154 – June 3
“Life is like a taxi. The meter keeps a-ticking, whether you are getting somewhere or standing still.”—Lou Erickson
We have to hear the truth a thousand times before we understand it. This is “The First Law of a Thousand Times.” At the thousandth repetition, we hear the truth again but this time with a difference. Finally, we get it; we undergo the “Aha!” experience and we see clearly some truth about how we have been operating our lives.
“Aha!” my mind clicks open and a shiver runs through my body. Voices ring in my head and I hear my mother telling me that truth when I was twelve, a teacher saying something similar when I was fourteen, a boyfriend whispering it when I was twenty, a client saying it when I was defending my position, a colleague repeating it when I “Yeah, butted” him, and my best friend murmuring it when I cried on her shoulder.
It happened one night in class. We were recalling past wins and I had instructed everyone to think about the truly meaningful triumphs of their lives. This group had no trouble with remembering failures, but successes were harder. They just didn’t spend enough time relishing their wins.
Nancy started to cry, explaining that she just had an “Aha!” experience. She said she could remember ten wins but would allow herself only five seconds to enjoy the experience. After that would come a voice that took it all away from her: “Well, you still didn’t do ____ right.” She saw how many people around her always said something to squelch the joy, to rain on her parade. She had recorded all their voices so that, in case the Nay Sayers were unavailable in the flesh, she could do it herself. Nancy remembered many times this had happened in her life, but now that she recognized it, she could change it. We celebrated her discovery with her and offered our help: when she had her next win, we would help her celebrate it so that she could fully experience her happiness and joy.
One of the most wonderful parts of being a teacher—or a friend—is seeing the “Aha!” experience happen. When people hit the thousandth time, they change right in front of you—you can see it on their face. It is thrilling to watch, and you must appreciate it, knowing that you will not see this happen often.
But it doesn’t matter whether or not you see the change. What matters is that it takes one thousand times, so every one of those repetitions is just as important as the thousandth. You can’t have the thousandth time until you’ve had the first time, the fiftieth, the nine hundredth. If you tell someone a truth and their lack of understanding is clearly visible, just know they haven’t hit the thousandth time yet. They will one day. Maybe ten years from now. Maybe tomorrow. You don’t know what number they’re on.
You don’t know what number you’re on either. Pay more attention. Listen. Learn. The thousandth time might be today!
“I hear the truth, know it, and live it today!”
People want things to happen quickly and easily, and sometimes they do. More often, it takes sending out lots of ships over long periods of time. Here’s a question I received once on Facebook about that:
“Since people are having trouble getting people to show up on preview calls these days, do you have any insight into why you were able to get such a good turnout? I suspect it is your title and that your content stands out from what others in the marketplace are offering. I agree that engaging people who are interested is key. I think a lot of people think if they just do a preview call and send some follow up emails they’re going to fill their programs. There are a lot of people sitting there who probably want to join but need a little reassurance or clarification. Your tracking is amazing!”
Jeannie, you ask a good question. My opinion is that most people underestimate the time and effort it takes to build an audience. Before the internet, everyone went to networking groups. The big mistake I saw people make was that they would go to the meeting, have a display table, pass out their brochures and business cards, and then go home and wait for people to call them. If everybody does that, then everyone is sitting alone at the office waiting for the phone to ring.
Somebody has to go first, so I decided it would be me. (Mostly because I was determined to fill my workshops because otherwise I was going to have to go get a job. Horrors.) So I called people to get to know them, and bought stuff and referred business to them as much as possible. Then at every meeting I had friends, and people started to buy my stuff, too. After that, the testimonials came, more networking, more phone calls, more success.
When my first book was published in 2002, I had already been networking for 16 years and many of those people knew me and bought a book, then bought copies for friends. I did radio shows, guested on other people’s teleclasses, published an ezine, did as much inexpensive PR as possible. Then I heard from people from all over the country (and foreign countries too) who wanted to take my 8-week program but didn’t live in LA so I started doing it as a teleclass in 2009.
The internet is wonderful but much more impersonal, and there’s lots of competition. How many ways can you say “I help you make more money”?? There are gazillions of people out there promoting that. It isn’t about the buzz words, the hooky title, the numbers of follow-up emails. It’s about having unique and interesting content that shows YOU as an authentic leader with knowledge, heart, and experience, as well as a lot of love and caring for helping others. You have to know yourself and what “your people” like about you and show that in every marketing piece or comment you write.
Then you can work on the real selling, which is personal. “Your people” are attracted to you and want you, but they still need to be coached to spend their money, because people are twice as afraid of losing their money as they are hopeful of gaining more money! That’s what sales is all about. I would recommend that everyone write down every objection their potential client will have to buying their product or service and then write out what they will say to counter the objection. I did this as I made phone calls to people, and tried out different things to say. I kept 2 lists: 1) say this because it works and 2) never say this again because it makes people mad. After awhile, you’ve got a great script!