We give this space over periodically to marketers who are not bloggers, in order to bring other voices into the mix and possibly encourage the guest writers to participate in the blogosphere.
Today's post is from Alan Hirsch, my former partner in p.r. (and in crime) and also my mentor when I first began in the field. Alan, the first two-time contributor to Other Voices, headed G+A Communications in New York until a few years ago when he retired -- or as he says, he's now "on the beach."
You probably know Lou Holtz as a popular college football analyst, which he is, but he is also a great philosopher with a thousand stories to tell. Today I'm sharing something Lou Holtz taught me in 1980, when he gave our group a speech which I've never forgotten.
At that time, Holtz was the football coach at the University of Arkansas, where in seven years he compiled a good 60-21-2 record while maintaining his coaching and teaching standards. Holtz told us that if we wanted to be in a position to sell things to people, we had to live up to certain standards.
He said he always tried to live up to those standards so he could sell his plans and ideas as a coach. It is simple, he said, and if we do what he tells us, we will succeed.
This is what Lou Holtz told us:
There are only three questions people ask of you, even though they don't verbalize the questions to themselves. If someone can answer "yes" to them all, then they can succeed.
Holtz' three questions...
1. Can I trust you?
2. Do you know what you are talking about?
3. Do you care about me personally?
One "no" answer to any of the above and you will most likely fail.
In past years, I've used those questions over and over to protect against disappointment. It has worked.
I once had a supervisor who fired a guy for no reason other than to placate a stupid client who had complained to my supervisor about him. The guy who got fired had been doing the right thing, spending most of his time with the media as he was supposed to at the opening of a luxury hotel, since his assignment was media relations. But the client had wanted the guy to spend more time attending to him. Had he done that, of course, he wouldn't have done his media relations job well.
But the client complained to my supervisor and the guy was fired when he got back to New York. I was appointed as the replacement.
When I got the new assignment, I asked the supervisor why he hadn't stuck up for the guy. "You should have told the client that the guy was doing his job and it would be wrong to fire him, but you didn't," I told my supervisor. "That means you won't stick up for me, even when I deserve to be supported."
"You got that right, Alan," my boss told me.
I worked on that account under that supervisor for 20 years, but that supervisor could never disappoint me. I always knew he didn't care about me personally.
-- Alan Hirsch