“You won’t win if you play by the rules.” that is the creatives mantra. Consider where the art world is today. There are many categories and sub-categories of artist and even new types of buyers. But at one time this wasn’t true. Not every whimsy was considered art. The standard for what was art was really high. When there is a standard, there becomes a means to free yourself from it. For instance Picaso could paint masterfully, but he moved to deconstruct the paintings and make them look rudimentary.
Because to win in a world where everyone can do what you do, you have to do it differently, which means you have to break the rules. A quick side note; if you aren’t good at it when you follow the rules, you will be worse when you break them. The rules of common play in today’s business world are being broken all the time. We live in a global market and yet some of us act like it’s still the eighties. What does that mean? That means we need to up our game, look at the rules we are following and decide which one is hindering our progress.
Have you ever been lured into a car dealership because there is a giant inflated gorilla on the top of the building. It might get your attention or your kids’ attention, but it is meaningless. I am sure at one time when life was slower a giant balloon animal could get a few curious people who had the potential to become buyers to stop in. They said to themselves “I wonder what’s going on over there. I wonder what new kinds of cars they have.” And I am sure that first dealer who inflated the parade sized balloon on his yard was called crazy. Now, that is standard. That is a marketing rule, if you want street traffic, inflate a giant animal in front of your store.
Fun, easy example right. Well, how about cold calling? What is the standard for that? Pain, right. Companies, give the new hire a script have her memorize it and then train he to not be human, they cut out her communication methods. Her new way of starting a conversation with a customer goes like this, “Hello, I am _________, with ________ the reason I am calling today is_______.”
And that is how your would be customer response; I don’t have time to be interrupted by someone I don’t know with a deal I am not looking for.
I think it was Tom Hopkins, who wrote about having to go into a new market and cold call, but he had to go door to door. So, he sent a letter ahead of him, letting them know he will be in the area. He killed the cold call. He warmed himself up to them by letting him know when and what he wanted. He didn’t do what the rules say. Memorize this script, go out and get the door slammed in your face. No, he worked harder and paved a new way to go door to door, and still nobody does what he did.
These rules for success were written in hindsight. I am not telling you to break the law. No, I am telling you to succeed sometimes you have to realize there are rules in place that hold you back and you don’t have to follow them. That is one of the reasons I love Anne Rice, She tells people if you want to be a writer, write. She dispels all the rules and says go for it. Now it is your turn. Realize you are in a local and global market, your customer might live in Germany, Japan, or West Haven you have to get creative about how you reach them. Some industries require you to move to be at the top of the global game, but we live in a big enough place you could be just as happy living at the top of the local game too. Don’t let the rules of others determine how you succeed.