Before we get to this week’s episode, I have a quick announcement…
If you haven’t been prospecting consistently because:
- You’re overwhelmed with all the options
- You haven’t had great success in the past
- Or you’re always too busy…
Then check this out: I’m about to work with a handful of writers and copywriters to help them develop and deploy their own customized prospecting plan.
An actionable plan you can deploy right away to get tangible results.
Would you like to join us?
Just send me an email [ed at b2blauncher dot com] … put PROSPECTING in the subject line… and I’ll send you all the details. 😉
Now for this week’s material.
Prospecting for clients is not on the list of things most of us love to do.
We want to do it. We know we should do it. But we just don’t do it as consistently as we should.
If so, I have some very practical and simple ideas today for getting your prospecting DONE.
Tip: It All Boils Down to Habits
I’m just going to come right out and say this…
Your prospecting won’t get done until it becomes a habit. Period.
By “habit” I don’t mean that you have to spend hours and hours every week knocking on doors.
It means that your prospecting activities become more automatic. You don’t have to think about doing them. You just do them, much like you brush your teeth every morning.
According to a 2006 Duke University study, 40 percent of the actions we take each day aren’t the result of conscious decision-making. They’re automatic.
If these “autopilot” actions take us where we want to go, then great! But if they don’t, we veer off course.
When we do something habitually, we think less. Our neurological activity actually decreases. That’s why the behavior feels automatic.
Great resources on the subject of habits:
- The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
- Mini Habits by Stephen Guise
“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”
Motivation and willpower are depletable resources. They get us started, but they don’t keep us going. You need to have habit take over.
Tip: Think “Micro Actions”
It’s much easier to develop a habit by working on it day by day than by setting a big goal.
If you set a big goal and assign a deadline, then you risk getting off course. It’s almost impossible to perfectly “reverse engineer” a big goal from achievement date to start date.
A better approach is to start with a ridiculously small step or action—an action so small that you have no reason not to do it. That’s what will lure you into taking the action. And once you start taking the action, it becomes much easier to do more. Plus, you start developing the habit that will make taking future action “mindless.”
Your plan of action:
- If you’re very busy, start with marketing for 15 minutes a day (micro action)
- Work your way up to 30 minutes a day
- If you have zero to little work, start prospecting full time
- When you get slammed with client work, revert to just 15 minutes a day
Anyone can do 15 to 30 minutes of marketing per day. No excuses. The trick is to know ahead of time exactly what you’ll do during that allocated time. Otherwise, you’ll lose time figuring it out.
Tip: Focus on Action, Not Outcomes
Another powerful idea is to focus on action and not obsess about outcomes.
For example: Rather than setting outcome (2 new clients…) and timeline (…by the end of October) goals, focus on taking a concrete action (or set of actions) today and this week… and make those your goal.
Why? If you focus on doing the right things consistently, the results will come.
So committing to the system, not the outcome. And as best as you can, try to detach yourself emotionally from generating a very specific result.
Instead, focus on what you CAN control (your actions and consistency) and trust that if you do that, the results will come. This shift in focus and mindset drastically increases your chances of getting the outcome you want.
Tip: Treat It Like a Recurring Project
Say you had a recurring project with a client. A weekly newsletter, for example. And that project required about 3 or 4 hours of your time every single week.
Would you blow it off one week if you just didn’t feel like doing it? Probably not! You’d put your head down and get it done, even if you found yourself procrastinating at first—you’d still get it done!
Think of your prospecting the same way. Think of it as a recurring client project you can’t just ignore.
Another tip is to schedule that prospecting time into your day like you would a project or a doctor’s appointment. (e.g., 2pm to 4pm on Wednesday, etc.). Yes, actual times, as if it were a real appointment.
Why? No one blows off a doctor’s appointment. They keep the appointment, even if they don’t feel like going.
Something else that can help from a scheduling standpoint is to schedule it for first thing in the morning. When there’s nothing else behind it, a task will get done. (And again, if you’re having trouble following through or you’re slammed with client work, start with15 minute sessions.)
Finally, try the 50-minute focus technique. It’s surprisingly effective!
Tip: Create a “Theme” for Each Day
Finally, consider creating a “theme” for each work day. Ilise Benun from www.marketing-mentor.com is a big proponent of this, and it works!
- Mondays: prospect research
- Tuesdays: knock on doors
- Wednesdays: knock on doors
- Thursdays: follow up
- Fridays: content marketing
- Mondays: prospect research
- Tuesdays: knock on doors
- Wednesdays: follow up
- Thursdays: content marketing
- Fridays: networking
A similar approach I like to use is to “bucketize” the week into production days, buffer days and free days. For example:
- Mondays: buffer (calls, catching up, reading, training, personal stuff, etc.)
- Tuesdays: production (client work, prospecting work)
- Wednesdays: production (client work, prospecting work)
- Thursdays: production (client work, prospecting work)
- Fridays: buffer (calls, catching up, reading, training, personal stuff, etc.)
- Saturdays: free
- Sundays: free
Besides giving you structure, this approach reduces the number of decisions you have to make every day. You can start each day knowing exactly what type of marketing activity you need to focus on.
Tip: Gamify It!
Many times finding an external, indirect motivation can help.
For example, Jerry Seinfeld’s “Don’t break the chain!” idea. Create a visual chain to track your progress.
The “Way of Life” app enables you to create chains, set reminders, see progress over time, etc. It’s very easy to use and very powerful.
Fall in love with winning the game, seeing lots of “green” (or checked boxes in your calendar) and seeing your progress rather than loving the actual activity you’re tracking.
Finally, consider getting an accountability partner who can help keep you on track. A short weekly call or email check-in can be an effective way to keep at it until the activity becomes a real habit.