I honestly don’t think I’m a great businessman.
Some of the ‘salesy’ things that would be considered as the normal spiel, simply don’t come naturally or fit within the ethos that I want to see within the business.
It’s probably why I feel almost allergic to most marketing “professionals” - it all seems to be about upselling and almost manipulating people into buying.
Marketing people look at me aghast when they hear me explain to people interested in our 5-day accredited mediator training course that our 3-day internal mediator training programme may suffice, as then they don’t need to become fully accredited.
A good business person upsells - they certainly don’t downsell!
My view is if the full 5-day programme is an additional unnecessary expense for them , why would I urge them to do it? They can always top up the additional two days anyway if they really want to.
I’m the same with mediations too. Organisations will call me about disputes between several members of a team, and they think they want a mediation between five or six people.
My eyes should go 💰💰 “ka-ching” 💰💰 as we charge per party for mediations.
Instead, what do I do? I explain how most group disputes have a couple of people at the centre who create factions and people take sides. If we can resolve issues between the two people then often the other issues can heal naturally.
Another downsell - another fail when it comes to maximising profit!
Those who “upsell” remind me of many years ago when I was a Recruitment Consultant for a short time. I was pressured into convincing people to take jobs that weren’t right for them just to get the “sale”. I quit for that reason and I refuse to be the same in business!
It isn’t just down-selling though, I’m regularly advised to stop giving my time away to people for free, because I spend a lot of time just talking to individuals with the meter switched off. I also go to events to speak for free when the marketeers tell me I should be charging a substantial amount of money for my time.
I get the concept of charging but at the end of the day, when I speak at events the chances are somebody will remember us when they need a mediation - or they may decide they want to train as a mediator some day.
I fundamentally believe in the power of collaboration and empowering others.
I want to pass on some of my skills, knowledge and experience that I’ve learnt along the way, in order to aid people on their own journey to achieving their career goals. By spreading the word , this will in turn help to improve the overall culture in workplaces.
I just don’t follow the typical rules of marketing and the traditional ‘hard sell’ approach, such as pressurising people for that important sale or sending out 1,000 spam e-mails a day informing people time and time again of how great we are.
I have found that by simply being true to myself and straightforward, transparent but most of all pragmatic(!) with people , it does tend to work out better in the long term anyway – for both myself and all of our wonderful clients that we have the pleasure to work with.
Pragmatism all the way then, by name and also by nature!