How to Turn ‘Doing Nothing’ Into ‘Doing Something’
One of the most interesting parts of being a strategic marketing consultant is the variety of clients and business owners I get to partner with—it’s just so cool. I hear about their journeys, whether they’re on the road to success, dealing with past failures, or facing current struggles. We discuss their education, whether they’re an alumnus of a prestigious university or a graduate from the school of ‘hard knocks.’ We talk about what fuels their drive on the days they just want to stop and how they turn that passion, their ‘Why,’ into profit. Put it this way: I get paid to be ‘NOSY’!
Did I tell you how cool that is?
Look, I understand not everyone gets to be ‘nosy’ at their job, so don’t get me wrong, I consider myself extremely lucky to be able to do what I do and be paid to do it.
But let’s be clear, this job isn’t for the faint of heart. Clients, ‘God love them,’ can be demanding. Heck, they can have unrealistic expectations, be constantly in a ‘FIRE,’ or be gone tomorrow, and that’s a good week.
Did I tell you how stressful that is?
Honestly, that may be part of the appeal of what I do.
That intensity creates focus. That need for focus leads to questions. Those questions elicit answers and sometimes more questions. Those answers create actions. Those actions lead to results.
That process leads to my mantra, ‘The Difference In Saying And Being Is Doing,’ because only through ‘doing’ can any ‘being’ occur. Now, speaking of ‘doing,’ let me share some real-life examples of clients taking action—or, in some cases, wisely choosing not to.
One day, a client walked into my office, they were beaming with pride. They’d just won a prestigious award based on glowing employee feedback. Naturally, I was thrilled for them—it was a testament to the culture they’d built. They wanted to run a one-time ad in a magazine to publicize this award.
So, let the questioning begin.
‘Wow, that’s fantastic! Your employees must really appreciate the culture you’ve created. What’s the goal for this one-time ad? Are you looking to recruit new team members?’
The client explained that the ad was simply to say ‘Thank You’ to their employees.
I was intrigued.
‘How much is this one-time ad going to cost you?’
‘$5,000,’ they replied.
‘Fantastic! We’ll create the ad for $5,000,’ I said.
After they picked their jaw up off the floor, they exclaimed, ‘$5,000! Why would you charge me that much for an ad?’
I calmly responded, ‘If you’re willing to drop five grand on a one-time ad to thank your employees, you must enjoy giving away $5,000 bonuses. But if you’re asking for my advice, I’d say take that money and do something special for your team.’
Now, I get it. That’s not your typical textbook client interaction. Some might even say I overstepped my bounds, and maybe they’re right. But here’s the kicker: their heart was in the right place; their ‘doing,’ however, they needed a nudge, a course correction.
You guessed it, we didn’t do the ad. While I wasn’t invited to any employee appreciation parties, I’m confident they did something nice for their team.
In that case, the ‘doing’ was choosing not to act. Now, let’s flip the script with one last story where ‘doing’ was taking action.
One day, back in the mid-2000s, I sat down with a client who ran a successful business in the construction industry. They’d been advertising in phonebooks (you know, those ancient artifacts we used to find businesses) for years. As we reviewed their upcoming marketing budget, I noticed a line item for phonebook advertising.
Time for some digging.
‘Which phonebook is this for?’ I asked, knowing our area had multiple phonebooks.
‘The Acme phonebook,’ they replied.
‘Cool. Are you also planning an ad in the XYZ phonebook?’
‘No, our budget doesn’t allow for both.’
‘Interesting. Why did you choose Acme over XYZ?’
‘Well, their rep came in last week and broke down the costs. They said if we get just one deal a month from the ad, it’ll pay for itself.’
Quick sidebar: That was the standard sales pitch for phonebook ads back in the day.
Eyeing the $7,500 a month budgeted for this, I posed my final question: ‘How would you like a $7,500 a month raise?’
Ultimately, their ‘doing’ was to move past their fear of not being in the phonebook. They trusted our other marketing strategies, focusing on their website and SEO, and never looked back. And I bet, if you met this client today, they’d tell you the decision to drop all of their phonebook ads was one of the hardest, yet best, decisions they ever made for their business and their monthly income.
There you have it, folks—two tales from the trenches that show ‘doing’ isn’t always about action: in fact sometimes ‘doing’ is about choosing the right inaction. Whether you’re a business owner, a marketer, or just someone navigating the complexities of decision-making, remember this: ‘The Difference In Saying And Being Is Doing.’ It’s not just a mantra; it’s a way of life.
So, the next time you find yourself at a crossroads, whether it’s deciding to spend thousands on an ad or reevaluating an outdated marketing strategy, ask yourself: What’s my ‘doing’ here? Your answer could very well be the difference between ‘saying’ and ‘being.’
Till next time.