Over the past couple of years, I’ve had the opportunity to speak at email, social media and content marketing training events all over the world (I’m actually writing this post in the lobby of the Elliot Hotel in Gibraltar). Travel has always been a passion of mine, so I’m always happy to head to the airport, jump on a plane and head off to a new destination to share a little of my marketing wisdom with anyone who is willing to listen. What’s more, I rarely do it for free. That’s right, I get paid to indulge my passions. I’m a pretty lucky guy — right?
Well, you could put it that way, but I don’t really believe in luck, and I certainly wouldn’t risk my monthly mortgage payments (or my kids’ ballet lessons, which are just as expensive) on something so fickle.
Lucky people win the lottery. Unlucky people get struck by lightning. People who make things happen to their benefit work to deliver results. Luck has nothing to do with it.
Put it this way:
If a project works out well, it’s because you’ve put the right project in front of the right person at the right time. Conversely, if a project fails, there is always a reason (wrong place, wrong person, wrong time).
For example — I recently had to cancel a training event I was organizing that initially attracted lots of attention but didn’t turn into ticket sales because I made the mistake of booking the event too close to a public holiday. It wasn’t down to bad luck that the event failed — it was completely down to bad timing.
Note: A project never fails if you learn from the experience. I now double-check local public holidays and even major sporting/cultural events before booking an event. For example, as good as I think my content marketing training events are, I’m not going to go head-to-head with Prince Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle on May 19.
So How Did I Get So “Lucky”?
OK, so there are lots of people out there who work a lot harder than me who aren’t half as lucky. What could they possibly be doing wrong?
Well, perhaps they are just not asking the right questions.
Before I commit to a new location to take my training events, I turn to the social web.
I look for groups on Facebook and LinkedIn, I follow specific people and organizations on Twitter and Instagram, and then I start by asking two very simple questions.
- Can anyone recommend a suitable venue to host an email marketing/content marketing/social media marketing training event in a specific area?
- I’m planning on visiting a specific area with my email marketing/content marketing/social media marketing training event. Would this be of interest to anyone in this group? I then go on to list several of the topics I tend to discuss at my events but stop short of mentioning any specific dates or quoting any prices. This isn’t a pitch, it’s just a general inquiry.
These very general questions prompt “likes,” comments and shares. Often, these comments are questions — and questions are, more often than not, buying signals (make no mistake, these are red-hot leads). Get enough of these, and you have the foundation to launch something new and exciting. Fail to generate any interest from these questions, and it’s perhaps time to move on to another project.
Reminder #1: Once you have captured someone’s interest, it’s fairly easy to capture their email address via a sale or request for more information. Once you have captured an email address, it’s possible to present new business opportunities even if they don’t take the first opportunity (wrong time, wrong place).
Reminder #2: A vital component of asking questions is the process of listening to the answers. Prospective customers might inspire something even better than your initial idea. Be prepared to adapt to new possibilities.
Could you be more lucky (or productive) by pitching less and asking more questions?
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This post first appeared on the iContact Email Marketing Blog.