June 26, 2018

I’m just not good at it

In 1948, sociologist Robert K. Merton wrote an article entitled “Self-Fulfilling Prophecy”, which offered this definition of the term:

The self-fulfilling prophecy is, in the beginning, a false definition of the situation evoking a new behavior which makes the original false conception come true. This specious validity of the self-fulfilling prophecy perpetuates a reign of error. For the prophet will cite the actual course of events as proof that he was right from the very beginning.

Here’s a simple example:

Bob is in third grade. He has a math test in the morning but decides to play games instead of studying.

Predictably, he bombs the math test the next day. Rather than accept responsibility for his bad choice, he instead chooses to believe that he’s “just bad at math”.

Bob doesn’t like doing things that he believes he is bad at, so he avoids doing math as much as possible. This lack of practice leads to more bad test scores, more avoidance, more reinforcement of his internal narrative.

As time goes by, Bob actually becomes bad at math.

In summary:

If you tell yourself that you’re bad at something for long enough, sooner or later you will be right.

Which brings me to my point...

Almost every freelancer, consultant, and firm owner I talk to tells me they suck at sales and marketing.

They just don’t like the idea of it. It makes them feel icky. They ignore and avoid and procrastinate virtually any task related to sales and marketing.

Well guess what?

If you believe you suck at sales and marketing, you will suck at sales and marketing.

And guess what else?

Sales and marketing are core competencies for any successful business.

And just so we’re clear...

When you went out on your own, you started a business.

You might not have incorporated or gotten business insurance or leased an office, but even a first year solo freelancer is running a business.

And anyone running a business needs to understand sales and marketing if they want to succeed.

So here’s my Tough Love thought of the day...

Stop abdicating your responsibilities by throwing up your hands and saying “I hate doing marketing and sales!” Either close up shop and get a day job, or commit to improving your sales and marketing skills.

(Heck, you might just find that you actually enjoy it.)



P.S. Not sure where to start improving your sales and marketing skills? There are tons of great books you can read on the subject - just hit reply if you want some recommendations. But if want a more customized approach, you might want to consider my private coaching program. There are still two seats available. Apply now to secure your place: https://jonathanstark.com/coaching