Most every firm I’ve spoken with of late is doing pretty well – business picked up in Q4 of last year and continues to be strong. And while some experienced a bit of the traditional summer slowdown this year, nearly all are expecting a very strong fourth quarter again. And that’s great! We should all enjoy and benefit from a strong business environment.
But there will be a downturn in business at some point… no one is sure when… but it’s coming. It always does. Are you preparing for it now?
“But Steve, we’re too busy with projects to spend any time on sales and marketing!” It’s sad, but I hear that all the time… and there are two really big problems with that:
- It creates a feast-or-famine environment. That is, when business is good, you don’t invest time or effort (or money) into sales and marketing… so, when the good times slow down, there’s nothing in the pipeline and your business falls off (sometimes significantly). Only then, do you reinvest in sales and marketing, sparking an uptick in business. Great! But then you get busy with projects and stop the sales and marketing again, resulting in the inevitable drop-off in business. And so it goes – over and over. It’s a vicious cycle. And it’s a horrible way to run a company.
- The thing that makes marketing work – assuming you’re on target with your messaging and offerings for the markets you serve – is consistency… having your message out in the marketplace on a very regular basis over a long period of time. By doing that, you help your firm get to and stay top-of-mind with clients and potential clients. But here’s the thing… when you take time off from marketing, you’re messaging is replaced by messaging from your competition. And because your marketing may stop for months at a time (you know, ‘cause you’re so-o-o-o busy!), it’s those competitors who utilize consistent marketing that replace you in the buyers’ top-of-mind position. Further, when you decide to restart your marketing, you’re not starting back where you left off… you’ve dropped off the buyers’ radar and are now starting over – hoping to claw your way back to the top.
“But Steve, we’re too busy with projects to spend any time on sales and marketing!”
And to that I say, “Bullsh**!”
No firm is so busy that someone there can spend a few minutes – yes, just a few minutes – every day/every week to keep a consistent message out in the marketplace… and that includes solopreneurs. For example:
- Post and engage a few times each week on LinkedIn and in LinkedIn groups.
- Write an occasional blog post.
- Send out an enewsletter linking to any new blog posts and hi-lighting company news.
- And the really easy thing that almost none of you will do… pick up the phone and just talk to clients (and re-engage former clients, too). Stay on their radar and continue to strengthen your relationship with them, so that when their next project comes along, they haven’t forgotten about you and moved on to another supplier.
Bottom line: Stop lying to yourself! You’re not doing sales and marketing when you’re busy because you’re busy… you’re not doing sales and marketing when you’re busy because you have not made them a priority. Period! And for you to have long-term, consistent growth and success, that has to change.