can Teach You About (Internet) Marketing

1) Don’t Put All of Your Eggs in One Basket (or why you can’t stop)

Guerilla Marketing RemixI’ve been reading (and re-reading) Guerrilla Marketing Remix by Jay Conrad Levinson and suggest you do the same.

(I consider this to be the best book on small business marketing I’ve ever read!)

One of the basic tenants in the book is consistency and continuity. It reinforces the idea that a budget of $100/month spaced over 2 years is much better than marketing yourself in one lump sum of $2500 for 1 month. Being consistent and continuing your marketing helps.

Having a consistent presence is much more important than having a huge presence.

I’ve found the same to be true of the dating world.

If you’ve put all of your time and effort in one woman (and I caution this with INITIALLY) then you’re bound to fail and behave in an unnatural and unattractive manner. You don’t want to seem needy so just go about your daily life and when you both find time and availability then meet and move forward (this sounds a lot like the sales process specifically too). This is equally true of a new client. There’s a fine balance between wanting a job (in the service industry), and providing stellar service prior to an actual contract – and appearing needy.

If either of you is trying too hard, odds are something is not compatible.

2) Laser Target Your Focus

First define your audience, then go after them.

Don’t waste your time where you may or may not be able to get in front of your audience. In particular, don’t waste money on marketing pieces/spots that are ambiguously targeted.

3) Fortune Favors the Prepared

Harry (my business partner) and I have gone back and forth for years on philosophy. Luckily, we’re both pretty similar when it comes to many of our views on religion, money, and life.

One area where we’ve butt heads is the course of life’s events.

Why did Bill Gates become the richest man in the world? Why did/do so many people love Steve Jobs? And yet why do so many mean people or shysters seem to have so much?

How do these stories and observations gel with a world where so many are unfed or don’t even have a decent roof over their heads or clean water? Just look at some of these stats:

  • …80% of humanity lives on less than $10/day
  • …22,000 children die each day due to poverty
  • Around 27-28 percent of all children in developing countries are estimated to be underweight or stunted
Surely, something isn’t working. In our discussions I’ve found there seems to be 3 camps when it comes to achieving your dreams, or at the very least, ending up somewhere better than where you began:
  1. Masters of the Universe (AKA The Secret)- Those who believe their thoughts and action have a direct correlation to what happens to them in the world. Thinking positively leads to positive results. Thinking negatively leads to negative results.
  2. Cowering Fools – Those who believe that the world is something that affects them, there is no real choice, no real change, unless that which is pressed down upon them by God, or the Universe.
  3. Floaters – People such as myself who, lie somewhere in the middle, and pretend we truly understand the world (when in fact we are simply not willing to commit to any one point, probably out of fear of commitment)
Dave Chappelle on “The Secret”:

“Fortune Favors the Prepared” – is the perfect example of a quote, 4 tiny words, that encompasses all of the above.

I’ve known about this quote for some time. But just recently researched it – and learned it was coined by Louis Pasteur, the inventor of germs and pasteurization process (if you like Milk – and great quotes – you can thank Louis).

I’ve found “[being] prepared” equally important in the dating world as business. Having a process, a plan, or at the very least materials to hand out to respective customers goes a long way – as does working out, eating right, or simply grooming oneself (which is great for business AND your dating life).

So you want more business? Simply clip your nails and clean your pits.

I exaggerate, but the point is that luck is not enough to secure a prize, you must know what to do with an opportunity when it lands in your lap (figuratively AND literally *nudge nudge wink wink).

4) You Have to Go Out & Get It

Speaking of quotes James Altucher helped me remember one by Woody Allen the other day.

Allen famously said:

80% of success is showing up…

So simple, but SO IMPORTANT!

Your clients, or lovers, aren’t going to show up while you’re at home wearing sweat pants, sitting on the couch, and eating a combination of your own tears and spoonfuls of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream… you have to actually go out and get them.

And what are you doing eating Reese’s Ice Cream any way… didn’t we just address working out and eating right in the previous post?!

5) Do Your Homework

Big Book of Small Business“Getting in bed” both figuratively, and literally, with a client, or a lover, is a potentially risky investment. Although, risk does imply reward.

But, in dating, as in business, it’s always best to do your homework before starting together.

I believe it was in Tom Gegax’s “The Big Book of Small Business” in which he tells a story about a CEO hiring another executive. At the interview the CEO simply asks this new exectutive about his personal life. After the interviewee wonders why they’re not talking about the position or skills the CEO responds, “I’ve already done ALL my research on you – I know you’re technically the correct person, but I just need to know if I’ll like working with you before I hire you.”

He had done his homework.

If you do your homework on a prospect, and are slow(er) to pull the trigger, at the very least you waste some time. At the most, you solidify a relationship, or avoid a potentially problematic, and expensive one that could cause stress for years to come.

 6) Listen (or What Therapy Means for Your Business)

Understanding why listening is important it’s best to remember, as Bruce Turkel pointed out yesterday morning in his post about Why Write a Blog - why people go to therapy:

The reason people go to therapy is not so they can listen to someone suggest solutions to their issues. The reason people go to therapy is so they can get someone to listen to their issues.

If you train yourself to listen you can learn a lot about your fellow man, new business acquaintance or fling.

I’m always surprised at networking events (and at bars), where – after a few questions and a tiny chunk of shared life experience – people will explain every detail of their business (or personal life) and in particular where they feel their problems lie.

In sales, they talk about “getting to the pain” (or at least the Sandler Sales Institute does) – this is equally as true in your marketing pieces, your sales approach, and your dating life.

If you can present a solution to that persons pain (after listening) either through your sales pitch or your marketing perhaps you’ve just met your next client – or future ex.

7) Be Elegant

Speaking of marketing – in love, in life, in business – I recommend elegance.

“Strange for a 20-something male to be talking about elegance?”

This word probably brings to mind ballroom dancing, jewels and rich mahogany (and leather bound books). But, you may be surprised to learn the true definition of elegance:

Elegance is a synonym for beauty that has come to acquire the additional connotations of unusual effectiveness and simplicity…

Combining elegance with marketing can have powerful effects.

Whether you’re marketing a million dollar brand, or marketing yourself to that girl (or guy) across the room, you must figure out, with words, imagery, body language and a refined message – what will most effectively and simply communicate what you want to communicate.

And remember, all that’s important is the message that is received – when this matches what you’ve set out to communicate you’ve succeeded. 

Can you draw any parallels between dating and business or marketing?

*Disclaimer (as we don’t want any of our relationships – in business or the whole of life to be reduced to a simple transaction) – I don’t think human relations are quite as cut and dry as even the best and most sophisticated systems, paradigms, or books on psychology like to pretend. And, even the best of these can not possibly take into account the trillions of possibilities, interactions, or strange circumstances that can throw off predictable human behavior. We’re all beautifully unique, but unbelievably connected through our similarities.

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