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October 23, 2018

Showing signs of insanity? Uh-oh…

Here are 8 new ideas for 2019 to make sure you’re not crazy!

It’s almost the end of 2018. Stop what you’re doing for just a minute and take stock of the year that’s winding down. Have you grown like you wanted… acquired as many new clients as you hoped… launched that new service line you were planning on?

If you answered ‘no’ to any of those questions, then the immediate follow-up is, “So, what are you doing about it?”

And if your answer to that is “I don’t know,” then consider the accepted definition of insanity: “To keep doing the same things over and over… and expecting the outcome to change.”

Or as we like to say down south here… “If you keep doin’ what yer doin’… you’ll keep gettin’ what yer gettin’.”

Does that describe your ‘plans’ for 2019… to keep doin’ the same things you were doing this year? And hoping the results improve?

So, stop it already! It’s time to try something new. Maybe even a couple of somethings. Come on… whaddaya got to lose?

Not sure where to begin? Here are 8 new ideas for 2019 – some things I’m hoping you haven’t done before – to get your creative sales & marketing juices flowing:

#1. Go on a retreat. Get out of the office, find a quiet place in the woods and spend a couple of days, thinking, talking, brainstorming and vetting ideas. Review, analyze and assess what’s been going on at your firm. Do the critical thinking necessary to help your firm grow next year. Are you a solopreneur? Doesn’t matter… go it alone (I’ve done this – and it’s great!) or bring along a smart outsider. Either way, block off the time, disconnect from all of the distractions and open your mind to new ideas.

#2. Create your first marketing plan. No need to get too crazy here…

  • Think about the strategies that will drive your growth
  • Decide on a couple of tactics that will support each strategy
  • Put together a calendar of those tactics to make sure you do what you need to do, when you need to do it.

Then hold yourself accountable to that calendar.

#3. Create your first sales plan. Even for those that have created marketing plans before… sales plans are a different animal. The objective is to establish a revenue goal… then layout the activities you’ll employ to help achieve it. These plans can provide a target for the level and frequency of activity (“I will make 5 sales phone calls daily”)… outline activity for targeted prospects and clients (“I will do a quarterly lunch-n-learn for the insights team at Clorox”) and lay out your planned sales activity in a calendar (“We will exhibit at the Quirk’s event in Brooklyn in March, with the goal of generating 50 new sales leads.”) For ‘farmers,’ sales plans should include an account-by-account review and activity plan for the following year, at least for Key Accounts.

#4. Write! About almost anything – methodologies, applications, MR industry trends, vertical industry trends, a recap of a recent conference, your opinion about any of the above and more. It doesn’t matter… just get in the habit of writing. Then turn that content into blog posts, social media posts, articles for industry publications and so on.

#5. Gated content. If you’re going to write, occasionally turn your writing into a ‘gated’ piece of content. That is, something that has to be downloaded from your website – an eBook, white paper, etc. Don’t forget… each download is a potential new sales lead! Besides your writing, success with gated content requires good design, a sharp landing page and a strong promotional effort.

#5½. Speaking of promotional efforts… if you go down this road, test LinkedIn advertising to promote your gated content. It’s easy to set up, easy to manage and provides very clear metrics.

#6. Attend a new conference next year. Pick one you’ve never been to before, and remember to “fish where the fish are.” That is, find a conference where your clients and prospects will be, rather than a bunch of your competitors. Think “industry vertical” events.

#6½.  Speaking of conferences… consider exhibiting at an event, if you’ve never done it before. Exhibiting gives you a presence in front of every attendee there, is a great way to establish a position in the minds of attendees and, of course, generate sales leads.

#7. Do a “City blitz.” Find a large city where there are a number of clients, former clients, sales prospects, former sales prospects and potential prospects. Then make 4-5 appointments each day over several days. Dinners, too. You want to meet with as many potential clients as you can in a short amount of time. Remember, “people do business with people they like”… and in-person meetings will help to make that happen.

#8. Hire somebody. So, if you’re still not sure what to do or how to go about doing something new for 2019, but you still want to, then hire somebody to do the work – either internally or outsourced. The fact is… many of you reading this won’t do anything about next year, even though you know you need to. If that describes you, then pay to have it done. At least then you’ll know that something new is happening and that it’s being done well.

Finally, different doesn’t necessarily have to mean new. It may be some old things… but making a commitment to doing them better, faster or more frequently. For example:

  • Making sure you send out an enewsletter to your database every month… not just haphazardly.
  • Posting something on your LinkedIn account every day, not every week.
  • Reaching out to all former clients and former prospects and trying to rekindle a relationship.
  • Sprucing up your website because it’s been years since the last upgrade.
  • And so on…

So, now… what will you do differently in 2019?!



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