When The Going Gets Tough – The Tough Get Marketing

It’s tough out there at the moment for some businesses. Consumer confidence, Government spending cuts, mining taxes and recent commodity weakness have compounded to make Queensland a tougher place to do business. But you have two options, either grab the lifeboat and start paddling harder or sink.

For every client enjoying and building on their success, there are five more grappling with the tough economy. But if you are one of the five in the tough seat …… what are you doing about it? Has your business stepped up its business development and marketing efforts in recognition of tighter purse strings and tougher times? Or are you going to be the victim in uncertainty not knowing what to do next? Sometimes it is from external sources or influences that have put you in the hard seat i.e. ATO tightening their grip on your obligations to pay or the landlord that increases your rent. But it’s not all doom and gloom.

Here is five ways you can double the pace of your business development and marketing:

1. Write down your existing and target clients for the coming 6-12 months. Give yourself a definitive focus on your existing clients, and the targets you can and will make contact with who have levels of business activity expected during this period. Look hard at the list. Is it really big enough? What other targets can you seek out in your market? Make the list larger and more definitive than it ever had been … as quickly as you can.

2. Understand who your influencers are. Who are your regular referrers? Who are the people who suggest to those in your target markets that they should use your services? What networks have you built around your business that organically draw clients to you? Write them down and consider how you will engage this group more actively at this time to keep your business front of mind. Reward those influencers.

3. Detail the projected pipeline and make your team accountable to bring it in. If you work in a team, assign out responsibility for each target client and target influencer and make people accountable for driving the relationships properly. If you work productively as a team you can cover a lot more ground doing personal business development than if all roads lead to one or two individuals in your business. Sounds logical, but its amazing how many don’t organise their approach. Delegation is key here.

4. Make yourself more visible. Visibility is the key to getting more business. In my opinion there is plenty of ways to make yourself visible, but in a tough economy stick with the simple ones… and do them with rhythm. Network your butt off.

5. Communicate communicate communicate. If your network is larger than 300 people you physically cannot keep up with everyone, all the time. So in addition to increasing your personal communication efforts, consider putting in place regular high quality e-communications (or even print communications) that will keep you in the eye of your market. But remember to give value with your content, rather than senselessly self-promote. The open rates a company achieves if it gives valuable insights are much higher than the open rates of self-promotional content like case studies and project overviews. Remember the benefits of your business and not the product or service so your communication is not a sales pitch.

Sometimes in business we need to contact double the clients to maintain the existing sales levels. In tough times, that’s just what the winners are doing. What’s that old song… “When the going gets tough, the tough get going…”

Tell me what you are doing to step up the pace?