Adventures in Knowing It All

A few months ago, I received a request for consultation from a mid-sized marketing agency that wanted to outsource PPC. Requests like this come in occasionally, so I talked with the principal about the different kinds of marketing I do and what I would have to offer. One of the things I told him-which I tell most of my clients-is that I’m a jack of all trades. I believe most of the people who worked with me would attest to this. I’m the type of person who wants to be good at every part of their field, and it’s important to me to learn the ropes in all sorts of digital marketing areas because I think they all work together. For 99% of businesses, a comprehensive marketing strategy with multiple points of advertising is just what works.

Unless you’re working with large companies or billion-dollar corporations every time you get a new client, you can best honor clients’ budget restrictions, if any, by knowing how to do multiple forms of marketing based on what is top priority.

But, I digress.

So when I mentioned being a jack of all trades, the principal immediately stopped me.

“Just about everybody in marketing says that,” he told me, “But I know better. Everybody who does what you do is really only worth the money at just one thing. I’m sure you’re probably only really good at just one thing.”

This exchange didn’t really hurt my feelings or anything. I mean, people are entitled to their opinions. Regardless, it seemed extremely odd to me at the time because it’s not really the greatest way to start off a business relationship or to make a deal.

Rather than building trust, it said to me, “I’m the person in power. I’m going to continue to be the person in power in our situation, and I won’t let you forget it.”

There were a few other exchanges during that one call that gave me pause. Long story short, no thanks.

Here’s the thing – based on a consult, you should know how someone in business plans to treat you in 10 minutes or less during your first chat. Sometimes, the most abusive people tend to keep quiet and sit in the background. So I’m not saying this is universal law.

It stands to reason: If someone isn’t interested in what you’re saying, feels the need to interrupt or belittle you even in a joking manner, or otherwise doesn’t feel to you like they’ll be a partner, they won’t be. You can make the deal and hold your breath, but most of us know a bad deal starts with one exchange. Right?

So whether you’re looking for a marketer or you are a marketer, don’t get sucked into a bad deal because the person on the other end of the line needs to know it all. The marketer should always be set up to advise properly, consult and most of all to succeed.

If you’re not setting up the people who work for you to succeed, you can’t expect success. In business, it can’t get any simpler than that.

Amber Turrill

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