Entrepreneurs pay a lot of attention to the mechanics of marketing. They take workshops, read books, and hire consultants to find out how to do the best job they possibly can. With my own clients, I often discover that their knowledge of marketing techniques is quite good already. What they might lack is the right kind of marketing attitude.
Do any of the attitudes described below sound familiar? If so, you may be sabotaging your own marketing efforts. Read on for some possible solutions.
1. “I shouldn’t have to market.” If you are good enough at what you do, you tell yourself, clients should just come to you. Marketing is for products, not professionals. You have years of training and experience in your specialty, why should you have to spend your precious time on marketing?
This perception is extremely common among consultants and professionals, although many won’t admit it. The fact is that successful marketing is a necessary part of business ownership. If you could get all the paying work you wanted without having to market, why wouldn’t everyone be self-employed?
If you perceive marketing as a dirty business, try thinking of it as the diapers you need to change in order to have the joys of being a parent. But instead of focusing on what you dislike, tie your marketing chores to your vision of a successful business.
Visualize checks arriving in the mail when it’s time to make a cold call, or picture a signed contract when preparing for a presentation. Post visual reminders (e.g. photos or clippings) at your desk of the reasons you became self-employed in the first place. Parents don’t remember all the diapers when they’re looking at the baby photos.
2. “I don’t have time for marketing.” There are only two situations where this can really be true: you’re too busy doing the client work you already have, or you have other important responsibilities (e.g. an outside job or young children) taking up your time.
It’s easy to believe that doing client work already contracted for is more important than marketing, especially when deadlines are tight. But if you always follow this policy, you will be locked into a feast or famine cycle, with no new clients waiting for you when the work is finished.
Whether your responsibilities preventing you from marketing are within the business or outside it, you need to allocate a minimum amount of time each week, no matter what. Even two hours per week can make a significant difference, if you consistently use that time for marketing.
Imagine that you have overslept, and are late for an appointment. You might skip breakfast, but would you leave the house without brushing your teeth? Of course not. If you are going to be successful in business, that’s how automatic marketing needs to become for you.
3. “My marketing isn’t working.” It’s true that there may be something wrong with your marketing. Perhaps your message is unclear or the tactics you’re using are inappropriate for the audience. I find, though, that for the majority of business owners who say this, the real problem is not that their marketing isn’t working but that they aren’t working their marketing.
Let’s say your business needs two new clients a month, on average. If, in your experience, you must make a detailed presentation, proposal, or initial consultation to three potential clients for one to say yes, you will need to make six of these presentations per month.
Now how many prospects do you need to have contact with for one to be interested in a presentation? Ten, maybe? That means you need to make contact with 60 prospects each month to land your two new clients. If you do this math for yourself, you may quickly find that the only thing wrong with your marketing is that there hasn’t been enough of it.