One of my long-term clients, a landscape architect, is based in a wealthy town in CT. Let’s call her Brenda.
Brenda spends her days designing and implementing gorgeous landscapes in the back yards, front yards and side yards of Fairfield County, CT. She loves her work.
However, Brenda’s natural tendency was to avoid outreach. An introvert who dreads meeting new people and small talk, Brenda found marketing challenging and unrewarding.
This became particularly troublesome when Brenda worried about cash flow. If she thought about not having enough income coming in, she mildly panicked and started pounding the pavement. She was pushing. And she was miserable.
In a recent session, I asked her one question: did you have to push to get the clients you have now? She considered this for a moment, before answering “No.” Her clients, especially her top clients, always flowed into her life organically either through referrals or pleasant conversations with them.
This was no surprise to me, since her Marketing Genius is Solving Problems and Being a Resource. She comes alive when she operates as a steady presence, not as someone who chases down prospects. She is a natural pillar in her community, the president of her BNI, a member of a local beautification committee. Being on committees and serving leadership roles shows her in her best light, energizes her, and gets her referrals. This is the opposite of “pushing.”
Even though business owners need to get out there, pushing is often not an effective approach. This is easier said than done, since it’s not always clear what is productive “stretching” and what is unproductive “pushing.” For example, when Brenda became President of a BNI chapter, this stretched her out of her introverted comfort zone, but it shows everyone her generous, helpful nature and gets her solid referrals. But attending lots of Chamber of Commerce functions with boring small talk is uncomfortable but also unproductive. She finds herself pushing her business cards on people and nothing much happens.
Once I uncovered Brenda’s natural marketing genius, I worked with her to create a marketing strategy that maximized her “steady presence” qualities. This included staying in communication with past clients by writing personalized cards and calling them as a resource (no selling), connecting regularly with her referrals sources (also as a resource), creating a bi-yearly “hot trends” PowerPoint and sharing that with her network, and most importantly, and amplifying her roles as community pillar. Far from dreading these activities, Brenda has enjoyed every one of them.
I’m happy to report that Brenda is living into her Marketing Genius and has more clients than ever, enjoying her roles in the community and being a resource for both her clients and her referral sources. This allows her to create epic garden and outdoor kitchen designs for folks who appreciate her work. She even admitted in a recent session, “You help me love marketing.” This is why I do what I do.