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  • Bob Burg

“[Burg] has demonstrated that adding value to people's lives is the way to climb the ladder of financial success.”

~ Fran Tarkenton, Hall of Fame Quarterback and Founder/CEO GoSmallBiz.com

But It’s Different Here. Or…Is It?

February 7th, 2012 by Bob Burg

Have you ever heard someone tell you that your product (or service, opportunity, idea, etc) “won’t work here” (or, in this business, this company, this region of the country, etc.)?

After all, “it’s different here”…isn’t it?

Actually, not so much. I mean, don’t get me wrong; we are all individuals; each with our own needs, wants, desires, fears, etc.

Still, as human beings, in total, we are all so much more alike than we are different.

You might recall that last summer I spoke in China for a major Direct Sales company. In the audience were people from 12 different countries. Perhaps the most interesting thing to me was something that — while expected — was still both enlightening and delightful to experience.

During the question and answer period there was something very familiar about the questions. And, that is, they were the exact same questions I am asked here in the U.S. and other western countries.

I don’t mean they were close to the same questions. I mean, the same questions. People had the same concerns, fears, needs, wants, desires. Oh, and they heard the same objections from their prospects.

All in all, we can pretty much know that, as different as people are, we are all basically the same. And that is one of those really cool things.

Do you find that to be true? Or, is it…different where you are? :-)

22 Responses to “But It’s Different Here. Or…Is It?”
  1. John Morgan said at 10:09 am on

    Great post Bob!

    There’s nothing I cringe at hearing more than when someone says “but my business is different” or “this won’t work in my business”. I find this kind of thinking can be deadly to a business.

  2. Great post! Yes, I find it to be true, we are more alike than we are different.

  3. I am sure you are right. People tend to justify their actions thinking on themselves, and it is not about them it is about the people that surround you. So anywhere you are, it is all about others, people have to stop saying: That is the procedure or that is how it is done here, instead, they have to adapt to other people needs to succeed.

  4. That’s absolutely Bob!
    We face this objection on a day-to-day basis. I have business in India, UK and a few other international countries and we hear this a lot in India when people and sometimes our own associates mention about a few things the exact same way.

    But like you said, “As human beings, in total, we are all so much more alike than we are different.”

    We understand this and we are moving on building people up with right principles. And we see, right people come along and tag along. People can change, situations could be different, but success principles never change!
    Thank you for bringing up this today.

    Regards,
    Snigdha

  5. Bob Burg said at 11:39 am on

    John, that’s so funny that you say that (and, when I say, “funny” I mean “not funny”) ;-) because this is something that we in marketing hear so much it’s almost a proverb And, I’m figuring that you and some of the people I consider the “ultra-marketing experts” of today will be weighing in on pretty heavily. The funny thing is, not only is it not true but, even IF it were true that something – as it is – wouldn’t work for a particular market, there are ALWAYS parts of it from which one can take that would absolutely work. In fact, it’s one of the things I enjoyed so much about your book, “Brand Against The Machine” {http://amzn.to/tQkURi}; you showed us how to take certain immutable principles and apply them to our business, regardless of…

  6. Bob Burg said at 11:40 am on

    Snigdha, I think you covered that beautifully in everything you just said. Thank you for sharing your always-profound wisdom with us, my friend!

  7. Bob Burg said at 12:09 pm on

    Thank you, Valencie!

  8. Bob Burg said at 12:10 pm on

    Ale, thank you!

  9. (My comment from the Facebook page, which is more valuable with Bob’s follow-up comment, so I hope he reposts it here :-) )

    I also like the related “But our product is really different. Our service is completely different … Etc.” Everyone’s product and service is the same: they meet a need or a want. And people are more alike than not, their wants and needs are more alike than not, and your product and service is probably going to be more alike than not.

