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April 16, 2014

Stop making excuses about your [lack of] marketing & sales, Part 1

There’s a line from one of my wife’s favorite old movies, Working Girl (Harrison Ford, Melanie Griffith) where Ford’s character says, “The players may have changed, but the game remains the same…”

I think of that every time I hear someone from our industry gripe about why they don’t embrace marketing & sales.  And it doesn’t matter who I’m talking with, they all complain about the same things… always boiling down to one of three issues:

  • “I’m just too busy to spend any time on it.”
  • “I don’t have any money to spend on it.”
  • “I don’t know what to do… or how to do it.”

To help those firms step back and take a look at the opportunity they’re missing, I’ll address these items one at a time, in each of the next three blog posts.

First… NO TIME!

To the untrained observer, this complaint is often driven by the perception that the firm is really busy, ostensibly “working on projects.”  Here’s what they’re thinking… “I’m just too busy with client work to do anything else.  And if I’m this busy, the business development I’m doing now must be working – so why worry about more marketing & sales.”

OK, here’s the reality… it’s true, they may be really busy with project work, meaning that any business development efforts get pushed to the back-burner.  Then the project(s) ends… then what?  Well, because they’ve not been doing any marketing & sales, there’s nothing in the pipeline and suddenly, they’ve got no project work.  So they jump back into doing some marketing & sales… which generates some project work which then pulls them away from marketing & sales.  Sound familiar?  It’s MR’s vicious feast-or-famine cycle.

But it’s not the real culprit here… the real issue is ‘priority.’   If the executives & managers at these firms were committed to growth… if they really understood that marketing & sales are as important to their business as operations and accounting… then they would plan and make time for it on their schedule.  They could…

… block off a little time every day or every week to focus on creating and then executing a marketing & sales plan.
… spend 15 minutes every morning connecting on social media sites and engaging in online conversations.
… block off a little time one afternoon each week to pick up the phone and talk to a past client that hasn’t been back in a long while.
… wrap up each week by jotting down a few thoughts and observations in the form of a blog post.
… go to their local coffee shop on Saturday morning to review their Google Analytics, email metrics and social media activity.
… even block off time to recruit and hire a dedicated marketing person to help support and drive sales.

My point…

It’s amazing what happens when something – like marketing & sales – is made a priority… it gets put on your calendar as a recurring activity and you actually make sure it gets done!  And when that happens, you start to build a competitive advantage that the “I’m too busy!” crowd just can’t match!

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