There are only three types of potential clients you will ever experience: responsive, neutral and unresponsive.
- Responsive people will come across your work and light up. They’ll get excited and want to sign up and hire you after learning a little bit about you. They’ll be curious, want to know more and ask you a lot of questions. These people are a ‘yes’ to what you’re up to in your business.
- Neutral people will listen to what you have to say but they won’t react much. They’ll sit there in your workshop politely and take it in. But they won’t sign up for much. They may be cordial and listen respectfully but they for sure won’t seem ‘into it’ like the responsive people do. These people are a ‘maybe’ to what you’re up to in your business.
Unresponsive people will actively pull away, show disinterest, might even be rude. These people are a ‘no’ to what you’re up to in your business.
I think there’s a big difference between those who are unresponsive and those who respond with hostility. So I posted this comment:
Let me “bend the magnet” a bit more and take your analogy to its logical fourth category: those who are actively opposed to what you’re doing. You and I as marketers in the green/socially conscious/cool and groovy/progressive activist space will not only attract the cool and groovy people–we’ll repel the Hummer-driving, cigar-smoking, GMO-loving executive at Monsanto or the local nuclear power plant to the point where they might actually speak out against us–just as WE have spoken out against THEIR actions.
And I’m fine with that. Quite frankly, they are a way to gain the attention of those people in in the uninvolved category, who may be within their orbit but have never thought about these issues. They’re a doorway into media coverage, and give us legitimacy in the eyes of reporters (and their readers) because these big important corporations are actually acknowledging and discussing out issues. And every once in a while, lightning actually strikes and some of them start examining the issues and taking action on our side of the fence (as Walmart has—for its own profit-driven reasons—on sustainability, for instance).
I think of my experience as one of 1414 Clamshell Alliance members arrested on the construction site of the Seabrook, NH nuclear power plant, trying to keep the plant from being built, back in 1977. New Hampshire’s governor at the time, Meldrim Thomson, and William Loeb, publisher of the largest newspaper in the state, the Manchester Union-Leader, called us “the Clamshell terrorists.”
Yet not only had we all pledged nonviolence, we had all actually undergone training in nonviolent protest and joined small, accountable, affinity groups (which continued to function after our arrest); it was a precondition for participation.
Governor Thomson kept the Clamshell prisoners incarcerated in National Guard armories around the state for about two weeks. When we emerged, we found we’d:
- Birthed a national safe-energy movement based in nonviolent civil disobedience
- Rapidly and throughly raised consciousness about nuclear power plant safety (and the lack thereof)
- Created a climate where, unlike previous accidents that had gotten little or no coverage, the Three Mile Island meltdown in 1979 (and later catastrophic failures at Chernobyl and Fukushima) became front-page news.
Seabrook did go online, so we failed in our immediate goal. BUT in an era where former President Richard Nixon had called for 1000 nuclear power plants in the US, Seabrook was the last nuclear power plant to go on line in the US other than Shoreham, NY, which was shut down after preliminary low-power testing and never supplied the electrical grid. I believe the opposition of Thomson and Loeb to our movement helped make it a mass movement, just as the overreaction against civil rights and anti-Vietnam War protestors helped those movements gain strength.
What do you think—do we need our enemies as much as our friends? Can we “ju-jitsu” their hostility into a benefit for our cause? Do you have a great example, either form your own work or something you’ve heard about somewhere? Please leave your comment below.