During the recession and high unemployment of the past few years, millions of people were forced to find a new way to make a living, and running a business doing web design, internet marketing, and other services for local small businesses has become hugely popular, and for good reason: It's a suite of services that every small business needs.
Along with that, an entire cottage industry has sprouted, selling "how-to" books, videos, and other information products on how to run this sort of business successfully.
Somewhere along the line, I bought one of their e-books, wondering what kind of sales advice they were giving. To keep a long story short, it wasn't very good, but what I really found interesting is what happened next.
The Cult of the "Info Junkie"
As a result of buying that one product, I somehow ended up on endless email lists promoting these types of offers. And there are many, at least one per day, and usually several each day.
For the most part, they're low-cost: Usually five or ten dollars to download a PDF and some screen videos. I bought a couple out of curiosity, and they were rubbish. You certainly get what you pay for.
However, it was reading the reviews of these products that really blew my mind. The website that sells these products allows people to comment, and many of these junky e-books have hundreds of comments & reviews from people saying how great they are.
And here's what's more: The reviews are always from all the same people!
In other words, the same people are buying each and every one of these offers.
The big problem, of course, is that these people are reading book after book, instead of simply getting to work. It's a bad form of procrastination.
Sales Training: A Dirty Secret
I see the same thing going on in the sales training industry. Speakers, authors, and training companies do on-site sales training at businesses and corporations. And they're all telling people to cold call.
The reason is two-fold: First, because that's what the "old school" sales managers and directors who hire them want to hear. The trainers are merely instructing the reps to make cold calls, as their managers are already telling them to.
But, it's the second reason that's the more insidious one: They know full well that cold calling doesn't work anymore, and by telling people to cold call, they'll keep them failing, and keep them coming back for more and more training!
This is the same way a lot of shady "self-help" and "self-improvement" types operate. You pay to go to a seminar that's full of a lot of hype, and at the end you're up-sold to the next (and more expensive) seminar to get the "real" answers. And then the same thing happens there. And on and on it goes.
Even if you're not going to seminars or having live training brought into your office, you'll experience the same thing with 99% of sales books on the market.
I know I did. When I started out in sales, I was a miserable failure. I cold called - like my boss told me to - and when it didn't work, I started reading every sales book and listening to every CD I could get my hands on.
And they all said the same thing! "It's a numbers game" and "make more calls." A lot of them even advocated pushy, shady sales techniques that I wasn't comfortable doing.
Finally I got lucky and was hired by a manager who told me that cold calling is a waste of time, and a professional salesperson should never do the job of a minimum-wage telemarketer. He teamed me up with a top rep who made huge sales numbers without cold calling, and he taught me his methods.
Over the next few years I continued my learning experience of figuring out ways and means of generating hot, qualified leads - people who are ready to buy right now - without ever cold calling again.
After all was said and done, I became a top sales superstar. Top in my company, and even in my city, as far as I know.
And what about all those other reps, who kept on reading more and more sales books, going to more seminars, and having the same ideas drilled into their heads?
Nothing. That's what happened to them: Nothing. Some are still struggling, and others have given up completely and moved on to new careers.
Don't let that happen to you. Don't be an information junkie. Get into action instead - figure out what works, for you - and start succeeding!
Frank Rumbauskas is the author of the New York Times best-seller Never Cold Call Again and has won numerous accolades, such as Readers Choice for Business Book of the Year from 800-CEO-READ, and has been named one of Fast Company’s top 30 most influential people online. To learn more, and to download a free 37-page preview of his Never Cold Call Again lead-generation system, visit http://www.nevercoldcall.com