This is how social media works. Liva and I “met” on Twitter, as we had common interests in social media monetization. Over the course of the next 48 hours after we touched base, we were chatting about who we are and what we do, and, we started searching each other’s social media profiles for more information. In time, we got around to discussing the book I’m writing called “The 8 M’s of Marketing”. When Liva suggested a monthly guest post on her blog talking about the book and sharing my 8 M’s... well, I jumped at the idea. Here then, is the first installment of that guest post series… My very first sales manager in the ad world was Dick Ianella. Great guy! On our first appointment together, Dick let me take the lead so he could see what I knew and how prepared I was to meet with a prospect. I did what most young sellers do on their first few appointments. I told the prospect all about our cable television system and all the great channels he could advertise on and what great rates we could get him. I talked…and I talked…and, well…you get the idea. Dick asked me after the meeting how I think I did, and I thought I did GREAT! I was just sure the prospect was going to call me up before I even made it back to the office to tell me how much he wanted to spend with me. That call never came. Dick told me it would never come, but I didn’t want to believe him. He told me that by doing all the talking, I never bothered to uncover the prospects PAIN… and therefore never learned what his MISSION was. I was perplexed. His mission? Well, to make more MONEY of course! I would learn years later that what I had assumed was his pain, was nothing more than a pain indicator. What Dick had tried to tell me in his own awkward way was that I needed to dig deeper, to ask questions that would help uncover the prospect’s real goals. He told me that he would conduct the next meeting and let me watch and critique HIM afterwards. I was in for a real treat! Dick Ianella was a MASTER of questioning. He asked open-ended questions that led our next prospect to talk about HIS problems. He uncovered issues no advertising rep had ever even asked about and, as you can expect, he later showed me how to build a proposal that specifically alleviated the challenges the prospect brought up during that initial meeting. What Dick was teaching me was how to find the deeper mission behind the clichés. When the prospect told Dick he wanted to sell more product, Dick asked him “WHY?” This confused the prospect at first, but Dick persisted. “Why do you want to sell more product? Obviously that means you’ll make more money, but how much more are you shooting for?” When the prospect gave us a number, Dick asked another question. “How did you come up with that number?” Eventually he discovered the REAL goal. Our prospect was married. He had just bought a boat. His wife hadn’t been too keen on the idea of buying this boat, but our new friend insisted that spending long weekends on the water with just his wife and kids would be a great way to stay close to the family. But the boat needed a trailer and a dock and gas and insurance. All those things took money, and he needed to get his sales up so he could afford to hire someone to work those long weekends so he could spend all that money drifting around the lake with his family. AHA! Houston, we have a mission! You see, we (and by “we”, I mean Dick) figured out the prospects’ needs. Dick made it PERSONAL. What’s in it for YOU? And only then could we move on to resolving the issues that stood in the way of our prospect achieving his goals. Marketing your business is hard work. It’s a long and arduous journey, and I don’t want you to move until you know where you’re going. The greatest marksmen in the world can’t hit a target if they can’t see it, if they don’t have a clue what direction it’s in or how far away it is. What makes you think you can steer your business or your brand effectively if you have no idea where you’re going? STEP #1. Define your goals, your purpose, your mission. WRITE THEM DOWN and refer back to them every step of the way. Not sure what to do? Look back at what you’ve written and use that as your compass. Ask yourself “Is this ON mission or OFF mission?” You’ll be miles ahead of the competition already! ------ Jay Handler is an advertising and marketing professional with broad experience in all aspects of media buying, copywriting, campaign development, marketing consultation and strategic planning. He specializes in Social Media & Convergence Marketing. He delivers top-quality training & marketing consultation for business owners who spend more time working IN their business rather than ON their business. Jay has kindly agreed to guest blog on Merrybubbles once a month for the next eight months on the 8 M’s of Marketing. Here is a presentation of his work: [slideshare id=5329514&doc=jayhandlermediakit-101001001007-phpapp01&type=d] Follow Jay Handler on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Comments are yours!