I deal with this more often then not, I put out content such as a blog post, video or something that I think people would love and I get...No likes, comments, shares or any movement from the people who I thought I connected with on a much deeper level. Some of these people I was in the streets with, share some "real" moments with and some I even worked with for years. I said to myself, well at least my family will share or at least like my stuff so that I feel better and that my ego does not take a emotional blow to the gut. I think I did 2 of the 4 agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, I made assumptions and took it personal when I did not get the results from the people I "expected" to applaud me, not because my content is good, but for all the reasons I mentions above. It made me reflect on why I was doing what I was doing, was I doing it because it was needed or because I needed confirmation from my peers, family or whoever? Over the past few weeks I have been raving about Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss, which has an article recommendation,1000 True Fans by Kevin Kelly, which talks about how to develop a loyal following by simply focusing on obtaining 1000 True fans. Also in the book Tools of Titans was a story about an burlesque dancer who performs in a strip club next to other girls who go completely nude. Most would would assume that the burlesque dancer would lose the majority of the fans in the strip club by not stripping down, however she has one fan willing to pay her $50 to see her show. What I learned from both stories is that you should not try to please the masses (to which I have never really done) and focus on super serving your audience, even if it is an audience of 1. The truth is that most of us who are really out there creating art are or at least at some point feel like an impostor, also known as Impostor syndrome, which is state of mind where it is very difficult to internalize accomplishments, you always feel like someone will expose you. As you step into new and different domains and settings your comfort, knowledge, and experience is tested and you want some type of confirmation that you are on the right track, Those who have the luxury of having mentors to confirm your steps and accomplishments have an asset some of us struggle to attain if ever. I have found that not having a mentor is not a deal breaker and in some cases actually makes you more clever in obtaining advice, knowledge and confirmation that you are in fact making the correct steps and headed towards success. I use books, videos, podcast and articles to get my competitive edge back and I continue to look at my track record for my confirmation and focus on the one person who needs my content and as for my friends, family and others who do not think my content is not that great or even good, I want to thank you for confirming I am on the right track because if you (being so many different personalities) like it, its mass and I am not mass. I show up every week, sometimes I am on and sometimes I am not, but I ship.
I had the fortune of growing up in the 1980s which was considered the "Crack Era" and we wanted stuff like gold chains, shoes, jeans, starter jackets or anything that made us look like we had some money. When I first got started I was a small time dealer who was getting joints to sell at school, basically enough to buy some Ice Cream and Big Macs (2 for $2.50). I just wanted to make a little change, however there were some key business lessons that I had taken away from my Drug Dealing experiences that can be applied to any business large or small.
Understand that it will take time to get Good
When you begin anything you will start off a novice, for example I started off selling joints at school at the age of 11, and it was not until I was in my mid 20's that I actually became a wholesaler. I had to come up through the rankings and learn. I lost money, got robbed, got scammed and even spent a few night in juvenile facilities. In business you will learn how your industry works and like Drug dealing you will experience loss, theft, scams and more. The key is to not give in or give up, had I stopped selling drugs when the first guy I gave credit to didn't pay me back I would not be able to give the lessons I am giving you today.
Have good relationships with multiple suppliers
When I was in the game suppliers could make or break your business, meaning that if the local plug (supplier) did not like you or was from another neighborhood you would likely pay a higher price or not get anything at all. The same holds true for business, your suppliers are everything to you, from the customer service to the turnaround time of delivering inventory. If your supplier is not responsive to your needs, it would be in your best interest to continue to look for another supplier. In drug dealing the smartest thing to do was to have options, if one supplier felt like they would lose your business to a rival you begin to gain a little more control over that relationship. They key is to stay on deck as we use to say, and if you have only one supplier you are at their mercy.
Credit Ruins Good Relationships
I remember when some of our customers were low on funds, usually in the middle of the week and towards the end of the month and they would ask for credit until they got paid. The challenge was that we didn't have a credit bureau to report to if and when they didn't pay and you risk going to jail for assault if you try to do them harm. What we also found was that like Lesson #2, we were not their only suppliers and if they did not feel like paying us back they could simply go to the dealers up the street. The lesson we learned was that even though we think we are helping the relationship by offering them credit, it ultimately makes us a less attractive option. The person could have very good intentions in the beginning, however some people are willing to risk the relationship over the debt.
I am by no means condoning Drug Dealing, however it is part of my past and I embrace the lessons I have learned and transferred those lessons into legitimate business advice. Please subscribe below.
Several small business owners do millions and millions of transactions with customers everyday with missed opportunities to get important feedback or more importantly they miss the opportunity for customers to rave about their business and/or service. In our business we ask thank customers with a hand written "Thank you" note in the bag, and at the end of thanking them we ask them if they would kindly leave us a review on Yelp about their experience pleasant or not. What we found is about 25% of the customers would leave a review and 90% of those were positive.
Well what about a negative review? Those can be great for authenticity purposes and give validity to the other reviews raving about your product and/or service. When you have all glowing reviews some customers begin to believe the reviews where somehow orchestrated or been incentivized. In terms of incentivizing your customers to leave a review, I would highly encourage you not to give something in return for the review as it is not authentic.
Should I respond if a customer is complaining? Sure. However I would advise that you try to take the conversation offline if you find yourself going back and forth and are not in agreement to what had taken place. If you are thank you customer in public please be sincere.
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Duane Cofield over 15 years selling Cocaine from the age of 11 in the gritty streets of South East San Diego. I know the "game" in and out and very few can show me something new..I am now a business owner and professor of business a a few Southern California Universities. I am available for consulting, speaking, coaching. Please subscribe to the Official Drug Dealers to Businessmen You Tube Channel Here