4 Myths and Mistakes in Marketing During a Crisis

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First, we wish everyone health and safety during through this COVID crisis.

I will outline 4 myths and mistakes in marketing during a crisis. And stick around until the end, I’ll share 3 takeaways you could implement right away.

Given our new paradigm, I’ll put a positive spin on the 4 myths and mistakes in marketing that i’ve seen. 

Not all businesses are suffering financially, but all businesses have changed in some way whether it’s a process or protocol of doing business to ensure safety. People are looking for new ways to connect including efficient ways to do conduct their business.

It’s more important than ever to stay in touch with people whether it’s email, a text or direct messenger in a social media platform.

The number one priority is reaching out to all of your clients to see how they are doing and a polite nudge to remind them that you’re available if they have any questions about anything during this overwhelming time.

We can call it marketing or we can call it staying connected in a meaningful, purposeful way. 

If you are looking to do more than just survive in your business, it’s more important now than ever to either level up your marketing or at the very least, START marketing if you’ve been putting it off or getting by with minimal efforts. 

If people don’t hear from you now when they need you the most, they will find another resource they feel can rely on. I’ve heard more than a few times, “I don’t hear from you all year and now you show up. It’s too late.

The best part is that because we’re in the digital age, the currency is time. You don’t need to invest in big advertising budgets like the Mad Men days. No magazines print ads, no billboards, no Super Bowl ads. 

Here are four myths and mistakes people make when it comes to marketing.

Myth #1 – I don’t know what to say.

There’s more to what you do every day than you realize that people would be interested to know. You know a lot more than someone who isn’t in your business but doesn’t business with you. Delivering value of what you can offer someone will help to show that you’re present in your business and available when they need you.

For people to know, like & trust you, it’s ok to show your personal side. I like to work in my yard so i’ll post projects in and around the house. It helps to show that you’re human. It will also help to show how people can relate to you.

YOU are a brand whether you own a business or work for a business. You do not need to sell your product or service every time you’re marketing. 

Myth #2 – I don’t have time.

Some people may not think they have the time because they may not have seen results worthy of scheduling the time for this task. If you carved out 10-30 minutes every day or every other day dedicated to intentional and meaningful engagement, you would see results in how people pay attention to you. 

The more you spend engaging on a platform, the more you get noticed even if you don’t think the metrics are displaying a lot views. 

Business is about relationships. People have to know how to relate to you but if you don’t exist online, then they won’t know how to find you or know how you can help them.

Myth #3 – I don’t have an audience.

If you didn’t have an audience you wouldn’t be in business. You have people all around you, but perhaps you didn’t think of them as an audience. With the INFLUENCER movement, if you don’t have a million followers or get a million views on a post, people think they’re doing it wrong or that it’s a waste of time because they’re not getting those results.

The flaw in this mentality is that we have to appreciate that for any number of views we get online is less time we have to be in our car driving to a meeting with just one person.

Don’t look at the views or the metrics if you’re just starting out. Focus on the practice of developing a new habit of scheduling time to devote to marketing. If you aren’t creating content, then curate quality content that you trust and that you find relevant to your business.

Myth #4 –There are too many platforms.

Who doesn’t like having choices? To be able to pick from Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Pinterest, YouTube or any other platform you are familiar with means you get to enjoy however you feel most comfortable when delivering your content.

  • Maybe you want to practice with video so you may utilize Facebook Live because you’ve been on that platform longer or you save your videos to your Youtube playlist.
  • Maybe you want to be more business-like while extolling the virtues of your products and services, so you go to Linkedin. 
  • Maybe you like snapping photos and want to include a meaningful, inspiring message, so you go to Instagram or Pinterest.
  • Or the newest darling, maybe you want to bust a move or deliver a message with curated music in the background, you go to TikTok.

There are so many tools these days to help develop content. It’s a matter of EXECUTING.

And that is where people fail. Even if it means that you are going to pick one goal, but you’re not sure how to go about it, the RESEARCH is a form of execution. 

Research is learning and learning gives us more confidence with something new.

I think a formula for success can be described as follows:

Schedule + Research = (a higher probability of) Execution.

