Too many in digital fail because they give up too early. It’s understandable when the journey feels never-ending and the goal always out of reach. To succeed we need to learn to enjoy the journey.
I often find myself providing mentorship in online sales and marketing. Whether it is a web design agency, freelancer, not-for-profit or corporate client they all want the same thing. They want to promote themselves and close deals.
Yet as diverse as the organisations and people I work with are, they almost always fall down in the same thing. They give up too soon.
Sales needs dogged determination
Whether you are trying to sell your services or promote your offering it will need dogged determination.
Take for example sales. According to the National Sales Executive Association over 80% of sales happen after at least five interactions. Yet only 25% of sales people bother to make a second contact with a prospect.
My dad used to be a sales man. When I started my own agency he gave me the best piece of advice I have ever received – “follow every sales lead to destruction.” In other words, keep talking to a lead until they say no.
I have followed that advice ever since and it has paid dividends countless times. Times when an initial sales lead has gone cold and I thought it was dead. Yet months and even years later it has come to something because I have bothered to stay in touch.
Have you abandoned your blog?
But that ‘never give up, never surrender’ attitude shouldn’t just apply to sales. It should apply to marketing too.
The world of marketing has changed. Content marketing is now the single most effective way of connecting with consumers. But that does not happen over night. Blogs, podcasts, social media channels all take time to gain a following. Yet many give up when they don’t see results. Posting every week slips to once a month and then to every few months when things get slow. No wonder people don’t see results.
This blog and podcast took years to gain a significant following. Years of me putting out content week after week even when I knew nobody was reading or listening to it.
I realise that is a hard thing to do. It can feel like you are wasting your time flogging a dead horse. But there is a secret to making it happen. Whether it is following up a sales lead for the 20th time or posting to your blog that nobody reads. The secret is to enjoy the journey and not focus on the end goal.
Enjoy the journey
When we follow up a sales lead we do so because we want to win the work. When we write a blog post we do so because we want lots of people to read it. Sure, those are the ultimate goals but they shouldn’t be the only ones. Because if those are our only goals then every blog post that isn’t read and every call that doesn’t result in a sale become failures.
Instead we need to have other goals. Other reasons to do sales and marketing. Things to do on the journey to the ultimate destination. Let me explain.
I have just got off a call with a potential sales lead. He said he might get me in for some consultancy towards the end of this year. That could feel like a failure. After all that wasn’t much of a commitment. But do you know what, that wasn’t my only reason for calling him. I did some training for this company in the middle of last year and I wanted to know what had happened in the meantime. I just wanted a chat and to find out how things were going. To learn how they have overcome some of the challenges they face and share a few ideas. I learnt stuff from that call and it was nice to just catch up. I found value in the call itself. It was not just a means to an end.
The same is true with blogging. When I started blogging I wasn’t concerned if anybody read what I was writing. I was writing for myself. Writing to get ideas straight in my mind. Writing to help me remember what I had learnt.
Social media is the same. I use social media to engage with people. Sure I like that it helps build my ‘personal brand’. But I keep sharing on social media because I enjoy it.
That is the key here. If your sales and marketing strategy is just about selling more then you will give up when it gets tough. You will also give up when the sales seem to be rolling in because marketing will seem unnecessary. But if you are doing these things because you see value in them beyond the end goal then you will persevere.