Have you ever found
yourself knowing exactly what you need to do about marketing your business…
and then not doing it? You are not alone. Many self-employed professionals find
that the hardest part of marketing isn’t figuring out what to do. What’s hard is
actually doing it.
Marketing yourself can be a
confronting process. Making phone calls to strangers, writing marketing letters,
and talking about yourself and your accomplishments can bring up fear of
rejection, harsh commentary from your inner critic, feelings of incompetence,
and the discomfort of performing unfamiliar activities. If you let them, these
inner saboteurs can stop you dead in your tracks.
The good news is that you
don’t have to completely eliminate these internal roadblocks in order to move
forward in marketing. It is possible to feel afraid or uncomfortable and still
take useful action despite the presence of these feelings. Here are ten ways to
quickly break through internal barriers and get your marketing unstuck.
1. Recreate your vision.
When you’re feeling blocked from moving forward, remember why you wanted to go
there in the first place. What was your original vision of the business you are
trying to build? Who will your work benefit? What fulfillment or satisfaction
will it provide you? Write down your vision of a successful business, or if
you’ve written it down before, pull it out and re-read it. Allow your own words
to re-inspire you to do the necessary hard work.
2. Design a reward. Sometimes your vision may seem a bit too far off, and you need some more
immediate gratification. Choosing to reward yourself for a job well done can
provide you with a positive near-term benefit for effort that might not pay off
for a while. Promise yourself simple rewards for completing difficult marketing
chores like making follow-up calls or writing web site copy.
The prospect of a special
dinner, a movie with your significant other, or a new gadget for your favorite
hobby can help you to push past the blocks and get things done. Rewards don’t
even have to cost money. Sometimes the promise of a bubble bath, walk in the
park, or an hour reading a good book is all the incentive you need to take on a
tough marketing challenge.
3. Tame the inner
critic. Often when you’re feeling
stuck, what’s going on in your head is a conversation with your inner critic,
who seems to have a lot to say about sales and marketing. It’s difficult to work
on promoting yourself when you are hearing a constant stream of comments like:
“You’re not good enough,” “They won’t like you,” or “Who do you think you are?”
It can help to remember
that the inner critic often says things that simply aren’t true. One way to
counter this negative dialogue is to respond with the objective truth. For
example: “Clients tell me I’m good at what I do,” “Many people say they like me
quite a bit,” or “I’m a competent professional, thank you very much.” When you
answer confidently with statements of fact, messages from the inner critic often
begin to lose their power.
4. Face your fear. One of the most common obstacles to being successful at marketing is
fear. Marketing activities may evoke fears of rejection, disapproval,
embarrassment, and a host of other catastrophes. Instead of pretending the fear
isn’t there, or attempting to ignore it, you may find it more effective to
confront the fear directly.
Try to identify exactly
what you are afraid of. What do you fear will happen if you make that call or go
to that meeting? If you can identify the specific fear that is blocking you, it
may be possible to soothe it by providing reassuring information or positive
experience. For example, fear of rejection can often be lessened by setting up
practice selling sessions where a role-playing partner responds with “yes” to
every suggestion you make.
5. Get a pep talk. When you become discouraged, don’t be afraid to ask for outside help to
cheer up and start feeling positive again. Ask a friend, colleague, networking
group member, or your coach to give you some words of encouragement. Sometimes
all you need to hear is: “It was tough for me in the beginning too… Eventually
my efforts paid off… You’re doing all the right things… I know you can do
6. Complain and clear.
Feeling frustrated and negative can sometimes immobilize you. One method of
clearing negative thoughts is to voice what you are experiencing to a caring
person. Spend a full five minutes complaining about everything that’s going
wrong with your marketing, making sure to say exactly how it makes you feel.
Then ask your listener to reflect your feelings back to you. Knowing that
someone else hears and understands you may be all you need to let go of a
negative attitude and get back to work.
7. Read your fan mail.
In the regular course of serving your clients, you’ve probably received
thank-you notes, grateful voice mail messages, and other evidence that you’re
doing a good job. Make a habit of saving these in a “fan mail” folder, and when
you are feeling low, revisit all the nice things people have said about you.
Remembering what a good job you do when you are working can encourage you to do
the necessary marketing to get more work.
8. Quit; then start
fresh. There may be days when you
feel discouraged enough to just throw in the towel. Maybe you should do it. The
act of quitting can be very cathartic. Proclaim: “I quit!” Perhaps even write
yourself a resignation letter. Then take off the rest of the day, and don’t even
think about work. It’s a good bet that after you have a chance to blow off some
steam, you’ll be ready to come back the following day re-energized.
9. Change the scene.
Marketing can feel difficult and lonely when you’re always slaving away by
yourself in your home office. Try carrying out some of your challenging
marketing tasks from a different location or with some company. Make cold calls
from the patio, write a marketing letter in a busy coffee shop, or take turns
with a colleague helping each other set up a good contact management system.
Seeing a different view or enjoying companionship while you work may help you to
complete tasks you have been avoiding.
10. Act as if. Whenever you feel incompetent about some area of marketing, you may be
able to tackle those activities anyway if you simply try to act as if you were
competent. Try playing the role of someone you admire. For example, what if you
were Lauren Bacall? How would she make a follow-up call? Or how about if you
were Martin Luther King? How would he introduce himself in front of a group? A
short time pretending to be someone you think of as confident and capable can
make those qualities rub off on you.
The next time your
marketing feels stuck, try one of these methods to help you get back into action
quickly. Marketing tasks are really only as hard as you think they are, so if
you can find an easy way out, why not take it?
About the Author
C.J. Hayden is the author
of Get Clients Now! Thousands of business owners and salespeople have used her
simple sales and marketing system to double or triple their income. Get a free
copy of “Five Secrets to Finding All the Clients You’ll Ever Need” at
Copyright © 2005, C.J.