Here are 3 takeaways to ponder:

1. Cultivate your email list. it’s the only digital asset you own. The platforms own your content once you publish it on their site.

2. Do video. If you’re shy or you hate how you look on video, I will tell you from experience, no one is analyzing you the way you think they are. Video is so valuable and helps to deliver your message in such a powerful way. The statistics of how people connect with you is undeniable. Practice with one minute videos. It’s a great, safe start.

3. Repurpose your content. What do I mean by that? If you write a blog, do a one minute video on the topic of the blog you recently published. If you did a video about something important about your business, write a blog even if it’s only 200 words. Then, put the video on your website with the blog. Then grab a section of the blog and draft a post to Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, etc. about your blog and video.

Check out our Be GRAM-Tastic Instagram course.

If you want to find out more about it, Schedule a call with us by clicking on our online calendar here.

6 Podcast Episodes That Stopped Me in My Tracks


With COVID 19 hanging around longer than what anyone expected with no eradication in sight, it’s a mistake to think you should stop marketing for your business. I know how difficult it is to market a product or service that you may not or cannot offer right now.

My business is (was) a commercial financing brokerage. Banks aren’t lending right now due to the “all hands on deck” disaster relief financing efforts to help small businesses survive. Given our resources in lending, we pivoted quickly to stay connected to know how the banks and lenders were receiving (or not receiving) guidance from the Small Business Administration (SBA).

This gave us an opportunity to share information and insight. This provided an opportunity to create and share content. One of the ways to grab people’s attention is to share what you know. How you share that information and insight is through the various platforms available to you. There are different ways to broadcast your message:

  1. Written word such as emails and blogs
  2. Audio such as podcasts
  3. Video such as long-form, short-form or live video.

On March 15th of this year, the tough and undeniable realization was that we were going to have to dramatically pivot how we do business in order to earn an income.

Based on my background in insurance, marketing and financing and my partner’s experience with mortgage banking, financing and marketing, we began strategizing the avenues we could possibly earn income.

One thing we have in common is our love and success with marketing. Ultimately, marketing is the way we can get our brand and our business out to the world.

About a year ago, I stumbled upon a popular podcast hosted by Michael Stelzner of Social Media Examiner. it’s called Social Media Marketing. As I worked in the yard (almost every day), I would get my exercise in, stress out and learn a few lessons along the way.

I put together a list of the six Social Media Marketing podcast episodes in 2019 that stopped me in my tracks. They prompted me to put into immediate action various tips and techniques to make marketing not only more effective but more fun.

There are so many more episodes that this podcast offers depending on your hot button with what you enjoy (or don’t enjoy) with marketing. Maybe it’s advertising strategies on a specific platform. It’s there. Maybe it’s online traffic vs. foot traffic. It’s there.

The six I chose happen to be evergreen so you can hear their stories and apply their suggestions even during a pandemic. Stelzner has over 400 episodes in the Social Media Examiner library. I encourage you to check out the library of episodes to see what catches your eye and rings your ear.

Six of my favorite episodes are;

Narrative Storytelling: How to Weave Stories Into Your Marketing – Ep. 336 with Melissa Cassera of https://melissacassera.com

I listened to this one twice. Everyone loves stories, but some of us may not be good storytellers when it comes to creating content. You will increase the attention of your reader, viewer, listener if you employ solid story structure.

Find the episode here: https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/narrative-storytelling-how-to-weave-stories-marketing-melissa-cassera/

Phrases That Sell: 8 Copywriting Tips – Ep. 337 with Ray Edwards of https://rayedwards.com

This was the first episode I heard Stelzner use the term “solid gold” when it came to preparing us for what would be included in this episode. Ray Edwards has done copywriting for some of the top influencers in the marketplace. You can find this impressive list on his website.

Find the episode here: https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/phrases-sell-8-copywriting-tips-ray-edwards/

How to Create Long-Form Videos That Sell – Ep. 342 with Daniel Harmon of https://harmonbrothers.com/home

This was fascinating to hear the success of these two brothers in creating videos for companies that no one heard of but had incredible, almost unicorn success with the content they created for their clients.

