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Using Positive Persistence As A Selling Tool

May 21, 2008
You've probably heard the story that it took Thomas Edison 1,000 tires before he invented the light bulb. But did you know that, 12 publishers rejected J.K Rowling's first Harry Potter book before an obscure publishing house finally picked it up? That Decca Records turned down the Beatles?

That Walt Disney was fired by a boss who said that he "lacked imagination"? That Michael Jordan was cut from his high-school varsity basketball team in his sophomore year? That Dr. Seuss was rejected 27 times by publishing houses?

So why am I telling you this? Because persistence, the ability to hold your course in the face of rejection is perhaps one of the most important elements for successfully marketing your services. And quite frankly, most people give up way to easily and early.

If the promotional letter doesn't immediately bring new customers calling, the tendency is to say, "Marketing won't work for me." If there are more than one or two steps to the system for bringing in new clients, the process is rejected as being "Too complicated". Which is kind of a good news/bad news situation.

The good news is that now that the economy is headed south a lot of your competitors will simply dry up and vanish. Since beginning my business career in 1977 I've seen how the dot.com boom, the real estate bubbles and blind over-optimism makes even poor business people successful. The proverbial "high tides raise all boats." And then comes the inevitable "bust".

No longer is business just coming in over the transom. People get scared. They start to cut back on unnecessary expenses. Which raises the question, is spending money on marketing, on promoting your business, discretionary? I think you know what I'm going to say.

Marketing is perhaps most important during these tough times. Ask anyone whose been around for a while. Look at the super successful people in your field. What you'll observe is that their marketing investment actually went UP during tough times. But the key is that you have to use smart marketing.

What that means is that you no longer can afford to just throw stuff against a wall and hope some of it sticks. No, you've got to be smart about it. Your promotional material has to make an offer that your prospects haven't heard a gazillion times before. You can't run "me too" campaigns.

What this means is that you'll probably have to look outside your industry for some good ideas. I believe that the failure to consider anything that hasn't already been done within your industry is one of the primary reasons why so much marketing sounds exactly alike and fails to attract attention.

You need a process. You need a system so that every dollar you spend on marketing is trackable. So you know what is working. In other words, you need to approach marketing as an investment, not as an expense. But in order to do that you're gong to need to have a plan. So what's yours?

Are you just going to hide under a rock and hope the bad times go away? Or, are you going to act like a true business owner and face the tough times with the resolve to actually capitalize on the fearfulness of others and improve your market share? Unfortunately, most will hide under the rock.

But then again, most business owners don't really think like owners, they think like technicians. By this I mean most owners just want to do the "thing-they-do." Consult. Train. Drill teeth. Argue cases. You get the idea.

So the decision is yours. You can be like the person who said that, "They were not going to do any marketing until business got better." The natural question is how will your business get better if you don't get the word out to those who are most likely to hire you about what you do?

Do you expect that people will just "hear about you?" Or will you wait until the next good-times-bubble emerges (probably in 2-3 years) and then you can go back to your proven marketing strategy of "Aggressively answering the phone?" Which is why Michael Gerber's often quoted (and substantiated) statistics that 80% of new businesses fold within the first 5 years is so true.

So what's the other option? Find a system or a process that has been successful for others and adapt it to your particular business. But remember that the key point is that you need to do something. Simply sticking your head in the sand is not an option if you are going to still be in business two years from now. Your really smart (and successful) competitors know this. I hope you do too.
About the Author
Mark Satterfield is the founder of Gentle Rain Marketing. The firm specializes in helping clients get more business Quickly, Easily, with No Cold Calling. Get the FREE report that describes the system you can implement in less than 30 days at http://www.gentlerainmarketing.com
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