Every week, I get prospects that ask me about the latest and greatest tool, and then ask if I can do that for them.

A typical conversation goes something like this:

Prospect: “Phil – have you heard about Pinterest? Can you get my business set up on there?”

Me: “Yes, I can. But I have one question before I do: Why?” 

Prospect: “Because everyone else is on there. It’s the latest greatest thing. It cuts. It chops. Customers love it.”

Me: “Really? Have any of your existing customers come in and asked you why you’re not using Pinterest?”

Prospect: “Well no. But they’re using it. I read this article that said Pinterest is the third most popular social network after Facebook and Twitter. I’ve got to get on it right away.

Me: “I read that article. It also said MySpace is the #7 most popular social networking website. Are you using MySpace to attract customers?”

Prospect: “No.”

Me: “And that same article said Tagged.com is the #6 most popular social networking website. Are you using that to attract customers?”

Prospect: “No.”

Me: “OK, so let’s slow down a bit and focus on your fundamentals. Do you have a website?”

Prospect: “Yes.”

Me: “Good. Does it have a place for you to write articles and do you write articles at least once a week? And do you have a permission-based e-mail newsletter that you send out at least once a month?”

Prospect: “But I need a Pinterest page!” [Stomps feet, which I take to be a no.]

Me: “You won’t get the results you want unless you focus on your fundamentals first. Focus on putting up quality articles every week and set up your e-mail newsletter. Once you’ve mastered this, then and only then will we set up a business page.”

It’s at this point where my prospect either thanks me for my time or they find someone else to put up their Pinterest page (or whatever other shiny object has their attention this week).

Why Not Focus on the Shiny?

If you don’t take the time to focus on your fundamentals, you may attract a lot of people – once. They’ll hopefully click your Pinterest pin and go back to the homepage of your website.

Once – never to be seen again.

Or, they’ll click your Pinterest pin and go back to your competitor’s site, which does have articles on its website and has a call to action of sign up for a newsletter that sends out monthly updates about how to most effectively use things like what they just clicked.

But if you focus on your fundamentals, you’ll get those clicks. You’ll get those newsletter signups – and you’ll develop a long-term relationship with those prospects, so when they’re ready to buy, they’ll buy from you.

Don’t listen to me – keep chasing the shiny ball. Let your competition get the fundamentals right – and they’ll eat your business for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

So, what do you think? Do you think the fundaments are critical? Or is it worth it to chase the next shiny object? We’d love to hear your thoughts.