It’s inspiring to think of the ways you can create video content, if this is a format you feel comfortable engaging. Video is inarguably the most valuable platforms to leverage your “top of mind” factor.

Find the episode here: https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-to-create-long-form-videos-sell-daniel-harmon/

Instagram Stories for Business: How to Create Engaging Stories – Ep. 369 with Alex Beadon of https://www.alexbeadon.com

This episode caused me to break out in a sweat because it was something completely new and I was already overwhelmed with all the new ways I could make marketing more effective.

It was compelling to switch how I was looking at Instagram stories as a viable platform. I hadn’t embraced snapchat or live video person so I didn’t think this platform or method would work for me. Instagram has been soaring in its popularity and effectiveness to build fan and brand loyalty.

Alex made me realize the important of consistency when it comes to showing up for your clients, colleagues and future clients.

Find the episode here: https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/instagram-stories-for-business-how-to-create-engaging-stories-alex-beadon/

How to Create Content That Attracts Customers – Ep. 356 with Melanie Deziel of https://www.storyfuel.co

Melanie used to be a journalist and her experience included training her fellow journalists how to create a framework for content. This was fascinating to learn how far you can stretch and repurpose content from one platform. For example, with one podcast episode, you can then create a blog. From the blog, you can extract “snackables” for social media posts.

Melanie’s book Content Fuel will help ease the pain of what to create (“focus”) and where to publish (“format”).

Find the episode here: https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-to-create-content-that-attracts-customers-melanie-deziel/

Magical Words That Sell: How to Build Trust in Your Marketing – Episode 391 with Marcus Sheridan of https://marcussheridan.com

Now, this one was a little extra special for me because I met Marcus Sheridan in Cleveland at an insurance seminar and literally stopped him in HIS TRACKS to take a picture. I didn’t know Marcus then, but it wasn’t the last time I would hear of him and learn from him.

His magical words will help you generate your own magical words for your magical marketing message. He focuses on how your website is likely not appealing to the visitors in the way you think it is.

Find the episode here:

Those are the six that helped me prepare for the biggest pivot of all: The coronavirus lockdown.

As I mentioned, there are over 400 episodes. Please do not mistake my choosing only six episodes as means to dilute the library of informative content that will help you too and keep your readers, viewers and listeners coming back from more.

You can find our musings and madness here:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Linkedin

Youtube

Stay safe, stay well.

Kick Overwhelm To The Curb

Do you ever have to prompt your kids to eat something, wear something, do something or go somewhere?

They resist; you persist because you want the best for them.

You’re selling, but you’re able to do that because ultimately you believe it’s best for them because you love them. You are delivering value by showing something that’s good for them.

Your kids are like the general public at large and your business is the parent that is trying to show them something of value.

I’ve been marketing since about the mid 1980’s. But I didn’t know I was marketing. 

My favorite course in college was marketing. We reviewed businesses that excelled because they applied business fundamentals that introduced their products and services to consumers.

Then when I joined my father’s insurance agency.
My first thought was “I don’t want him to be the best kept secret.”
My other thought was “this could take a while. People need to get to know me.”
My mantra became “there’s no immediate gratification in a long term strategy.”

I networked and joined business organizations to meet other business owners. I created events to engage the community.
I grew revenue 800%. He was able to retire when I bought him out and then I sold my shares to my sister six years later.

It was all from marketing. 

This was inspired by a conversation with a few of the Board members of an IDS Chapter in CT who brought me in to do a presentation. I asked, “what do you want me to talk about?” 

I wanted to do something different from what may be expected.
I didn’t want to beat a dead horse with the obvious platitudes about marketing. 

Nor debate about which is better:
Facebook vs. Linkedin
Posting in the morning or afternoon
Writing a Blog or recording a Vlog.

You don’t need me to tell you to post on social media.
It’s been trending for the past decade or more. Being an early adopter has left the station.

They said, We’re overwhelmed. Many of us are Solopreneurs and doing everything ourselves.”

FEELING OVERWHELMED

Do you ever feel overwhelmed with marketing? I have good news and bad news.

