I watched Billionaires Boys Club the other night. They had this idea they called Paradox Theory to justify the things they did. The main point is that you can justify anything by looking at it form a different angle. What is bad can be viewed as good by changing perspective. This gave them the freedom to do bad things without guilt. When I see all the marketing I get bombarded with on my Facebook feed, I feel that most of these people are subscribing to this philosophy.
The not so secret secret is that most gyms and academies pay marketing companies for the programs they run. You can see who is buying what by the promotion they push. 30 Days Free, 6 Weeks Free, Number 1 Rated… all these ideas are being bought and repackaged. None of this is unique or created by the business owner. How do I know this? Because I am guilty of buying into some of these programs too. I fell for the idea that I am missing out on this great idea that can launch me to the front of my market.
Here is where these ideas all fail; they are not you. You are pushing a sales pitch without being who you are and educating people to what you do. You are selling a get something quick or bait and switch to generate leads. It sounds great, but it falls way short of what was promised.
I am getting ads for all the “other” guys in town. None of these people have done much professionally worth speaking of. I am being brutally honest here. I applaud the businesses these people have built and support their lifestyle with. What I get a bit cranky about is the equating of making money with quality. The Tae Kwon Do guy claiming to be an MMA school, the point Karate guy acting like he is street lethal, and the BJJ Black Belt claiming to be a Muay Thai master… lots of deceptive nonsense being sold to a public that has no reason to know what is real and what is sales tactics.
We all should be who we are and allow for the public to decide what is best for them, but that is a Utopian view of things. Marketing is warfare in many ways. Business is not fair and is not always honest. I get it, I am not naive. What I am not going to do is play the misdirection game because I do not have to. After 20 years of running my own academy and competing at the highest levels of combat sports, I have no need to pretend. Nobody in my market has a home grown fighter in the UFC and Glory – we do. No other academy has trained and competed in over 15 countries the last 20 years, we have. The difference in what we do compared to the rest is clear; we just have to make it known.
I get transplants from other schools all the time. One of the common conversations we end up having shortly after we begin training together is; you guys really do this! It amazes me how little people expect from people they pay their money to. They expect to be lied to and for instructors to under deliver. This bothers me tremendously. If you are going to pay a premium rate and be locked into a long term contract, you should be getting premium training with high value.
I have made a commitment to ignore the enticing offers to transform my business. I have made a commitment to market who I am and what I do ethically. I have come to understand that the truth about our training and its actual value is more marketable than the offers and deals. I am making these commitments due to experience. I tried the other stuff out and found it to be dishonest and lacking.
In every aspect of life I always find that the foundation for success is honesty and transparency. Faking something comes with a hard fall. Being the best me I can be and providing value is the only way to generate success that is sustainable.
Don’t sell yourself short or think there are shortcuts. Do the work, be good at what you do, and learn how people consume content today. If you can grab your markets attention and speak honestly, I am sure you can build a brand around what it is you do.
Lastly, buyer beware of packed rooms. Quality and quantity are different things. Busy does not mean good, it means busy.