by Robert Middleton – Action Plan Marketing
In a linkedIn discussion group I posed the following question:
"If you're a consultant, (management, technical or any other), business coach, or offer any other professional or business service, what has been your most effective overall proactive strategy for attracting new clients?"
The most interesting response I got was from Joel Alpert:
"Robert, I've thought about your question before, and the mysterious answer for me is "I just show up." It could be at a marketing or business association meeting, or a cookout. Somehow when the conversation shifts to business, I "make sense," in the words of one client, I seem to "connect the dots," with specific and integrated skills and they say, "come see me." Now I know that's not very "scaleable" (yikes!) but those are where most clients have come from."
And my response was:
"Joel, The skill to "just show up" is actually a very advanced one. I call it "Marketing Conversations." It includes saying something attention-getting, or insightful and then asking good questions and giving good answers. If a lot of people ask if you can "come and see me" you've refined this to a high level. It's sure beats asking them! If this approach could be bottled, may people would buy a few gallons!"
But perhaps the most important thing to get is that "showing up" is a skill that Ron developed in his own unique way. Maybe he learned it from his Dad or from his first job as a salesperson.
But that skill would certainly be hard to bottle!
I like to systematize things, to organize things, to create step-by-step processes for things, to find something that works and learn the model that this method was based on.
But this approach can have its limitations.
Ultimately we all play the same game of marketing to our prospects. If we stumble upon the marketing ball model that gives structure to that game, then great. But the model itself is not responsible for your success within that structure.
If we go back to my baseball analogy, every ball player plays the same game of baseball with the same rules, but the game can be played very ineptly by a 10-year old, or with mastery by a major league player.
What I notice is that so many people are looking for the "ultimate system or strategy" to attract a ton of clients, forgetting that any system, even the best one, takes time, effort and persistence to ultimately succeed with at a high level.
So just "showing up" as a strategy can only get you so far.
I've known people who showed up a lot and networked their butts off but still had very few people ask them to set up a meeting.
That's a bit like showing up for a baseball game and then just going though the motions. No, you have to be a student of the game, to watch the best players and learn from them, to try new things outside of your comfort zone, to go for it 100%.
If you want to get substantial results from "just showing up" join a group, get involved, and watch the master networkers closely. Take them out to lunch, try to learn their secrets (which they know but might not even know they know), until some of it rubs off on you. And then practice it over and over again until is comes naturally to you.
Let's start a conversation about this. Once you know the basics of something, I.e., "just showing up" what do you do to take it deeper and farther until it really starts to produce results for you? Juast click on the Comments link below.