I believe being overwhelmed is an opportunity to learn how to grow in some capacity.
Your business could be at the precipice of growing to the next level.

Being overwhelmed, to me, is the difference between doing the things we want to do and doing the things we think we should be doing. It’s an internal conflict. It’s why we procrastinate and make excuses instead of delegating.

A side effect of being overwhelmed is complacency.

I don’t want to steal my therapist’s thunder, but most of the time, many of us, in general, have the same doubts and fears. 

People aren’t paying attention to us as much as we think they are. They’re too worried about their own stuff.

I’ve listened to hours of marketing podcasts where professionals share how they got started and invariably it begins with some fear and doubt as they stumble to figure things out.

Is there anyone here that DOESN’T want to grow to the next level?

Anything I share with you today is nothing i’ve not been through already.
I’ve worried. I’ve tried. I’ve failed. I’ve doubted. And I’ve succeeded.

Marketing is not an event. It’s a process.
And when it comes to process, we don’t seek perfection, we strive for progress.

Who has a purpose they are trying to accomplish?

Marketing is about understanding our purpose and the goals we set to achieve the fulfillment of our purpose along with the good we want to put out into the world.

Sometimes it feels like marketing it’s not always practical or executable.
It’s too much, we’re too busy. We can always find an excuse. I know I do.

If we’re following our purpose, it’s practical.
If we’ve not achieved all of our goals yet, we must make it executable.

i can talk to you about tactics and techniques, but it’s boring, and you know it already.
You can google everything and anything for FREE.  You know more than you know.

It’s the motivation, inspiration and creativity that we seek sometimes.

I’ve been saying for years:
You have to start somewhere in order to celebrate progress.
It’s basic benchmarking.

Rachel Hollis said it better,
“You can’t get to great if you aren’t putting “good enough” out in the world.”

Rachel Hollis also wrote a book about the lies she told herself and how she overcame them. 

I’m going to share the lies I told myself when I started social media in 2009:

  1. I have nothing to say.
  2. No one is listening to me.
  3. I don’t have an audience.
  4. There is so much noise, no one is finding my stuff.

This is ego hijacking our brains. 

Because the truth is:

  1. I was most talkative in high school. So, Duh!
  2. I’ve been hired so people are listening.
  3. I’ve built an audience.
  4. I started with my inner circle & circle of influences to let them know what I’m doing out here in the world.

CONNECTION
Remember when we discussed purpose? There’s a reason I didn’t say passion or profit first.

Who doesn’t love financial gain? With profit, sometimes we let our money junk get in the way. Sometimes we charge too little or too much or we procrastinate because we don’t know what to charge or how to charge.

With passion, we keep ourselves mired in minutia because it’s an art or it’s too important and it has to be perfect and we don’t let go.

Purpose allows us to dig deep within ourselves to reveal and share our values. And values have impact.
Impact will tempt people to pause and perhaps notice you. And the more they notice you, the more likely they will remember you. When they remember you, they will buy from you when they need your products and/or services.

Your marketing strategy should include your story. People don’t want to feel alone. They want to connect.
We’re biologically wired to connect as humans.

Sharing your story, your struggle to make it in this business causes connection. People can relate.

No one cares what you post unless they know that you care. Thank you Theodore Roosevelt.

Let’s talk about the “Judgey Judge Judys” in the world. If anyone judges your content and proclaims it as a failure, thank them. It’s a gift. It’s called feedback. Feedback directs us on how to improve.  It’s not about perfection, it’s about progress.

Y’all still with me?

CONTENT
Content is king; consistency is key.
It doesn’t have to be all business all the time. The best marketing is when people don’t pontificate all the time with all that they know.

No matter your industry, build in visuals. I don’t want to invite you to my pity party, but I used to post about insurance.
Now, with my new business, I post about Business Credit Financing. It’s not very exciting content.

Find the emotion. You’re bringing your product or service to life.

Here are some things you can do to stockpile content for your business.

  1. Photographically document your process, parts of the process, pieces of the process.
  2. Train your clients to know you’ll be wanting their feedback along the process. Ask how they are feeling and why they are feeling that way. Bring them into the process.

