Thank you to all of you who left a comment with your advice for “Blake.” (See “A warning for nice guys…“)
I promised that the person with the comment judged to contain the best advice will win a free copy of my manual, “How to Systematically and Consistently Attract First-Rate Customers.”
There were dozens of comments and so many of them were really good. But we had to pick a winner and so we picked this comment from Kinya Shelley. Why? Because of it’s simplicity and wisdom. Kinya’s advice respects “Blake” as well as the truth that we can often see the answer for someone else – even when we’re stuck on the same problem ourselves.
Now Blake gave me permission to share his story, but he never expected it would get such a response. He asked me to post the following:
Wow, thanks for all the replies everyone. I really didn’t expect this type of response, and I’m honored that you’ve all taken the time to share your advice with someone you’ve never met.
There were good initial reasons for me to get into this partnership, but the potential and the reality have become vastly different. I’ve given it a couple months already, but despite all the talk of sales expertise we have yet to land any work from it. There has been a lot of busywork done, but nothing that will actually get us a meeting with a potential client.
I won’t go into details about our roles and responsibilities – there were original expectations, and current expectations. She’s gotten to the point where she’d be better off with a salesman as a partner instead of an IT guy, because she doesn’t want me wasting time doing programming (despite the fact that’s why we partnered up in the first place).
I wish I could respond to everyone, but this would turn into a very long post.
@Kinya Shelley: Thanks for the perspective. I certainly wouldn’t tolerate having a child treated that way, so why is it okay for me to put up with it?
@Lisa Rothstein: I can provide plenty of other material for comedies!
@Steven Washer: That’s the conclusion I’ve come to. She only had to focus on sales in her previous job, and didn’t really see the rest of the systems that supported her.
@Dr. Wayne: Thanks for the introspective questions. I have gained things from the partnership, but only in terms of what changes I need to make in myself to get where I want to go. Any remaining potential gains from the partnership itself are dwarfed by the daily stress of trying to meet her expectations. The only results I’m seeing are the changes in my physical and mental health, and none of it is positive.
@Kaelin: That is exactly what I need to say, although I think I’ll find a different way to express it!
@Yvonne Root: I agree about hard sell vs. consideration. In my industry, it’s not unusual to have a one or two year sales cycle (although with Dov’s help I hope to speed that up!). Hard sell does not work over that time span, and honestly, I’m afraid to let her loose on my existing and previous clients with that attitude. I would be risking years worth of reputation building by putting those clients, many of whom have become friends, in front of her. I hate to say it, but I almost feel it would be like throwing them in front of a bus.
@Andy McClure: Thanks for the link to Dov’s prior post. I’ve been down and out with the flu lately (probably a result of the stress I’ve been under lately) so I hadn’t read that one yet.
@Brian and Charlie: It’s always hard to admit, but I know the problem is me, not her. She hasn’t done anything to me that I haven’t allowed her to do, and I have been working on that aspect of my personality to get rid of my constant need to be a “people pleaser”. There certainly are things I’ve learned from the experience – there’s no such thing as failure if you learn from it! Her version of “rush rush rush” doesn’t work for me, but there are other ways to add that urgency into my business that align with who I am.
@Clarke Echols: Learning the hard way! It took me a while to go from being an employee to doing well as a consultant, so I don’t know why I would see her as being able to make that leap instantly. I have read most of Dan Kennedy’s stuff, and many others like Clayton Makepeace, Ted Nicholas, Frank Kern, etc. But I have the perfectionist affliction and tend to tweak instead of test, and never get my marketing “done”. One of the things that initially attracted me to her is that she’s willing to just get stuff done, send it out, and move on. I need to take that attitude, apply it to the right type of marketing, and run with it. I have Dov to kick me in the butt and get me moving now though! As far as why I was on a dating site, that’s another horrible story that would give Lisa far too much material for writing screenplays. Let’s just say this is a recurring issue that I’m working on elsewhere…
@Mike: I agree about trying a new method, but that’s why I hired Dov. I’ve given this partnership 2 months now, which I’ll admit really isn’t a long time, but we have yet to have a single meeting with anyone, let alone land any work. She may have some sales skills (whether it works for the consulting industry or not is another question), but, as was pointed out by other people, that doesn’t translate to business or consulting skills. I have no doubt she’ll succeed at some point, simply out of determination, as long as she’s willing to learn from her mistakes, but working with Dov instead will be the more enjoyable experience I’m sure.
@Penni: I finally just started figuring that out for myself. It started as knowing what I didn’t want, based on these experiences, and from there I realized I needed to figure out what I really DO want. Like the saying goes, “When you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” Time to stop wandering and pick a destination. Thanks for the link to the article. This experience has gotten me sick and tired (literally, not just figuratively), and I need to consider my well-being, not just the potential (and as yet imaginary) gains.
@Melissa: She does value cash above all else. Clients are nothing more than a way to get rich. So much of my energy has gone into trying to do things “right” (her way) that I have none left for anything else.
Thank you to everyone else too. There were some recurring suggestions I completely agree with. There is a difference in our core values and beliefs, and whether it’s true that opposites attract or not, we still need to have those in common. We have similar goals in business and life, but vastly different and ultimately incompatible ideas about how to get there.
I have tried talking to her about how consulting really works, based on my 16 years of experience doing it, but because she sees herself as simply allowing me to tag along for the ride, she doesn’t give any value to my opinions. I don’t see any way to create an equitable partnership from this, so it will have to end. I have no real stake in the partnership other than the couple months of time I’ve put into it, so I will end it and get back to building my business with Dov’s help.
Oh, and for anyone interested, the personal side of the relationship is definitely done with. She treats the wait staff at restaurants the same way she started treating me – I was overlooking it at first as just one of her idiosyncrasies, but I should have seen that as a sign of a bigger problem. I’m now seeing that spill over into her relationships with other people, and eventually she’ll treat clients the same way.
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