Do you feel uncomfortable trying to market your business to strangers? Most of us do. Making cold calls, knocking on doors, or attending networking mixers where you don’t know a soul can be challenging or even painful. Happily, cold approaches like these are not all there is to marketing. In fact, you may never need to use them at all.
Perhaps you already know this, and have been marketing your business in other ways. For example, launching a website, exhibiting at trade shows, running pay-per-click ads, distributing flyers, sending emails and letters to people who don’t know you, or posting promos on social media. But all of those approaches are “cold” as well, and many of them can be expensive.
Whenever you are trying to start a marketing conversation with a stranger — with no introduction, referral, or shared connection to help you — it’s a cold approach, whether you make it on the phone, in a room, by mail, or online. And cold approaches, across the board, are less effective than warm ones.
A prospective client who becomes acquainted with your business by referral or introduction is much more likely to hire you than one who never heard of you before. A prospect who gets to know, like, and trust you over time will decide to do business with you much more easily than one who just ran across you.
Ready to warm up your marketing? Here are six ways to do it. Continue Reading…
One of the most persistent barriers to success for self-employed professionals is fear of rejection. Sometimes this fear is quite conscious. You know that you are avoiding marketing and sales because you’re afraid your prospects will say no.
Other times the fear is lurking in the background, making an impact you’re not always aware of. You may find yourself procrastinating about making a phone call or setting up a sales appointment, and blame it on laziness or poor time management. Or you may avoid following up because you “don’t want to bug people.” Or perhaps it feels pushy to ask directly for a sale.
Or maybe it just seems easier to spend time posting to Facebook or Twitter, or spend money buying pay-per-click ads, than it does to have a one-to-one conversation with a prospect who has expressed interest in your services.
But what this subtle resistance to direct contact with your prospects usually indicates is that you are — consciously or unconsciously — avoiding situations where you might be told no.
There is no question that it can be confronting to ask someone to hire you. The possibility of being rejected may bring up every ounce of psychological baggage you are hauling around with you from the past. You may remember being chosen last for volleyball games, or told not to tag along with your older siblings, or excluded from a clique at school.
You may not even be aware these old memories of rejection are being triggered. You just notice how hard it is to make calls or go to networking events or follow up on leads, and you do something else instead.
But the reality is that if you don’t turn around and face your fear of rejection, it’s eventually going to bite you in the butt. It’s going to keep you from making contacts you need to make, cause you to walk away from sales you could have closed, and force you into choosing easier — but much less effective — ways to get clients.
Here is where to begin:
There are so many choices about how to spend your time in this life. You could become an expert computer programmer, or cook, or wood worker, or New York Times crossword puzzle completer. So why be fit? Why should you spend your time working on create a healthier body? Especially considering that is will deteriorate no matter what you do.
The ephemeral nature of balance in the body can lead us to wonder why bother at all? If you spend more time working maybe you could buy a really, really, nice car that you can drive even if you’re out of shape. But with fitness it takes constant and concerted effort to maintain your investment. Or if you’ve gotten older it may seem like it’s not worth your time to build your body back up. There are many reasons compelling reasons why it’s worth it to bring your relationship with your body into balance, but there are two that come up in my mind first. Continue Reading…
“Every person who has ever started a business, I imagine, thought he had a good idea. It’s the smart person, and the rare person, who tries to find out the most important thing: do other people think it’s a good idea?”
Those words of wisdom come from Bernard Kamoroff, author ofSmall-Time Operator: How to Start Your Own Business, Keep Your Books, Pay Your Taxes, and Stay Out of Trouble. Whether you are evaluating the original idea for your business, or your ideas about marketing your business, Kamoroff is right.
Trying to get clients when you don’t really know what they need the most makes you an answer in search of a question. You’re going to have to turn your key in an awful lot of locks before you find the one that it fits. Continue Reading…
When you look at your marketing to-do list, do many of the items on it look all too familiar? Have entries like “call Donna Sanchez” and “follow up with Floyd Corp.” been copied from a previous week? Putting off unappealing tasks may be human nature, but for an entrepreneur, procrastination can be deadly.
Delays in contacting a prospect can lose the business to the competition. Failing to get the word out about an upcoming event may forfeit dozens of opportunities. Wasted marketing time can never be recovered. By the time you realize you might not make your goal for the month, quarter, or year, it may already be too late.
Finding tasks on your to-do list week after week is a clear sign you are procrastinating, but it’s not always this obvious. Can you identify with any of these situations? Continue Reading…
Independent professionals pay a lot of attention to the mechanics of marketing. They take classes, read books, and hire experts to learn how to do the best job possible. When I first work with a client, I often discover that his or her knowledge of marketing techniques is quite good already. What might be lacking is the right marketing attitude.
Do any of the attitudes described below seem familiar? If so, you may be sabotaging your own marketing efforts. Read on for some possible solutions. Continue Reading…
Today I was on a coaching call and I was scared. It was the first five minutes of the conversation and I had this feeling that I’ve had before: this feeling that I have no idea what I’m doing.
As I sat there I could feel the fear coursing through my body. I watched the thoughts rise and fall. I can’t help this man. I have no idea what to say. I don’t know how I ever thought I could help him. As it arose, I sat and breathed. I had been here before. I knew what to do.
I simply slowed down, got really curious, and started to listen.
Two hours later he was getting off the phone with me, more clear and happy than he had been in a while. He thanked me again and again. It was one of the most powerful coaching calls I’ve had in a long time. Continue Reading…