How many of you have heard references to the metaphor of the Silver Bullet? Typically, it is used to represent the ever-elusive quick fix to achieving whatever goal one may wish to attain. In most cases, those goals will have something to do with economic prosperity or weight loss.
Secondly, the reference to the metaphor often comes in the form of a disclaimer: “This snake oil solution is not a silver bullet…because there is no silver bullet…”
But lastly, with as often as I have heard this expression in one form or another over the years, I have really come to disagree. There IS a silver bullet to life’s most perplexing problems, and to life’s most compelling goals. And it has been under our noses the whole time. In my humble opinion, here it is:
- Do the right things.
- Do them right.
- Do them every day.
Now, I will grant you: if you think of a silver bullet as something that you execute once and suddenly your world is transformed, you are likely to read this and be disappointed. But here I think the good news is in its simplicity. Read the three points above again, and think about it. It makes perfect sense.
But, as simple as it sounds, that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Let’s look at each step on its own.
Do the right things. Let’s say you wanted to lose weight and become healthier, and feel more vibrant with more energy. Well it is pretty clear we know what the right things are that we should do: be extremely mindful of what you eat (what foods are “right” seems to be an issue of constant debate–but the general consensus of what foods are healthy and which are not is pretty clear), and exercise. Even those companies that offer nutrition products will cite that without exercise, any weight-loss nutritional help will have less impact.
When building a business, the same principles apply. In sales and marketing, there are best practices that are time tested. The information on those practices is found everywhere. Generally speaking, we know what the right things are that we must do.
Do them right. Back to the example of health and nutrition: you might know that eating proper foods and exercise are important, but if you don’t execute them in the proper way, you will not likely produce the results you want. If you eat proper foods, but only eat extremely large portions once or twice per day, that will not be as effective. Eating the right food the right way means smaller portions in smaller meals throughout the day. It even comes down further to size of the average bite, and how long you chew your food. Eating right is far more than about what you eat…it’s how.
The same rings true for prospecting–and seeking referrals. I have already shared how the most common mistake business professionals make in seeking referrals is not just NOT asking for them, but not asking for them properly. Doing the right things the right way is crucial to producing positive results. And yes, it often requires some trial and error. But what doesn’t?
Do them every day. Here is where most of us–myself included–trip up. And the point here is not necessarily about doing certain things every day, but being consistent. For example, my own exercise habits, while pretty good, still have a lot of room for improvement. I routinely run a simple 5k route in my neighborhood. I try to do it at least two or three times per week–but I am far from being as consistent as I should be. For example, in the last two months, I have only done it twice.
Likewise, when it comes to marketing, consistency is crucial. You can not build name recognition without touching your market in some way on a regular basis. It cannot be done. This isn’t a matter of opinion. It is just a fact. When marketers approach certain efforts with too much emphasis on short-term gains, they are often disappointed, and quit the effort altogether. Unfortunately, that is like planting seeds, watering once, and expecting a harvest overnight.
So, where does this leave us? Well, let’s presume that you know, in general, the right things you should be doing. Most of us do, and indeed, we also continue to learn and grow in this knowledge. That’s important and to be expected.
Further, we all know that we learn most by doing, and in the process hone our abilities and our approaches, whether we are attempting to become healthier eaters or be more successful in setting appointments with prospects over the phone.
I think the “weakest link” in this process for most of us is in remaining consistent. Indeed, that’s the “catch” behind the Silver Bullet. It is not a one-time thing. It is something we need to focus on and execute each and every day. And realize that some days will go better than others.
What we truly need is a constant reminder. So if you wish, I have one for you. Take a post-it note, and write these three points down. Place it at your desk, on your bathroom mirror, in your car, or anywhere else. They are the three simple rules of the Silver Bullet.
And remember: the next time you catch yourself unconsciously looking for that proverbial “Silver Bullet,” rejoice and be glad! You have found it.