Oops, You Really Believe You Have Permission?

The third and last in a short series of “Oops” articles, this is a bit of a rant, which is OK because I’m a very levelheaded person, and my wife tells me that when I feel ticked-off about something, I should let it all out, lest those bad feelings remain inside me and fester.

So here’s what’s annoying me right now.

Getting permission from those to whom you attempt to sell stuff is a great idea. It’s not a new idea. It’s been a great idea for a very long time.

But like many great ideas, it’s open to abuse.

And like many good things that are open to abuse, the root of that abuse lies in money, greed.

Let me trace, for a moment, the decline of “permission” in the hands of marketers. Here’s how it started. If you wanted to “permission market” to me, you would ask me, “Nick, may we tell you about our amazing new stuff?”

“Yes,” I’d reply.

Or maybe “No.”

That was pretty simple. Just ask my permission.

But, of course, if you wanted to be a bit of a weasel and make a little more money, you might have given in to the temptation to start bending the rules a little.

So as the recipient of “permission marketing,” I had to start becoming a little more vigilant. Because instead of asking me a simple question, companies would start telling me, “Nick, if you don’t tell us not to, we’re going to tell you about our amazing new stuff.”

Great. So now it’s my responsibility to keep an eye on the shifty practices of every marketer who slides their tripe into my email inbox? Terrific.

But that wasn’t enough for some marketers who were just too lazy to even make ME responsible for NOT giving permission.

Now I’m hearing, “Nick, since you subscribed to XYZ e-zine, you have given us (not XYZ e-zine) permission to tell you about our amazing new stuff.”

Well, I give up.

It’s only a matter of time before my dinner will be interrupted by a phone call from someone saying, “Nick, since you have answered your phone at this time, you have given us permission to tell you about our amazing new stuff.”

Or I’ll grab some junk mail from my mailbox and find an envelope with this compelling message: “Nick, as you are looking at this envelope, we now have permission to blah, blah, blah…”

And the sad part is that we are only a short step or two away from this.

In the hands of most marketers online, the concept of permission marketing has become pure nonsense.

It’s all part of everyone’s shortsighted plan to grab your money today, before it’s too late.

The answer? Well, we could always come up with another, new, new thing. Another trendy phrase.

Or we could do something completely different.

Like take a step back. Regain our common sense. Use the Internet in a way for which it is very well suited.

That is to say, communicate with your prospects and customers (a.k.a. people) with respect and decency. Talk to them. And listen.

You know, build one of those real relationship things. Take some time. Don’t push.

You’ll then likely find yourself selling in a manner that is entirely more respectful and successful.

And you won’t have to weasel your way into tricking someone into giving you “permission.”

Because they’ll give it to you gladly.

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