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2 Things You Must Know to Succeed in Business

April 4, 2014

Photo courtesy of Martin Abegglen

I hate to do this. I feel like I’m airing “dirty laundry” here.

But it has to be said, because there are two important lessons here that you must know if you want to succeed at business (or life).

Here’s The Situation

Recently, an organization brought me in to talk to its members about marketing. As I’m not here to shame or embarrass anybody, I’m going to going to mention the name of this organization or its industry.

The name of the organization and the industry in which it operates don’t matter though — what I’m about to tell you applies to all industries.

Here’s how everything went down…

Before the Event

Before the event, I was told that the people I’d been speaking to had been warned not to contact me directly. Should that happen, I was to let the organization know, because it was strictly against its policies.

No business cards. No promotional material. Nothing was to be exchanged.

During the Event

As I was being introduced, the audience was again warned not to approach me afterward. If somebody wanted to get in touch with me, it was to be done through the organization.

Keep in mind that I don’t work for this organization and never specified I didn’t want people contacting me. Also keep in mind that anybody can search “David Hooper” on Google and find my contact info for various social media sites, including Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

In other words, I’m not trying to hide. In fact, I’d be pissed if you searched for “David Hooper” and information about me didn’t come up.

I brought up an expert, provided by the organization, on stage and asked her about how she’d gotten started in the industry.

“I purchased (popular industry directory) and started calling people,” she said.

Moments later, I received another note letting me know “all contact with industry professionals needs to be done through our organization.”

After the Event

We ran out of time, but people still had questions. I was happy to answer them, so that’s what I did — I stuck around and answered questions.

And everything went well, until somebody from the organization came by and broke up the group.

“I’m trying to save you,” she said.

And then I received this email a couple of days later…

I just wanted to follow up and say thank you again for being a part of [event name removed]. [Organization name removed] appreciates it more than you can imagine. We have received nothing but positive feedback regarding your talk.

[Organization name removed] is very serious about attendees not reaching out to guests, especially with any material. We reiterated this multiple times before, during, and after the event. All contact attempts must come through a [organization name removed] staff member, unless you specifically gave your info to an individual. If you have anyone from the event reaching out to you, please let me know and I will handle things.

Two Things You Must Know to Succeed in Business…

Rule #1 – The more you try to control your customers, the more likely they are to rebel. Especially, in this case, when they realize you’re lying to them about “Rule #2.”

As we say in the South, “Don’t piss on my leg and call it rain.”

Do this and you will kill your business.


Because people aren’t idiots. We know when we’re being lied to, not only because of our own intuition, but because the Internet has made it so easy to run everything through the “bullshit filter.”

And speaking of filters…

Rule #2 – There are no “filters” when it comes to connecting with people.

In the music industry there are all sorts of rumors about how musicians should never send “unsolicited material” to record labels. The book, film, and television industries are have the similar rumors.

It’s all bullshit.

Stephen King, in his book On Writing, gets very clear on why editors, publishers, agents, record labels, production companies, and others go against this rumor…

Because we’re all looking for something (or someone) great to work with.

Connect with people anyway you can and absolutely don’t let “rules” spoil your fun.

ABOUT THIS SERIES: Every Friday, I give tips on how to build the foundation needed to have a successful business and platformSee other posts in this series here and, if you have a request for me to cover something specific, let me know via Twitter.

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