Taking Advice


Posted by: Steve Marr in Leadership on Aug 09, 2018

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I was asked to review an online training program selling for $199.00. The organization asked for advice on how to improve marketing for this product. My feedback acknowledged it was an excellent product with good value for the money.  I could see how buyers would receive the training well. However, I pointed out that the marketing materials included no evidence concerning how well the product worked.

 

The response was “We have subject matter experts and their expertise demonstrates that the product is good.” While I agreed that the subject matter experts were first rate with solid backgrounds, I pointed out that between 97% and 99% of the target audience would not know who they were. Providing background for them could be of some assistance. I focused on a key marketing principle:  always lead with the benefit and follow with the evidence.

I used the example of the occasionally annoying ad for Flex Seal, an adhesive bonding product. In one ad, someone drills holes in the bottom of a boat, uses Flex Seal to fill the holes and safely drives the boat around the lake. This is an excellent example of providing evidence. However, the person who came to me for advice pushed back pretty hard.  I simply told him that I could confirm what I was saying by referring him to half a dozen classic books on marketing. I affirmed that he was the subject matter expert on his company’s product but I humbly suggested that he was not a subject matter expert on marketing. However, I could see that he wasn't going to alter the sales process.

I've touched on this concept before, how a key concept in making progress is to ask for advice and make use of reasonable advice. My experience is that most people don't really want advice; they want confirmation they are on the correct path. Simply put, they won't take advice.

King Solomon said, “Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.” (Proverbs 12:15, NLT)

The key is to understand whose advice to take. I prefer to take advice from godly people whom I believe the Lord gifts with understanding, insight and experience. There was an old commentator, Al Capp, who would say he is an “expert on nothing with opinions on everything.” While this may have been fine commentary, it does not describe the person you want to go to for advice on most items.

 When I receive advice, I evaluate it carefully and make a conscious decision to either implement what was recommended, reject the idea for a specific reason, or reject the idea for what appears to be a better plan. Over the years I've learned not to insist that others bless whatever I decide to do; it wastes my time and theirs.

Seek good advice.  But remember, good advice not applied won’t help you.

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