Why Dogs Bite



I’ve had some discussions lately with coaching students about marketing.  One student was perplexed and somewhat upset, understandably, that “nothing is working”.  So, we drilled down into his work to see if we could uncover something.  I asked what he was doing for his marketing.

“Direct mail” was the answer.  Good, that’s a great way to reach out to a lot of people and get decent results; although this was clearly NOT the case for this guy.  Now, I should mention that I have seen his marketing letters and they are really great – to the point, clear, and all about helping the prospect.

So, naturally, I went to “quantity” and found that he was doing about 100 a week.  Not an avalanche by any means, but certainly enough to generate a response or two from time to time.  But, “nothing” is what he claims to be getting.  Absolutely nothing.  Makes no sense, really.

Later that same day, another student approached me with a couple of questions and remarked that he was fielding a “bunch of leads”.  “Wait a minute”, I said with this earlier conversation in mind, “where are you getting these leads?”  Oh, direct mail, talking with REALTORs, and friends.

So, the first thing you could rationally conclude is that he had multiple streams of marketing going on, but with all things being equal, he should have had little or no response from direct mail.  Not the case.  He was getting the lion’s share from direct mail response.  He was having good conversations.

The next thing that you might conclude is the target area.  After drilling down, come to find out that some of these two people’s marketing areas overlapped.  Even more bizarre, because that should mean a big fat goose-egg for both, but clearly this is not the case.

What the heck is going on?  I wish I could say that this was a unique situation, where one person is getting terrific response and the other is getting little or nothing.  Regrettably, this scenario is not that rare, and I am starting to see a pattern when I look at the situation more carefully.

There is a well-known phenomenon in dogs that is called “fear aggression” – it’s when a dog bites a human because the human is exhibiting fear.  It’s a self-preservation response that seems totally contradictory.  If the dog sensed fear in the human, you would think that it would feel some superiority in the situation and NOT bite.  But what happens is that the dog empathetically takes on the human’s  fear and bites the human to protect itself.  Weird, but true.

Dogs don’t bite me.  I always approach a dog with love and confidence and non-aggression, so they immediately feel comfortable and start wagging the tail and assuming a submissive stance.  The dog feels that I will do no harm and appreciates the loving attention.

Could the same be true human-to-human?  Why are some sales people wildly successful while others fail miserably?  If you drill down, you will see that a good salesperson is authentic, empathetic, and really looking out for the best interest of the client - and HAS THE CONFIDENCE to deliver on that.

So, there is a high probability that marketing failures are the result of fear on the side of the marketer.  But how does that get transmitted through a letter – before the marketer even talks with the prospect?  In a word, “I dunno”.  OK, that’s two words, but you see where I’m going with this.

Consider that the energy that you put into your marketing letters while writing and addressing them has a bold impact on the reader, and not so much the words.

My partner and I once sent out 40 (forty) letters because we ran out of stamps, and I saw her blessing the batch and putting a lot of love into them.  We got three (3) responses from the 40 (7%), and one of them turned into a huge rehab for us.  Luck?  Coincidence?  I don’t know, just look at it.