Times are a changing.
Used to be that anyone who used a gmail address (googlemail in the UK) or a Yahoo or Hotmail email address had something to hide. These days even top marketers use webmail addresses such as these because they can be accessed from any PC or location and because they’re extremely convenient. We pull all our emails together at Laycock Publishing using a couple of Googlemail addy’s because it’s extremely convenient given that we can be working from home, office, different countries or even occassionally from a yacht.
Likewise some of the best and richest internet marketers work from a room at home, and have only one or two (if any) employees. Bill Gates looks like he shops at a jumble sale and many of the designer-clothed, flash car driving poseurs I see on a day to day basis don’t have (as my Gran used to say) ‘a pot to piss in’
The UK, US and Europe are no longer the only places to base a reputable business. Now you’re just as likely to see a stunningly profitable yet small business spring up in Hong Kong, India or China.
You can’t judge a book by it’s cover anymore.
Which is great for me, being a scruffy git. You can’t see me sitting here with wine stains down my shirt, scratching like a gibbon and losing my concentration as something out of the window catches my eye but that’s exactly what I’m doing. Let’s face it – I could be naked or dressed as a nun for all you know.
Likewise you don’t see the awkward moments I have in shops when the sales girl assumes I’ve stolen my Amex because I look like I can’t afford a decent coat, let alone buy sushi. This is also the reason why the barman always whispers to me ‘It’s sixty pounds a bottle’ whenever we have a modest family celebration with an even more modestly priced bottle of bubbly.
Because people ASSUME things about us because of how we dress, act and behave.
But this causes a problem online too.
Because online we can’t hide behind a thousand dollar suit. (I once wore a £1,000 suit and I make it look like it came from Asda (WalMart).
Despite what people think about internet marketing, if you want a long term business you can’t BS people online.
Online we can’t hide behind a facade of fancy clothes, big cars and flashy offices. All we have to offer, and the thing that people (customers) judge us on, is HOW WE TREAT THEM.
I got a slightly arsey email earlier today from someone who wanted some help with how to make $20,000 by next wednesday (I kid you not). I emailed back to say it was pretty impossible starting from nothing so he got angry and called me a con man.
My instinct was to fire off an email telling him where to shove his $20k but I didn’t. I wrote him a longer email explaining why it would be extremely difficult to achieve this goal and what the alternatives were. I took time to explain some alternatives and possibilites. I felt pretty good about myself afterwards.
When the reply came, I opened it, and waited to bask in the warm glow of his appreciation. I’d really gone out of my way to help this guy, which to be fair, isn’t always possible because I get a lot of emails. Sometimes my replies are shorter than I’d like them to be, but I have to earn a living too and don’t want to get to the point where I employ a ‘minion’ to answer emails for me.
Anyway – I opened the email and found myself reading a barrage of abuse and expletives. The guy simply didn’t want to hear ANYTHING that wasn’t going to get him $20k by next week.
But I did my part. I was professional and as helpful as I possibly could be. I did my bit and I won’t lose any sleep over it. Because as I said earlier, we’re judged, as internet marketers, SOLELY on how we treat people.
I always remember another marketer who’s been around for years said that she once lost her temper and fired off an abusive email to someone who’d done the same to her. Next thing she knew it was all over the internet and her rep was shot. I also know someone rather closer to home who’s had experience with the same thing.
So walk away from your PC for half an hour when you’re angry or frustrated with a customer or enquiry. You can’t afford to be anything less than perfect with your online business – because just as blind people compensate with a better sense of hearing or smell, your customers have nothing to judge you from except the tiny bit of direct communication they get from you in an email or blog.
Scary thought eh?
Oh – and if you want to make $20,000 by wednesday…………well, I’m still working on it – you could maybe get a sponsorship deal and call your next child Sony or Imac?
Suggestions always welcome.
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