Why is this beneficial?

You want to know what they are feeling at all times because this provides relatable events with what other people are feeling. This provides direction on your how your content will reach people who may need you in the future.

Document and/or develop “case studies” to capture a keyword library for you to enrich your content though your clients’ experience.

  • What is their Pain
  • What are their Problems
  • What are your Solutions
  • What is their Satisfaction

Lewis Howes, renowned podcaster of the School of Greatness said “Create what you would want to listen to if you were stuck, starting out or striving.”

People are paying you for your perspective. They have a problem. You have a solution.
Your job is to find more problems so you can help them solve it.

You are doing a disservice by not sharing your solutions and your creativity.

In my previous business, I amassed 13,000 Twitter followers. When I first started using Twitter, I politely stalked my competition & strategic alliances to see what they were posting and how their content was relevant to a similar audience I was trying to develop. 

Let’s go back to feeling and/or being overwhelmed.

Who feels that sometimes, somedays maybe they squander 30 minutes here and there?

Maybe you’re binge watching Netflix.
Maybe you’re aimlessly scrolling Facebook or Instagram.

Did you know that 30 minutes per day is 182.5 hours which is almost 23 days lost which is more than 3 weeks potentially squandered vs. being productive. 

How will you start taking that time back?

The Dirt on Marketing, Like Literally

When I was younger, I loved city life. The hustle and bustle of people scurrying and vehicles hurrying was alluring and alive.

As I got older, I became more attracted to the quiet countryside. Ah…the fresh air, the sounds of birds chirping, the smell of grass … hold the “flower”, I mean phone. (Yes, i’ll be cultivating these deciduous puns.)

The smell of grass? Yes! It’s a refreshing reminder of spring and summer. So glorious, right?

WRONG! You know how you get the smell of grass? You have to cut it. It’s called landscaping.

There are two kinds of people:
* People that do it on their own
* People who hire someone to do it

But wait, there’s more! There is the third type of person. Those that outsource a portion of the work and do some themselves.

Sound familiar? Yup. That’s how marketing works too.

When I decided to move to the country, I bought a house in Roxbury, Connecticut. It’s a wonderful place. Many people, even Connecticut residents have never heard of it.

Think Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe, William Styron, Walter Matthau, Richard Widmark, Alexander Calder.

Ok, enough of this stardom, let’s get back to “grass roots”. 

When you’ve never owned 2.6 acres of land before, and now you have it, you have to decide how to approach this monumental groundskeeping mission.

The first thing I did was to hire a full service lawn maintenance and estate management company to handle every aspect of the property. That got to be too expensive. I then decided to manage some of the yard work myself. I paired working in the yard with the idea of working out in the yard to get some exercise.

I reviewed what equipment I needed, what I had and what outside services I could ”prune” away.

While I was planting shrubs and laying mulch, I got to thinking about how landscaping and marketing are very similar. Let’s take a “broad-leaf” look at how the two compare. 

Curb Appeal vs. Brand

First, you survey the property on how to maintain or improve your curb appeal. That takes an eye towards design.

In marketing, your curb appeal is your brand. It takes strategy to consider how to project your brand.

Equipment vs. Tools

Then you prepare your landscaping project by organizing your equipment needed for mowing, planting, pruning, weeding, etc.

In marketing, you have tools necessary to exercise and broadcast your brand such as your website, social media channels, direct mail, podcasts, etc. 

Maintenance

This is where the two meet and thatch”, I mean match:
* Landscaping is not an event, it’s maintenance.
* Marketing is not an event, it’s a process.

If you’re looking to “till” through the marketing madness and cover more ground, email us at Curious@AuroraConsulting.biz or call 860-759-9910. 

Prospecting Avoidance

Professional salespeople know when they wake in the morning they have to do the one thing that is sure to guarantee an income:

Prospect for new business.

In a way, salespeople begin everyday looking for a new “job”, don’t they? Because without a new client to purchase what they’re selling, how is there any any hope of a paycheck in the future? Even if that salesperson is a salaried professional, without showing results for their employer, there’s no guarantee the employer will continue to employ that salesperson.

