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Please tell me about your day!-A lesson from my dinner table for Dads and marketers.

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I went to give my son a quick kiss goodnight, and he started crying hysterically. Earlier in the day, when I had asked him what was wrong, he insisted, “Nothing Dad, I am fine.” So you can imagine my confusion when the waterworks came, hours later after having a great summer day.

What happened? For one thing, I think kids cannot be forced into your routine, or lack thereof, as a parent anymore. Growing up, the dinner table was where I was expected to tell my Dad what was going on with me. Today, I must admit that I am barely home for dinner, and when I am, there is every distraction around imaginable. My son is happy I am there, but just because I actually showed up for a meal doesn’t mean he is going to change his routine. I need to be the flexible one, a parent when he needs one, and a listening ear when he is ready to talk. It doesn’t matter if it’s inconvenient for me or if I am tired. I have to be ready. As any parent will tell you, it’s performing in those crucial moments when my kid needs me that I earn my paycheck. I made a promise to not let him down when I took the job of father, and all I can do is make myself available to him, inviting him outside for a catch or joining in a round of Wii, so I can speak his language.

I have been selling for 16 years, and the same change has happened to how people buy. Before, if I just worked harder and made more calls, more people would see me. That was the routine. Nobody liked cold calls then, but it was an expectation that came with the job. Selling in telecommunications drove competition and better pricing and innovation, because they agreed to a meeting with me.

Now, potential customers can just Google the product and call me when they are ready. But what if I am not ready? It’s a missed opportunity. What if the message conveyed online is not the same as the one that I sell? You lose trust immediately and blow the sale before it starts. If customers catch you in a lie, they don’t even tell you about. They just won’t call you back. Anonymity might be the understood rule today, but a Twitter post about the unethical sales person can never be deleted.

We need to be ready when others want to be sold. We need to have a crisp message, because people’s attention spans are not what they used to be. Honestly, I am surprised you got to this part in the blog. But if we are ready with good advice and make ourselves available online and offline, there will be chances to sell.

Like being a Dad, marketing is more than just showing up. I just hope my boy got my text and knows that I love him.