Even the most confident agency principals (and consultants) experience self-doubt if the pipeline runs dry. What was previously a genuine confidence now stands behind a quickly erected facade of bravado. While agencies in the US are generally doing well, some of you experience this every few years and others are experiencing it now for the first time since 2008. And outside the US, the agency market is generally flat.
But everything changes when the pipeline goes dry, right? Not only do you lack some of that killer instinct that stems from confidence, it all rolls up to further impact your psyche.
- You stop normal growth plans, kill employee searches except to replace critical ones, rethink your move into larger space, and table that discussion about making employee benefits more competitive.
- You spend down the cash cushion that helps you sleep at night and then don’t stop there, eating into your seed corn by drawing on the credit line “to keep the team together” for the inevitable break in this bad luck.
- The mysterious faux asset–loan to shareholder–appears on the balance sheet, only because you can’t pay the taxes on the money that you sneak out to yourself in order to get by.
- You have the time, finally, to work on your own marketing plan but it’s discouraging and the fog won’t lift. You have the time to work on that new positioning but you don’t know what to say.
- The confidence you had about pursuing that new planned direction seems foolish, now, and every proposal looks like a desperate ploy to be the prospective new client’s order taker.
Times like these are when you should be able to reach for the switch to make it rain. Here are the things that you’d ideally be able to do:
- Schedule an invitation-only roundtable with an even mix of your clients and prospects, drawn to discuss their common challenges. Rain interval: six weeks.
- Do a webinar for an association that serves your target prospect, promoted through their channels and handing you 600 email addresses at the conclusion. Rain interval: two weeks.
- Announce a new service offering that’s packaged and self-contained, requiring no great effort to personalize differently each time. Rain interval: ten weeks.
This is not easy or quick work. It takes a long time to spool up your marketing activity. So the sooner you start, the less you’ll panic in the future, reaching for the switch to make it rain instead.
If you don’t have a tribe of followers, it’s because you aren’t gathering actionable insight that interests them. If you don’t have that actionable insight, it’s because you aren’t writing enough. The process itself is when the ideas come to you, whether other people read your stuff or not.
“To write is to debate with oneself, and the very act of writing sets in motion a sort of feedback in the brain.” –Nelson DeMille.
Write and you’ll be insightful. Be insightful and you’ll attract a tribe. Attract a tribe and serve them by emptying yourself and you’ll be able to flip that switch that might make it rain.
I want to inspire you to look up and out today, okay?