Last year, I started with high hopes for my business. I had identified two high-end marketing programs that I was pretty sure would help me launch successfully. So I put down my cash and did the work.
Sure, I learned a lot. But the lessons didn’t turn into actual clients, even though I applied everything like the good student I am.
I blame myself. I listened to their promises (“have 5-figure months!” “make 6 figures this year!”) , even though deep down, I knew they weren’t really a solution. It takes more than a well-packaged program to create connections with potential clients. This was my way of avoiding the real work: getting out there and talking to real people and getting to know what my people wanted.
There were years of work ahead of me, years of studying my audience, years of listening to their needs in order to build the business I wanted. I had spent over a year developing my offerings for the Generosity Practice, but I realized I was only getting started.
This might sound discouraging if you want a quick fix, but think of it this way: any relationship doesn’t just magically happen out of thin air. You need to get to know each other. You need to commit to the journey. You need to pay attention for a while. You need to admit you are wrong sometimes about what you thought they wanted. A business relationship is no different.
When I worked in high tech in Palo Alto, CA, one of my clients was Cisco Systems. They were the ultimate model of what I’m talking about. Their sales people installed themselves at their clients’ offices, as if they were employed there. Cisco reps would track their clients’ evolving needs, which then fed directly into their product development. It was powerful to watch. They knew exactly what their customers would pay for. Pure marketing gold.
Cisco Systems knew that these things take time. The Cisco sales folks were there for years. We all need to spend a significant period of time with our clients and potential clients before we can expect any kind of respectable return.
So don’t feel bad if your marketing efforts haven’t paid off like you want them to. Marketing is a long game. It takes stamina. You need to find your audience and listen to them for a long time. When you understand them better than they understand themselves, you’ll know exactly how to help them. Then you will make money. Consider yourself a marketing grownup if you’ve accepted this.
I’d love to talk to you about reaching your people. I won’t promise you bazillions flying through the window next month (!). Instead we’ll talk about your innate marketing genius, how to build your marketing stamina for your long game, and how to listen to the people you can serve.