I think therefore, we can agree that a professional salesperson, whether commissioned or salaried, knows that prospecting for new business is the number one priority for their days, each and every day.

That’s not to say they all follow through on the actions necessary to prospect. “Prospecting avoidance” is a commonly understood malady in the sales profession. Sales Managers everywhere constantly harangue their sales teams to hit the pavements, ring the doorbells, make the calls, set the appointments, to fulfill the promise of prospecting.

Avoidance of prospecting comes out of the simple psychological fear of rejection. We all have it. Besides, as simple as prospecting can often turn out to be when you actually do it, it can also be as difficult to initiate.

It’s no wonder then that business owners who are NOT professional salespeople may suffer from this very disease of prospecting avoidance. The creative excuses people come up with to avoid having to make prospecting calls are legendary. Yet, as the owner of your business, unless you have a professional salesperson or sales team working for you, you must must, must, Prospect for new business.
The only way to overcome your avoidance of your emotional pain about Prospecting is to simply attach a level of importance to this task.

We hear so often from Business Owners of being distracted with other important tasks: making payroll; attending to a malfunctioning machine on the shop floor; taking a call from the accountant/attorney/spouse/pesky customer/excellent customer/number one account/printer/fleet mechanic and on and on and on.

The Business Owner has attached a level of importance to each and every one of these tasks. Attach that same level of importance to Prospecting. You must. Absolutely must. Your business health, wealth and survival depends on you doing so.

Once you make Prospecting as important an activity as any other in running your business, all those other avoidance afflictions melt away into nothing. Fear of rejection disappears. Procrastination towards your Prospecting Plan converts to an optimistic sense of urgency.

And, yes, you may even like Prospecting.

Fly Birdie Fly

What’s wrong with boxes anyway? Boxes are handy.
They store and organize stuff AND transport stuff, you know, like PIZZA delivery. YUM!

“Thinking outside the box” is a phrase commonly used in the business world to exercise your creative thinking. The origin is said to emerge from the 1970s and 1980s among management consultants challenging clients to connect a “nine dots” puzzle, using only four lines, and without lifting pen from paper.

While the phrase is often used in the corporate world, what about the Entrepreneurs, better yet, Solopreneurs charged with leading ourselves to the best place we can be in the outside world?

Earning money calls for ambition, initiative, creativity and “thinking outside the box”. I’m sure those management consultants who developed the “nine dots” puzzle would pontificate about how we need to think outside of the box to differentiate ourselves.

Are you thinking outside the box?
Are you being your best forward-thinking, creative self?

If so, how?

Here’s a few examples of the entrepreneurs out there in the world:

First, there’s Julie from Brandtwist. Her consulting company helps business-owners think outside the box so their business isn’t “boxed in.” I worked with Julie as an insurance agency owner. She guided me with incredibly creative ideas to help me think outside the box. 

Here’s another example of a creative entrepreneur who thought outside the box. She was asked to collaborate with a newly renovated movie theatre that was about to reopen to the public. The theatre owners hired her to manage the cafe adjoining the theatre. This was a wonderful collaboration until the cafe owner realized that there was no parking for people, who were going to the cafe, during a movie showing.

What did she do? She thought outside the box. She walked the aisles before the movie started with beverages and provisions.

Let’s get back to you? What are you doing to think outside the box?

  • How often do you do something that scares you?
  • What are you thinking that prevents you from trying something new?
  • What outside influences keep you comfy and cozy and stuck inside the box.

Your business needs to leave the nest to find those creative marketing ideas that will let your business fly…to then soar! 

It’s a Goal to Set a Goal

Let’s face it, it’s a goal to set a goal; and 2019 is almost here!

It’s work. We know it’s daunting to track goals and stick to a plan.

We also know, and this is very important, having a goal and not meeting it could generate feelings of failure and/or rejection. This could set us back and cause resistance to maintain momentum. 

If you think about it…what’s the resistance in setting a goal?

Goals present opportunities, and creating opportunities could mean income to your business. That is….IF building your business is a GOAL!?

