Market Mentality: Pull Back or Be Proactive?

After my 50th conversation about how bad the market is over lunches, business group meetings and client conversation, I thought it was time for some words of hope and encouragement ... and a few action steps for good measure.

What I hear is most everyone talking hard times and lack - and getting more and more of what they're talking about. What I'm observing is a nice percentage of companies, firms and even solo service providers doing a great deal of business, not just surviving but really thriving right now. I'm pretty sure these same companies are continuing to focus on what they want, executing their plans and being diligent about taking the market share no-one else is even thinking about right now. How about you?

A colleague and client of mine pointed me to this study published at Penn State a few years ago giving merit to the idea that executing - and continuing to execute - your already-in-place, calculated, strategic (dare I say intentional) marketing plan is the key ingredient to your future business success ... during and after this recession.

While your competition scales back in fear, lays off key players, and stops most if not all marketing activities while hoping to ride out the storm, you can reach out with gusto and grab an even larger market share than was available even 3-6 months ago.

Here are some additional moves that will yield bottom-line increasing results:
  • Dial for dollars. If you've slowed down (at all), use your time wisely by reaching out to folks who haven't heard from you in awhile. As my successful colleague Greg Jones says: if you're complaining about not being busy, then you have plenty of time to talk with him about his services.
  • Gather 4-6 colleagues over lunch, share your ideal clients profiles and use your bench strength to gather referrals and new business opportunities.
  • Brochures in the supply room? Boxes of business cards in your desk? They aren't generating business where they sit - be proactive in your distribution of marketing materials.
  • Crystallize your ideal client profile (email me if you'd like an exercise to help with the crystallizing) and categorize your clients into 3 groups: (1) ideal, (2) OK but not perfect and (3) fire at once. Cultivate more ideal clients, give your not perfect clients more love and attention so they have the opportunity to step up to being ideal, and fire the rest (counterintuitive, I know ... you'll be making room for more of what you want).
  • Network like a mad fool - and do it with intention and lots of strategy. Don't go anywhere without (a) being clear who else is going to be there and (b) having a plan for following up and creating rich relationships.
Now is the time to take advantage of all the hard-times talk, thrive through this time and position yourself for the future. Go for it!

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