Your Leadership and Your Marketing

In working with successful business owners, one of the traits I see come up often is that of being a leader. Some are natural leaders, comfortable with being in charge; others have reluctantly taken on the role. If you seem to have leadership in your bones, fantastic! However, if you find yourself more of a reluctant leader, you’ll want to develop your leadership skills so you can step more into the role.

Being a leader doesn’t necessarily mean being a take-charge, my-way-or-the-highway type of person. Being a leader means being willing to say the buck stops here and hold yourself, and those you work with, accountable.

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Who Do You Think You Are?

The fear of hearing those words when marketing your professional services can stop you in your tracks. It’s the response you may most dread hearing when you make a sales pitch: “You? You think I should hire you? Well, who do you think you are?”

In reality, potential clients rarely say anything quite so confronting. Most people are polite and considerate when they decline to do business with you. But the real replies you hear from prospects are often a lesser obstacle to your success than the responses you imagine in advance. The negative reactions you think you might get can prevent you from saying anything at all.

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Slaying Your Marketing Dragons

They lie in wait for you when you least expect them — the marketing dragons of fear, resistance and procrastination. Just when you think you’ve defeated them at last, they rear their ugly heads again. What’s a self-employed professional to do?

First of all, don’t panic, despair, or beat yourself up. It’s completely normal to have elements of fear and resistance show up around sales and marketing. Even if it seems like you’re the only one who has these feelings, trust me, you’re not.

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Are You Marketing More or Less Than You Think?

Unless you’re literally hiding under a rock, if you’re in business and have any clients at all, you’re doing something that qualifies as marketing. People tend to fall into two camps: those who are doing more marketing than they realize, and those who are doing less than they think.

Which camp do you fall into?

As an aside, for our purposes we’re defining marketing as getting the word out about your business, it’s services and benefits, to potential customers so that you can have a sales conversation with them and hopefully close the sale. Marketing creates opportunities to have sales conversations.

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Breaking Down the Secret Marketing Formula

Is there really a secret formula for marketing? Yes.

The secret formula is this:
Find a marketing strategy that you like, that you’ll use, that’s enjoyable for you, that you know how to do, that reaches your ideal client, and that produces results. Then do it over and over until you have the amount of business you want.

Pretty simple when you look at it that way.

Fear may start to creep in, though, when you break that sentence down.
What if I don’t like any marketing strategies?
What if I don’t know how to “do” marketing?
What if I don’t like doing any kind of marketing?
What if what I do doesn’t reach my ideal client?
What if what I like doesn’t produce results?

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Marketing at Any Cost?

“Will this marketing approach be worth my while?” It’s a question self-employed professionals often ask. But there’s a related question that, unfortunately, they ask much less often: “How much will it cost compared to what it brings in?” Surprisingly few professionals know the answer to this crucial question, and many admit it had simply never occurred to them.

Every marketing approach has a set of costs attached. Social media ads, pay-per-click campaigns, and trade show exhibits come with a price tag in dollars. Networking mixers, business lunches, and posting/interacting on social media take up your time, and may also incur expenses.

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Is Your Marketing Approach Incomplete?

Trying to implement a marketing approach that has critical elements missing is like trying to make a pie without the ingredients to form the crust. Or in some cases, without an oven to bake it in!

There are four essential elements every successful marketing approach must have:

  • Strategy – What are you trying to do, and why?
  • Tactic(s) – How will you do it?
  • Tool(s) – What will you need to do it well?
  • Medium or Venue – Where will you do it?

If any one of these ingredients is missing, your approach will be less effective than it could be, and in many cases, will fail completely. Here are four examples to show you where an incomplete marketing plan can go wrong.

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Four Consequences of Using the Wrong Marketing Strategy

Perhaps these questions sound familiar:
What happens if I use the wrong marketing strategy?
Is there such a thing as a wrong marketing strategy?

These questions are common if you’re a service-based business looking to market your services; it’s easy to think you’re doing marketing all wrong.

And maybe you are.

While there is no real right or wrong way when it comes to marketing your business, there is such a thing as choosing a marketing strategy that isn’t the right fit for you and your ideal customers – strategies that can make marketing feel harder – and this can have negative consequences.

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Two Ways to Make Direct Contact Easier

When thinking about the best way to get new business, it’s often good to remember that contacting a prospect directly can be the most effective tactic. However, this can sometimes seem too scary: the thought of picking up the phone, or meeting someone for coffee, or even sending an email can send a wave of fear through your business heart.
Here are some common fears you might experience when considering reaching out to someone directly:

  • They’ll think I’m bothering them.
  • I don’t know what to say.
  • I’m not a good salesperson.
  • I’m an introvert.
  • I’m not good with words.
  • They won’t remember me.
  • I’m not sure how to make an offer.
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Marketing or Selling: Which Is More Important?

A question I often get from clients and students goes something like this: “I’ve been collecting marketing ideas… and I have a drawer full! I also have a stack of promising leads I’ve accumulated. And I know it’s important to stay visible, so I keep marketing, but then I just end up with more names in the stack. How do I prioritize all this?”

If you’ve ever wondered something similar, you may have lost sight of a very important truth — the way to win the business game is not to collect the most leads; it’s to make the most sales.

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