  10. Bob Burg said at 1:43 pm on

    Thank you, Beth. And here is my follow-up to your follow-up. (Yes, I’m following you from FB to blog post) LOL That’s a great point, Beth, and from the opposite end of the spectrum. Really, technology has – by and large – leveled the playing field and, by and large, they are not completely different (or, much different) at all. I know that many product purists do not want to hear that. So, my suggestion to them is that – if you really want to believe your product is that much different, then go ahead and believe it (it’s terrific to have great belief in your product or service) but realize that, as far as your prospect is concerned, they probably don’t see it that way. And, the way you communicate your true value to them will need to be more than just the product or service itself. Beth, would love you to copy and past your comment at the blog site so people can see it.

    On another note, Ms. Beth…I think you’ve inspired still another blog post! :-)

  11. So true Bob. You wouldn’t believe the number of lawyers / law firms I hear this from. Or perhaps you would? :-) Bottom line… we’re all human… or most of us are :-)

  12. Bob Burg said at 5:12 pm on

    Hi Chrissie, I have no doubt. Many a lawyer has told me that using the personalized notecards I suggest would “never work for lawyers.” And yet, I’ve got lawyers as customers who credit much of their success at rain-making to the use of those personalized notecards. :-) (Of course, it was much more than just that, but they will now tell anyone who will listen how much easier it has made it for them to cultivate relationships with potential clients and referral sources.)

  13. The humanisation of us lawyers… bring it on :-)

  14. Tom Trush said at 7:18 pm on

    Thank you for drawing attention to this misconception, Bob!

    When I hear the “different” argument, it often comes from business owners who allow flawed prospect perceptions to overshadow opportunities for growth. As you prove, all prospects share common characteristics, especially when deciding to part with their hard-earned cash. The only differences involve desires related to a company’s product or service.

    It sure is comforting to know you repeatedly hear the same questions about business building, regardless of where you are in the world.

  15. Bob Burg said at 7:59 pm on

    Chrissie: LOL

  16. Bob Burg said at 8:00 pm on

    Hi Tom, I thikn you hit it right on the head!

  17. Wally Bock said at 1:46 pm on

    This is a great post, Bob, but let me push back a bit, lest we risk falling off the other side of the horse. Like you, I’ve given speeches and other programs to a variety of companies and associations for most of my career. Pretty much every one of them has told me that they were different from every other company or association. They were wrong, as you point out so well. But they were also right.

    They all have the same basic human needs. Jeff Bezos says that he built Amazon around the observation that all shoppers want to know three things: product information, price, and availability. But the perfume buyer and the book buyer and the person looking for a vacuum cleaner all have different concerns. And each individual vacuum buyer is unique. Those differences are what puts the niche in niche marketing.

    The problem comes when people use “difference” as code for “I’m not going to try anything new” or “I’ve got all the answers.”

  18. Doug Wagner said at 2:53 pm on

    Great post. You are right, underneath the “cultural” covers we are all pretty much human.

    Hear this as an excuse way too often; and just sales either. Easy to dismiss any idea but as John mentioned, you close yourself to ideas. Just be honest, you don’t really want to change or rock the boat. Good luck with that.

    How do you deal with it? Maybe dig deep into why and then show examples where it worked. Find those early adopters for the example. Any other ideas?

  19. Bob Burg said at 3:41 pm on

    Hi Wally, thank you for your comments. Actually, I don’t see what you are saying as being “pushback” at all. People are indeed all different (see third paragraph of article). I meant it more in the way that you described it. And, I think there are those who really do think “it’s different here” in terms of why something won’t work. Then it’s our job as salespeople to be able to help them – in a kind, tactful manner – see why that’s not necessarily the case. Of course, as you point out, there are those who use it simply as a code for different things. Thanks again for sharing with us.

  20. Bob Burg said at 3:42 pm on

    Thanks, Doug. Always appreciate your sharing with us, and your insightful comments!

  21. Wally Bock said at 7:53 pm on

    Ya, know, Bob, as I look back at the post, my comment and your reply I realize that I was responding to the comments more than the post itself. Whenever I see a bandwagon starting to roll, I have this irresistible urge to startle the horses. Great post. I apologize for getting carried away.

  22. Bob Burg said at 8:56 am on

    Oh, thanks Wally. I appreciate that. Thanks for the clarification. Makes total sense. And, thanks *always* for sharing with us. I appreciate when you do!

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