The Unexpected Problem with Value First

People putting out other people’s fires makes up the world of capitalism and the free market.

I pay you to put out my dumpster fires, then you put out my dumpster fire.

The problem is though that sometimes…

What a service provider may see as a house fire, the prospect is oblivious to it.

They may not see it as a problem at all.

Just imagine trying to tell someone their house is on fire…and then the person does not respond or worse, deny it!

And it’s the same with business problems.

I’m just an out-of-place, only-child, country boy, so there’s probably some glaring thing I’m missing. 

As I can often be wrong.

So, here I am explaining my sales journey with my own business.

I figured I’d at least chronicle what I’m going through to see if it resonates with anyone.

This is also a test to prove or disprove with one of my mentor’s theories about content…

That… 

Talking about your own journey through the lens of your personality attracts your ideal client.

How I Got This Started

Now, I’m all about value first. 

I’ve been on this beautiful rock long enough to know that whining and only thinking about “me! me! me!” won’t get you anywhere.

It’s also better to stand out than to try to be better.

  • Am I the best in the world at copywriting? Capital N-O.
  • Am I the best in the world at understanding ecommerce? Hell no.
  • Am I the best person in the world at business, communication, or any other major skill I needed? For God’s sake, no.

But I knew that I could do two things

1. Dig into a company’s current email situation better than anyone and spot problems 
2. Be weirder, nicer, and/or more persistent than 87% of most people

And the Hunt Begins

I got a list of eCommerce companies that I could reasonably suspect were doing over $1m annually.

I started signing up for their lists. And good lord, I found a boat load of problems.

Problems that I knew were equivalent to a REALLY expensive house fire!

Problems that were costing them tens of thousands of dollars every day.

The show’s over at this point, right? Instant sale. 

lol, WRONG.

What Happened…

My team started working really hard to collect this data. So I figured it was time to start using it.

My research has shown that a lot of brands have major issues with their email marketing such as missing automations, emails going to spam, opt-in forms not working, and so on. 

I compiled some of the most pressing issues that these brands face which are most likely costing them money. Then, I emailed a few companies explaining the problem(s) I saw.

There were two goals. First is to let them know that they have a problem with their current marketing strategy, and the second is to ask if they need help improving it. 

I thought I’d be welcomed with open arms and offered a seat at the big boy’s table.

Welcome home son!”

Boy, was I wrong.

  • One brand owner booked, argued with me, and insisted that I wasn’t looking at the right emails
  • One brand blocked me on Twitter when I followed up
  • But most brands, they just didn’t have the time of day

What I Now Am Starting to Suspect/Realize

So how do we trust in a distrustful world? 

  • Where more and more conversations can be automated through AI?
  • When you feel like you’re just another number getting pushed through the sales funnel?
  • When miserly and shrewd business tactics are commonplace

I think people will rely more and more on authoritative sources.

  • Even though content has been how the world develops business relationships…
  • Even though advertising is becoming more and more like content…
  • Even though content can still be automated and faked…

It still allows us to connect with people at scale.

And, I think, the world is starting more and more to be built on these kinds parasocial relationships.

Think Twitch, YouTubers, Facebook Live, etc.

Wikipedia defines parasocial relationships as…
“Parasocial interaction (PSI) refers to a kind of psychological relationship experienced by an audience in their mediated encounters with performers in the mass media, particularly on television and on online platforms”

I grew up in an age where “content” was your AIM away status or your MySpace (RIP).

And “blogging” is so 2010s…

But now…

This ole world is following the rule where: 

I (the business owner) find out as much as I can about you (the service/product provider). Then and only then, I decide when I want to move the relationship forward.

Meaning…

“I don’t have all day to sit and talk to you to figure out what kind of person you are.”

And believe me, I think this matters now more than ever.

Because no matter what business you’re in, at the end of the day…

The question that rings in your prospect’s minds is…

“Can I trust you?”

By and large, it’s hard to trust people. 

We all know about the marketing adage that people buy from people they know, like, and trust.

So what does that mean for my own strategy moving forward?

Coming from an IT background, I’m used to clicking buttons and typing code and things (not) working.

But I’m also familiar with the end user. 

And I know that helping the end user starts with:

  • Using their language
  • Building the trust that you know what you’re doing 
  • And surprisingly most of all… just chatting with them about what they enjoy, like, and/or want.

Moving Forward

My solution for where I’m at in business is to keep writing things like this.

Hoping they will resonate with others.

Sure, they may not be the most actionable. 

But I view them as a kind of “About Me” post.

Where someone can learn about how I think rather than what I conjure up to tell them.

I hope you enjoyed this more personal post. 

Have you had a similar experience with your content? 

Leave a comment and let me know!

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