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:
- When your pipeline is full.
- When you don’t need or want any more clients.
- When your schedule is so full you don’t know where you’d fit in another client.
- When you have five proposals pending and you’re afraid they’ll all come through.
- When the holidays / vacation / summer are approaching.
- When you’re so busy fulfilling your current client obligations you don’t have the time or bandwidth for marketing.
The truth is, you should never stop marketing.
When you work for yourself, you need to get the word out about what you do consistently. It should be a permanent fixture of your business activities. Otherwise, here’s what happens:
( – – – – – – – – – )
Did you hear that? It’s the sound of crickets.
My colleague Simon is a business consultant. He’s been in business close to 20 years, and a few years ago he had his best year ever. He spent 18 months delivering on his contracts, keeping his clients happy, and having a good time doing it. Then one day he came up for air. His contracts were complete, and he was ready for the next round of business.
Except there wasn’t any.
During those 18 months he’d been so busy fulfilling his current obligations that he hadn’t spent any time laying the foundation for what came next. He’d let his pipeline get empty, and it took him three months to get more work in the door. Three very uncomfortable months, during which he sweated, fretted, and generally wished he’d paid more attention to the future.
When things are going well, or you’re busy, or you’re not sure you want more clients, it’s tempting to take a hiatus from marketing. Yet as a mentor said to me early on in business, “Always keep your foot gently on the marketing gas.”
This means doing things regularly to keep new prospects entering your pipeline, and keeping up with prospects and referral partners. Remember, also, that turning prospects into clients often takes time.
Your marketing activities can be amplified or decreased, depending on how much business you’re looking for at the moment, yet it’s best to keep them going consistently, so you don’t end up like Simon.
Always keep your foot gently on the marketing gas.
Keep this mantra handy and let it serve you well. Your business, and your bank account, will thank you for it!