When should a self-employed professional stop marketing his or her business? Here are a few possible scenarios where you might be tempted to put marketing on hold:
o When your pipeline is full.
o When you don’t need or want any more clients.
o When your schedule is so full you don’t know where you’d fit in another client.
o When you have five proposals pending and you’re afraid they’ll all come through.
o When the holidays / vacation / summer are approaching.
o When you’re so busy fulfilling your current client obligations you don’t have the time or bandwidth for marketing.
Does it seem strange to use the word love when referring to a business relationship? Substitute another word if you prefer — “like,” for example, or “respect.” However you want to express it, the point is to consider how much you care about the people you sell to — their needs, goals, desires, concerns — all the elements of their lives that might be involved in their decision about whether to buy from you.
If you don’t love your prospects, they will know it. We’ve all been sold to by someone who didn’t care about us. The salesperson who pressures us to buy a car with options we don’t need.
What if marketing was a game? Something you can play at, play with. A game without winners or losers, just different outcomes.
Would that make marketing feel easier? More fun?
I see many business owners treat marketing as something serious, saying things to themselves such as, “There’s a right way and a wrong way to do it,” “It must be done correctly, or it won’t work,” “I’ll look foolish if I make a mistake, and I’d hate to have it look like I don’t know what I’m doing — it’ll be embarrassing in front of my peers and my clients.” The idea of doing marketing the correct way can be a hurdle that feels hard to overcome.
Have you ever considered that you could love marketing? That it might be possible to market from a place of love, doing marketing activities that you love, all so you can serve the lovely clients you’re meant to serve?
Love is the answer.
Consider the possibility that the foundation of your marketing is based on something you truly love, something you might be inclined to do even if you didn’t get paid. A message you love sharing, in a way that you love sharing it.
Do you want your clients and prospects to love you? I think most of us self-employed professionals would. When your prospects love you, closing sales is easy. When your clients love you, they keep doing business with you, and refer others to do the same.
Yet the language often used for marketing and sales reveals perspectives that don’t have much to do with love. The path to closing sales is to “overcome objections” or “don’t take no for an answer.” You’re supposed to write “killer copy” to use for a “marketing blitz” or “promotional blasts” so you can “blow away” your “targets.” You should “hone your weapons” so you can “battle for market share,” “fight for sales,” and “smash the competition.” When you succeed, you are “killing it” or “crushing it.”
A desperate self-employed professional contacted me recently. “I need to get clients immediately,” she said. “I’ve been trying for months with no success, and I’m almost out of money.” When I asked her how she had been marketing herself all this time, she gave me the following list of what she had been doing:
- Attending networking events where she met people, introduced herself, and exchanged business cards
- Launched a brochure-style website describing her services
- Started a Facebook page and began posting promos for her business and links to content she found interesting
- Printed some flyers and posted them on bulletin boards around town