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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Practice What I Preach?

It has been some time since I updated this blog for which I have a long list of reasons I can supply: people I can blame, circumstances beyond my control, acts of God, sun spots and more. Fact is there are only one person to blame (moi) and one reason to give: lack of discipline. My wife tells me to stop beating myself up all the time so enough about that. Instead I will focus a paragraph or two on why discipline is more important and more difficult to maintain in your sales career (and elsewhere) than ever before.

My father was in sales, way back in the day. Was in the retail shoe business in the 1950's (and downtown Auburn, NY had a host of locally owned shoe stores) and then sold cars until he passed away in 1974. Professional discipline was required: show up to the store on time (9AM), dress professionally, smile and pretty much go home and forget about it at 5PM. Five days a week, occasionally six. Never on Sunday. Run an ad in the Pennysaver or newspaper and wait for people to come in. Check! It worked.

My son is in sales, very modern day young man. As a youngster he always wanted to play games on the "puter" (a Commodore 128!) and has taken to the Internet, social media and all things digital as a way of life, which it is for almost all young people today. They are constant communicators, welcoming new media and platforms because they have grown up doing so.

That leaves the rest of us, those in the middle. We learned our trades (and many habits) from people of my father's generation and are trying to hire, reach and sell to people of my son's generation. That's not to mention trying to reach, hire and sell to people of our own generation who are just as mixed up about media, communications and demographic habits and trends as we are. At least that is my guess, based on very unscientific research of me and my peeps. We all claim to be users (have a Facebook page and Twitter handle) but can't say that we are totally comfortable with it or good at it.

For the record, an excellent report from Pew Research on social media users today is HERE.

And people still read newspapers (thank God), in fact newspaper readership is healthy and still primarily done in paper and ink. Pew has an excellent report HERE for that information.

So, the discipline factor. We in the middle have to use our expertise to continue to develop great (not just good) print products that attract readers and advertisers and generate profit. At the same time we have to become social media mavens, not just claim to be users.

HERE is a good introduction to using social media...and HERE is a compilation of tips to become a guru (or so they claim).

It takes practice, practice, practice to get good at the ever-changing social media world. It takes time. Time takes discipline. There is no link to click that makes you more disciplined, nor is there a quick fix tutorial that will bless you with the attitude of a lifelong learner.  It is within each of us, we just have to tap it. Daily. I hate to say it but "24-7" because it is.

I never thought I would say this, but I think I am jealous of my father.


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