Recession Means Getting Back to Basics

By Jane Atkinson

George C. Speaker has been in the business for 20 years and has thrived for most of them. But his calendar in the past 2008-05-25fin.jpg12 months has been hit hard. Business is down nearly 50%.

So what does George do?

Well, back when I first entered the business, there was a process that we followed…..’call-send-call’. Call a prospect, discover their needs, see if they’re a fit, send over some information, call and follow up.

(You can read more about call-send-call process in The Wealthy Speaker, Chapter 5).

George needs to get back to basics and start connecting with his clients and prospects in a meaningful way. So what might that look like?

Step 1. Identify your prospects. Pick a target market based on who needs the ideas that you provide. Develop a list of organizations to approach.

Step 2. Establish expertise. Consider writing an article for your target industry that discusses the problem and your ideas as the solution. The article may help you get a foot in the door.

Use your research to help build industry relationships. And, make sure you include a call to action at the end of the article that drives people to your website.

Step 3. Discover your prospect’s needs. Is there a problem that you can help them solve with some consulting or training? Is there an event that might require a pro with your message?

When it comes to finding events, searching associations is often easier and more productive than corporations. Association events are often held at the same times each year and are listed on their websites. This search engine on ASAE’s website can be useful.

Step 4. Be in the right place at the right time.

By planting seeds and continually fertilizing, we allow the prospect to get to know us. This is where our newsletters and blogs are helpful.

Build your list of prospects and regularly send them something that is helpful. When they have a need for your expertise, you’ll be in a great position to get the business.

Be sure to include a bit of promotion (perhaps a “ps”) with each tip so that your list is well aware of your offerings.

Step 5. Follow up. This is where many of us drop the ball. Staying in touch via newsletters is one thing, but picking up the phone or dropping a personal note or e-mail to see how they are doing, is another.

Getting back to the basics means reaching out and connecting rather than waiting for the phone to ring. We all (including George) need to ask ourselves every day ‘how am I moving my business forward?’ And, most importantly, we need to take action.

PS: There’s nothing like good press to help boost your career. We did an awesome teleclass with PR expert Marsha Friedman ‘Harness the Power of Publicity’ and it’s available now on MP3.