Goals are INSPIRING.

There are many different activities that make up your role in your business. There are things you love to do and things that are for the greater good of the business that may not be your favorite part of your day/week/month/year. 

Schedule tasks, make a contest with yourself or team members, reward yourself when finished with a task. Something, anything that will motivate you to want to work on those tasks/activity that will help accomplish the goal.

Let’s embrace what we do and not be afraid of it.

Goals build CONFIDENCE.

Now that we’re motivated and working on tasks that inspire us, this will build confidence. 

When we’re inspired, we FOCUS on the task at hand. And this will help us work smarter to achieve a goal. 

Confidence propels us to be the best that we can be…and maybe even have a little fun while doing it.

Goals are CHALLENGING.

This is where it gets fun. We’re inspired and that builds confidence. 

How about building in a little challenge. We call this getting out of our comfort zone. Competition builds character.

Think of a triathlete. They track their activity and their time to know how they can train to be faster and stronger.

Goals keep us ACCOUNTABLE.

The movie A FEW GOOD MEN includes one of the most memorable movies lines in movie history.

Jack Nicholson’s character Colonel Jessup, when pressed for the truth, bellows: “You can’t handle the truth!” 

I say that you can handle the truth. Tracking your activity will cause reason to celebrate when you achieve the goal. That, or help to pivot and/or redirect our focus so we’re working to our strengths. 

Have you considered an accountability partner? Some people, and I am one of them, need external forces to stay on track. Whether it’s a weekly call or you’re checking in on a private Facebook page, knowing you have to divulge your activity or divulge the lack of activity, this may motivate you to have something awesome to report.

Set those goals; you can handle it!

Easy, Breezy, Pleasy

When you think of what is most important to prospects and clients, many would probably guess “price” and that’s not wrong. Price is typically high on the list. PUN INTENDED!

Most prospects get right to it with questions such as:

  • What do you charge?
  • What are your rates?
  • How much will it cost?

However, did you know that one of the Top 5 Values to customers is EASE OF USE? According to Ian Golding’s article, “What do customers really want? The top five most important things revealed”, ease of use is actually #5; on a list of 5…which is actually LAST. 

Hold the phone, so what’s the big deal then?! 

The answer is to make it easy for a client to engage. And if we don’t, they will quickly turn to another option.

What does “easy” mean anyway?

It depends. Comfort for both the seller and the prospect warrants understanding the expectations of the potential client.

Let’s make this easy. What are some things you can do?

Over-Inform

Let’s start with a simple scenario gone awry. If a client is coming to your office, do you prepare them for every possible eventuality, such as:

  • Do you prepare them for where to park?
  • Is it metered parking?
  • Is there a landmark next door?

It seems to ridiculous doesn’t it? People have GPS for goodness sake! 

Here’s what I mean. I invited a woman to an event I hosted. I gave her the address thinking that would be sufficient. However, she couldn’t find the location and ended up frustrated driving around and gave up. I could have, and should have, indicated that it was next door to a well known hotel and conference center.

Over-Phone

If there are more than 3 emails about a simple question that isn’t being answered, pick up the phone. All too often, there’s too much opportunity to feed our brain’s need to multi-task because emailing seems easier. But, email can delay a simple task from being completed while we wait for an answer and get distracted with another task.

Over-Prepare

Do you prepare the client with an on-boarding process so they understand what they should expect from us for next steps?

When I used to write insurance for a new client, I would outline what they should expect after purchasing the insurance. It’s a comprehensive checklist summarized in these 3 basic topics. 

  • Documents procedure
  • Billing procedure
  • Communication procedure

Let’s go back to the concept of managing expectations. It seems like a lot of work, however, if you create a process with templates, it will be set you up for each client when they hire you.

These days, the pundits are pontificating about the customer experience and the customer journey.
And it’s no small feat to achieve customer satisfaction. 

If you have multiple product lines, you can’t be just “ONE AND DONE”. You have to train clients to keep you top of mind for any of their future inquiries. Do the tough steps first and the easy stuff follows.

