A Lesson The Homeless Taught Me About Marketing

żby: Chris Stirling

Yesterday I had an eye opening moment, actually 2 moments, that happens every so often. You see I was minding my own business walking along the sea wall in my home city. I just happened to be walking behind a person asking for "spare change" from every person he encountered on the sea wall. He was not very successful as most people just pretended they did not hear the request or even see him. But, every 20th person, or so, he would encounter a receptive individual who would indulge in his request for "spare change". This man taught me 2 lessons:

1 - Be consistent with your messaging. I'm sure this man did not do much scientific testing but he did believe in the message of "spare change" and he delivered his message to every person he encountered with confidence that it would be successful eventually. I realized I could do the same with my marketing message. Instead of having multiple marketing ads out there I should find a message that works and run with it.

2 - Every "no" gets you closer to a "yes". This man was never deterred by a person ignoring him or a "no". He just continued on, knowing that eventually he would receive a "yes". I realized this is the same for my business. Not everybody will be interested in my home based business opportunity or products and that is OK. If I believe in my message, eventually I will encounter someone who is.

Later that day I was driving home and I noticed another homeless man standing at a very busy stop light intersection holding a cardboard sign asking for help. As I was sitting there waiting for my light to turn green watching every 7th or 8th car hand him some change I realized this man also taught me 2 lessons about marketing:

3 - A captive audience is valuable. This man realized that standing on the side of the road was no good for him because there was no foot traffic and the cars would not stop to read his story. Once he stood at the intersection he knew that people would be stopped at the location for a couple of minutes giving him time to have his message read and increasing his chances of receiving help. His message was more elaborate than the "spare change" request of the first man I encountered today. He was able to tell his story on the piece of cardboard and telling his audience why he needed assistance. This type of exposure is extremely valuable to this man. The increased exposure time resulted in him not receiving "spare change" but I saw people giving him paper money. I realized that I needed to get my message onto locations with a large captive audience to be successful.

4 -High traffic areas are worth the costs. This man did not choose any intersection to stand at, he chose one of the busiest ones in the city. I then remembered yesterday there was a man at this location but not the same person as today. In fact I have never been at this intersection without someone standing there with a sign asking for help. I am sure this location is difficult to secure but for the person who does get there first they will be rewarded. This is not a revelation but it can often be forgotten lesson. Often the high traffic locations can be more expensive or more difficult to secure, but if you are willing to do what it takes to get your message seen in this location you will receive the fruits of your hard work.

Today I gave "spare change" and "help" to two homeless men in my city and they both gave me lessons that were far more valuable. I saw these lessons in action with results I would be happy with in my own business and plan on putting them into action immediately!

Copyright 2005 Chris Stirling

About The Author

Chris Stirling is the owner of http://www.stirls.com and publisher of Work At Home Top Picks Newsletter.His Home Business Directory website is designed to help other people achieve their goal of having their own work at home business. http://www.stirls.com.

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