This time of year can be frustrating. You are trying to grow your business, you are trying to move projects forward, you are working hard at it, but the rest of the world isn’t.
They are on vacation! (or off with their kids, or whatever )
The point is, they aren’t calling you back, or returning your emails, or getting the things done that you need them to do. Deadlines are getting missed, the date they promise to get back to you comes and goes and you are still waiting. Ugh!
No matter how hard we try we can’t control other people’s vacations. We can’t make people get back to us; an the harder we try, the more annoying and desperate we get. So what can we do?
When you’ve called every prospect, followed up on all your open projects, reached out to your past customers and no one’s getting back to you — here’s a list of things you can do that will move your business forward.
1. Prospect someplace new.
When you’ve reached the end of what you can do with the prospecting that you’ve been doing it’s time to strike out into new territory. Is there an industry that you’ve been getting some calls from that you really haven’t worked? Is there a new territory, or a different association or industry group that you just haven’t got to? This is a good time to lay the ground work there. Do your homework. Call the Executive Director of the association and talk to them. (If they aren’t on vacation, they likely have time to talk to you–no one is returning their calls either!) Make a trip to the new territory. Do some research about that other industry. Set yourself a deadline to make a “go/no-go” decision about this new area and dig in.
2. Develop some offers.
People do business with those that they know, like and trust. One of the ways you can start people down that path is to offer them something of value; that is, something that truly helps them. If you have people coming to your website, this is a perfect tool to convert that traffic into leads that you can follow up on.
Think of a question that prospects ask you all the time. What is something that you could teach people about that would make them better prepared to hire you? You can almost always offer something like, “The 21 questions you should ask before hiring a [insert your specialty here].” Put yourself in the shoes of prospect that is on your website–what do they need to know? What worries, fears or concerns do they have?
By creating an offer like that on your website, you can start building a relationship with something as simple as a field for their email address (that when they push the “Get my report” button, shoots back an email with information that prospect can use). This is one way to reach out to web surfers and gain permission to keep talking to them!
3. Create some deeper content.
If you’ve been writing for your business, whether it’s a blog or newsletter, you’ve likely got a backlog of content that you’ve created already this year. Could you package some of that together into an ebook, or a video series, or a webinar?
This would be a good time to go back through all you’ve written this year and see if you can make some longer form content. Blogs and newsletters are great for maintaining relationships with people who already know you; but when we are trying to reach out to new audiences, or when new people are finding us, we want to give them a way to “catch up” on our awesomeness. Giving them some longer form content is a great way to turn casual, “Wow, these folks are cool,” fans into “These are the folks I want to work with.” fans.
Highlight your superpower. Find the content that really shows your personality and your unique expertise and shape it into a really informative piece that teaches your prospects something valuable.
4. Go on vacation.
There is a point where continuing to bang your head against the wall isn’t getting you any closer to new clients. I know it’s hard. Maybe cash is tight. Maybe your (lack of) pipeline is keeping you up at night; but it will get better in a few weeks, I promise. Ask folks who have been in business for a number of years–it always looks bad in August. It always looks better in September. If you can’t beat them, maybe you should join them and take a vacation yourself!
When your pipeline’s stalled and your cash flow stinks, it can trigger sleepless nights and all kinds of desperate thoughts and actions. But there is such a thing as pushing too hard. Use this downtime to prepare you for the action ahead.
How do you deal with slow times in your business?