How We Avoid Prospecting

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.

4 Reasons Goal-Setting Doesn’t Suck

Let’s face it; it’s a goal to set a goal. 

The new year is almost here, and I don’t know about you, but this happens every last quarter and last month of the year for me and for us here at Aurora Consulting.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way. It can be daunting to set a goal, track a goal, and stick to a plan to achieve the goal. Why? Because it’s work.

We also know, and this is that weird icky feeling that we sometimes ignore, having a goal and not meeting the goal 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 around setting a goal? Goals present opportunities, and creating opportunities could mean income to your business. 

That is….IF building your business is a GOAL!? We did this podcast, Ask 6 Questions as a Business Owner | The Difference Between Business Owner & Entrepreneur.

Goals are INSPIRING.

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

Create a contest for yourself and/or team members and reward yourself when you’ve finished a task. Something, anything that will motivate you to want to work on those tasks/activities that will help accomplish the goal.

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

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

Goals build CONFIDENCE.

Now that you’re motivated and working on tasks that inspire you, this will build confidence. Confidence propels us to be the best that we can be…and maybe even have a little fun while doing it.

When we’re confident, we seek more challenges. This helps us to be more curious, continue learning, and grow.

Goals are CHALLENGING.

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

How about building in something that makes us uncomfortable? 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 stronger and faster. When their body becomes adjusted to a certain weight or speed, they begin trying things that challenge their current abilities.

This helps us to grow. See a theme here?

Goals keep us ACCOUNTABLE.

The movie A FEW GOOD MEN includes one of the most memorable movie lines in movie history. When pressed for the truth, Jack Nicholson’s character Colonel Jessup bellows: “You can’t handle the truth!”

I say, you can handle the truth. Tracking your activity will cause reason to celebrate when you achieve a goal or progress toward achieving the goal. 

And if there’s evidence that this goal may not see the light of day, tracking will help you to recognize the signs so you can pivot and/or redirect our focus so you’re working on your strengths vs. giving up altogether.

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

Now, go and set some goals; you can handle it! 

Download our Beacon Oversights and Preparedness Guide. It includes 3 pages of checklists about the many things that must be managed when you own a business. It will help you to create goals for yourself. 

 

The ROI of Doing Nothing

Often, when a business-owner invests in marketing, they want to know when they will see a return on investment. It should be a question and a concern; it would be cavalier to dismiss otherwise.

However, when a business-owner finally realizes that marketing is key to new business development, some think that results rapidly occur. It doesn’t work that way.

Besides considering the cost of marketing, the time before profit is realized remains uncertain. In my experience of running a business and investing in marketing, a person skilled in sales considers budget, cost and equally as important, the confidence that the potential solution could be a cure to stagnation.

It’s hard to quantify the loss of income when nothing is being done to attract new business. It’s not unusual that, sometimes, we spend a lot of time rationalizing not investing a few dollar to make more dollars.

Did you ever go to a networking event, meet people, get business cards and never follow up? It happens! We spend money to attend the event, gas for the car and lose quality time with family and/or personal endeavors. The ROI of dong nothing equals nothing.

As a licensed insurance person, it would be tough to write insurance if I thought “that person doesn’t need insurance” especially when they have insurance because I know they own a car, a home, and a business. 

Do you like tea? If you do, you know that when you make tea, you don’t drink it immediately after pouring the hot water into the tea cup. You have to wait for the tea to steep so it maximizes the ingredients and flavor of the tea; otherwise it’s just hot water.

Marketing is like tea. it takes time. Besides needing money to invest in marketing, we need patience to develop a reputation. You know what costs money? A reduction in new business while overhead continues to increase.

Don’t be cheap, steep! Then, enjoy one sip at a time. 

Procrastination: Friend or Foe

It took me almost 6 months to write this. Then, a month to edit…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 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 the bold exercise of procrastinating, 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 of 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 searchable and discoverable on the internet.

When you consider the potential cost of a 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 habitually put off this project according to the first definition listed above. Instead, choose the more positive second definition. Delaying the project doesn’t mean it’ll never get done. And, in the delay of the overall goal of finishing the project, search for the solution you need to get the project done.

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

You don’t have to do 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 assist with some of the mechanical tasks. 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.

With the help of an expert, you can then execute on key tasks such as robust call-to-action tactics, search engine optimization (SEO) strategies, a comprehensive products/services summary, credible blog posts, as an example.

This task list demonstrates expertise and credibility that will attract your target market. Feels like control, feels like something is 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 get too busy, too busy making excuses. And those excuses bring us back to the negative, inappropriate definition of procrastination. Oh no, we were doing so well!

Excuses don’t affect anyone but ourselves, but let’s be careful about complaining. No one likes a complainer when it’s something within our control of accomplishment.

Now, what have you been waiting for. Let’s get excited how 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’re guilty of procrastination. Or are we?

Procrastination doesn’t take into account that one must plan, prepare and prioritize to complete a task. The key word is PRIORITIZE. Just because you’re putting off something, doesn’t mean you’re procrastinating.

Maybe you’re pondering…?

One thing I’ve found about my approach 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 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.