Everyone will be thinking about the holidays for the next few months. Many people will be focused on the difficult aspects of the holiday season. Especially, this month between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Many struggle with the change in the weather, increased social events, marriage and family problems, memories of loss, and finincal issues to name a few. This is the time when many of these constant feelings raise their ugly head. A therapist can help talk about the specifics of your feelings. Therapists are trained in many different type of treatments that can give you an understanding on where your feelings are coming from. Many of the issues you may have are steming from old feelings, that have been masked for years. Reach out to a local therapist now. Your have options! Find-a-Therapist is an online Directory that can help you find a therapist in your area.
This is reprinted with permission from an article by C.J. Hayden and is geared toward a general audience. Some of her suggestions may not be appropriate for therapists, so use your best clinical judgement when deciding whether they are OK for clients.
All economic indicators say we are in a recession. Consumer and business spending is down; unemployment is up. It’s natural to wonder whether perhaps this is a bad time to be marketing your business.
Since I’ve been self-employed for over two decades now, I’ve seen several economic cycles come and go. What I notice about these “down” periods is that people who frequently struggle to get clients typically think these are bad times to market. On the other hand, people who have been consistently successful at landing clients seem to believe that there is never a bad time to market. Personally, I’d vote to follow the lead of those who are succeeding.
Professionals who have built successful long-term businesses have learned that continuing to market pays off in both the best of times and the worst of times. But you may not be able to produce new results by marketing in the same old way. Here are six suggestions for how to keep your marketing up when the overall business climate is down.
1. Turn up the volume. When people are distracted by bad news or economic concerns, you may need to communicate more often or more visibly. Where an email might have done the job before, now you may need to pick up the phone or send a postcard. Instead of just one follow-up call, you may need to make two or three. If your business is slowing down, make use of the extra time you have available to ramp up all your marketing efforts.
2. Become a necessity. When clients are cutting back on discretionary spending, they need to perceive your services as essential. Look for ways to “dollarize” the value of your services. How can you help your clients save money, cut expenses, or work more efficiently? Will your services help them gain more customers, increase their income, or experience less stress in tough times? Tell your prospects exactly why they need you, and why they shouldn’t wait to get started.
3. Make use of your existing network. It’s always easier to get your foot in the door when someone is holding it open. In a slow market, referrals and introductions can be the key to getting new business. Seek out opportunities to propose repeat business with former clients, too. Uncertain times encourage more reliance on trusted sources and known quantities, so warm approaches and existing contacts will pay off better than cold calls or mass mailings.
4. Explore partnerships. Working with a partner can create more opportunities for both of you. By sharing contacts, you each increase the size of your network. Together, you can multiply your marketing efforts and share expenses. A partner with a complementary business can allow you to offer a more complete solution than your competitors can. A photographer could team up with a graphic designer, for example. And you can help keep each other’s spirits up, too.
5. Meet people where they are. In a down economy, prospects are even more price sensitive than usual. Instead of slashing your rates to get their business, propose a get-acquainted offer. A professional organizer or image consultant could offer a reduced price half-day package for new clients. A management consultant or executive coach could propose a staff seminar instead of consulting/coaching work. Once clients see you in action, they’ll be more willing to spend.
6. Find the silver linings. When companies cut back on staff, opportunities are created. With fewer people on the payroll to handle essential tasks, downsized organizations present possibilities for project work, interim assignments, and outsourced functions. Economic changes beget other needs. People who are out of work need resume writers and career coaches. Folks concerned about their finances need investment advisors and financial planners.
Landing clients during a down period requires not just more marketing, but more strategic marketing. So instead of getting depressed by the news, get inspired by it. When you hear about coming layoffs, consider how your services could benefit those companies. When you read about negative consumer attitudes, use those words to better target your marketing copy. When prospects say, “not this year,” craft a proposal that ensures your place in next year’s budget.
For the successful independent professional, there’s no such thing as a bad time to market.
Copyright © 2008, C.J. Hayden
I usually don’t write about my childhood stories, but this morning I was inspired by a dear friend who saw a picture of me at 10 years old. How far back does that go!
My father was an entrepreneur, although I don’t know if he knew what the word meant. A self taught man, there was nothing he couldn’t do, nothing he wouldn’t try, and I never recall him saying no to me if I needed or wanted his help with something. He liked that I was smart and although he would never say it, the smartest kid of 3 in the family; smart and appreciative, and so he had fun when we worked together.
One snow packy winter day, perfect for snowmen, when the lawn mowers are itching to come out of their winter hibernation, he went outside after breakfast and proceeded to build what I thought was a snowman. Well, after hours and hours he invited me outside o see the most beautifully sculpted snow horse I had ever seen. Every curve of its flowing white mane, every rippling muscle, nostrils wide and flaring, looking at those he was running at top speed.
I immediately began to cry. I had always loved horses, but we could never afford one, so this was my next best thing. His name was Silver, not even a hint of a question about that, and he was the fastest horse in the world. Every morning and every night I covered him with a fresh coat of ice water to preserve him as long as I could.
Neighbors stopped by to comment, people driving by in cars slowed down to “ohhh” in wonder at this marvelous creation, and the local newspaper even did a feature story with pictures on my Silver and how it all came about. I loved that horse and I loved my father so much for such an amazing gift straight from his heart. I don’t know what prompted him to do it. I was only 10 and didn’t think to ask or know how to formulate the question.
But, good things too come to an end; and the day came in April when the sun rose too high in the sy and no matter how much ice water I used I couldn’t keep him from beginning to show the telltale drips that meant he was melting. I sat with him outside as one would keep vigil with a sick friend, begged to sleep outside in case he needed me – “No, it’s too cold, Judy, you’ll freeze.’ From the wisdom of my mother. From my father, a tear – he understood but reality won out.
In the morning I raced down the steps and outside to see a shell of Silver, trying to stand proud, and melting. In 30 minutes it was over – he was gone.
I didn’t know at the time it was possible for a child to cry that much. I sobbed for hours, first hanging onto him and then in my bedroom. My heart was broken for the loss of the most gracious gift, the unexpected loveliness of it all, the hours we played together, and the possibilities of what might have been, the unrealized dream that has never died.
Exhausted finally from the tears and emotion, I went to sleep and dream t of my darling Silver, my father, herds of horses and love beyond measure.
Now what does this have to do with marketing, you ask. Of course, everything. Marketing never ends – building relationships never ends. Keeping your name “out there” never ends. You my dear therapists are providing such a marvelous service, helping people end their anguish and suffering. If you are good, you know it in your bones. Please share that expertise with others. My father kept that marvelous talent hidden for over 20 years – a terrible waste of a gift. And then one day, it burst forth – it was as if the world was too small for him all of a sudden – he HAD to share it.
He periodically did things like that as time went by – amazing, delightful surprises. He owned three businesses in his lifetime – all successful. And as I watched, and listened and learned, I watched him first build the trust which takes time. He was willing, more than willing. One of my very favorite tips he used – another grocery story opened their doors close enough to ours to be a real threat. A bit newer, more modern, but my dad had trust already stored up for years. When mom sent the kids to the store for a loaf of bread, they had a choice – newer or trustworthy. They always chose him. He taught me his secret. When the got an ice cream cone, he gave an extra dip. When they got candy, same thing–”a little extra on the side for you, he’d say. And countless other stories. It rubbed off…more value to the customer whenever possible, keep building the trust and he always shook their hand and said good-bye, come back now and called them by name. I loved that man so much and never , ever told him enough. “Do you hear me now dad?”