You’re stuck. Torn on what to do. The ad campaign isn’t performing nearly as well as you thought it would and that’s a problem.
A problem with no clear solution.
So you do what you’ve always done – phone a friend. Actually, you phone a few friends. To each friend, you ask the same question: what should I do? They respond in kind. One person says to be patient, to wait a little longer before making any changes.
Another says to adjust your designs. And another still recommends stopping the campaign altogether before you “waste” more money.
Three different answers
I’ve been in this situation many, many times. More times than I can remember. Not in regards to advertising, mind you, but in getting advice for my life as a whole.
It’s a frustrating place to operate from.
Because I want to respect the advice I receive, but know that realistically, if three people give me three conflicting actions, two of them must be wrong. How am I to tell though? Who is right? Is there actually a fourth option I haven’t considered? Should I call someone else?
By the end of it, I feel annoyed with everyone involved. Myself included.
This was my process for getting advice. Until, one day, things changed.
Like most life-altering experiences I’ve had, this one came from a book I was reading.
The book: Principles by Ray Dalio
In short, Principles distills many of the lessons Dalio has learned in life and business into one powerful read. Among other valuable takeaways, one thing in particular that has stuck with me is the concept of Believability Weighting.
Simply put, Believability Weighting is choosing the advice of someone that knows what they’re talking about over someone that doesn’t.
*See my summary of Principles, here. It’s one of my favorite personal development books of all time.
One will stand out
Here’s how Believability Weighting plays out in the advertising example from earlier. Recall, you’re torn on what to do about the ads. You ask three friends and they each give you a conflicting option.
You don’t know what to do.
But then you apply Believability Weighting.
Instead of seeing all three pieces of advice as equal, you recognize them through the context of the person suggesting it. Meaning that you take into consideration not just the advice you’re receiving, but who is giving the advice.
When you do that, the choice becomes obvious.
The person behind the advice
For instance, one of your friends has never used a computer in his life and doesn’t know what online advertising is. Another of your friends is your kid-niece who just graduated from kindergarten and still has trouble spelling her name.
And your third friend runs a marketing agency that specializes in paid ads.
Now is it obvious? Of course!
You’ve taken into consideration the experience of the person giving you the advice, not just the advice itself. You accept the suggestion from your marketing friend, apply what she recommends, and behold, you get the result you wanted.
Who I ask
When I ask for advice now, I don’t call three friends and hope that one of them gives me the answer I need. Instead, I find and ask the one person that is most qualified.
It’s a little more time-consuming than asking your roommate, but it’s considerably more effective.
When I have retirement questions, I ask one specific person who is financially secure (and then some). When I have cooking questions, I ask someone that is an amazing cook. And when I have fitness questions, I ask someone with the type of body I’m striving for.
Sometimes these people are already in my life – like friends and family – but that’s not always the case.
When access isn’t an option
When you don’t have immediate access to someone with the information you need, there’s one place I always turn to.
If you want advice but don’t know anyone that can weigh in, find a book on the topic! When someone writes a book, they dedicate a large amount of their time to:
- Researching the topic
- Fully understanding it
- And then compiling the information in a way that is useful to the world
Just like with Principles, I’ve had more life-altering moments through reading than I have had through conversation. Conversation is certainly great, but I don’t always know someone with the depth of information I’m looking for.
But there’s always a book that has it.
Books to read
Once you know what you need help with, it’s just a matter of finding the right book for you. Here are three (not including Principles which you should definitely check out) that I recommend:
- Nutrition: Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes
- Relationships: How to Be a Power Connector by Judy Robinett
- Finance: I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi
Speaking of Judy Robinett, her book, How to Be a Power Connector, has been invaluable in helping me improve upon and create new relationships. Relationships that, in turn, have blossomed, thus providing more opportunities for me to get advice from people that know.
Two options (plus a third)
When it comes to getting the right advice, you have two options:
- Read a book on the subject.
- Ask someone that knows what they’re talking about. This can be either someone you know or someone you reach out to cold.
That latter point brings up a bonus third option as well: Reach out to the authors of the books you enjoy.
This is something I just started doing last year and has been really rewarding. For example, without mentioning the author’s name, I read one of their books and loved it! It completely changed how I thought about certain things. But, after going through all my notes, I had some follow up questions.
So I emailed the author. And they emailed me back with amazing answers.
Answers that I needed that no one else would know.
Moving forward with the right advice
The next time you need guidance, don’t turn to whoever is closest or responds the fastest. Be deliberate about who you get your advice from.
Get a well-regarded book on the topic.
Or, determine who has the proven experience doing the thing you want and then reach out to them with your specific question. Worse case, you never hear anything back. Best case though, you get the answer you need and your life changes for the better. And hey – maybe you become best friends and travel the world together.
But that’s best case. At the very least, you’ll probably get the answer you’re seeking.
Good luck with the ads.