Procrastination: Friend or Foe

It took me almost 6 months to write this. Then, a month to edit…
So, I get it about procrastination, and time, and getting to it.

Don’t you love irony?

However, I think procrastination gets a bad rap considering the benefits it can have. Did she say “benefits”?

Yes, I did. Wait, how is procrastination a benefit?

Let’s not wait a moment longer. Let’s begin with definitions. First, there are a few definitions that could lead us to believe in the negative aspects of procrastination.

Merriam-Webster has a definition that definitely made me feel guilty:

to put off intentionally and habitually; to put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done

But then, Oxford and Cambridge made me feel a little better. According to their definitions, a delay doesn’t mean “game over”.

the action of delaying or postponing something, and
– to delay doing something

Let’s start with an obvious example of bold procrastination, one with which I’m all too familiar. 

As a business-owner, a website is something most of us consider in order to drive traffic and more business our way. But the size of the project can be overwhelming, and so, we delay. You know, a delay in a bad way that validates that procrastination has a negative connotation. 

What could be the cost of delaying this website project? The cost of procrastination is the lost opportunity for not being found on the internet. I may be crazy, but I also think that the worst kind of statistic is the unquantifiable amount of how much business is lost by not being found on the internet.

When you consider the potential cost of lost opportunity, you return to the idea of getting it done. But it’s still an overwhelming idea and a potentially huge project. But there is a way to deal with the overwhelming part, AKA the thing that leads us to work against our own best interest.  

You don’t have to habitually put off this project according to the first definition above. Instead, you can choose the more positive second definition: delay, postpone. Delaying the project doesn’t mean it will never get done. And, in that delay, you can search for the solution you need to get this project done. 

What’s one reason that makes this project overwhelming? The idea that you have to go it alone!  All those tasks, all that responsibility, it’s a whirlwind of anxiety that builds up a wall of resistance to get it done, just like in the first definition.

But you don’t have to go it alone. You have control over the delay, you have the power over postponement.

What are the some of the solutions we have control over? We could hire a website expert to help. A professional has the skills necessary to take your vision and to organize and prioritize the project.  All of a sudden, that thing you’ve been avoiding is moving along, albeit maybe slowly.

With the help of an expert, you can then address key tasks such as robust call-to-action methods and search engine optimization (SEO) strategies to attract a target market. The tasks of developing a vital products and services summary and blogs will demonstrate expertise and credibility. Feels like control, feels like something’s getting it done.

What happens if you can’t afford to hire someone? It’s a catch 22, isn’t it? We have to build our business to make money to reinvest back into our business, but we have to implement marketing strategies to build our business to make the money to reinvest.

We could be too busy, too busy making excuses. And those excuses bring us back to the negative, inappropriate definition of procrastination. We were doing so well! Excuses don’t affect anyone but us, but let’s be careful about complaining. No one likes a complainer when it’s something within our control of accomplishment. 

Now, what you’ve been waiting for. Let’s get excited why procrastination can work in your favor. It’s not a coincidence that it’s easier and shorter to explain.

One of my mantras has always been “Procrastination is a time management strategy.” What do I mean? 

Let’s imagine we have to prepare for a very important meeting or project, it’s a week away. We know what we have to do; we know the date and time of the meeting. Time is of the essence. If you were to leave it until the last day, then yes, we are guilty of procrastination. Or are we? 

Procrastination can be about planning, preparing and prioritizing. The key word is PRIORITIZING. Just because you’re putting off something, doesn’t mean you’re procrastinating. 

One thing I have found is that when I attack a task, sometimes I need a break to let the creative juices flow, to present another perspective. This gives time to create and edit along the way. It’s called PROGRESS. Have you ever gotten the advice to “sleep on it” when you’re pondering something or unsure about how to deal with an issue? 

This is no different, except we can call that Positive Procrastination!

Rushing to finish is stressful, not to mention overwhelming. And we already know where that can lead. But, if you start in phases it gives you time to review and edit and triple check your work. Starting doesn’t always mean finishing.

Starting means planning on how to have the best finished product. 

Procrastinate away as long as you know how to manage your time and the deadline.