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The biggest mistake you can make in marketing is marketing to strangers instead of those you are already affiliated with.

It's not that strangers wouldn't ultimately make good clients, it's just that they are very hard to approach. It's hard to get their attention and interest, because there is no "Know-Like-Trust" factor. 

You want to market to inpiduals and businesses that you have some degree of affiliation with. This can be members of an organization, community, interest group, family, or any other group that you have some kind of connection with. 

When I started my business I joined the local Chamber of Commerce, a business brainstorming group, a leads group (like BNI) and a professional association (IMC -Institute of Management Consultants). 

That was a lot of affiliations in a very short period of time. Then I worked to develop relationships through group and inpidual meetings, mailings and invitations to introductory workshops. Pretty soon, a lot of people knew me, liked me and trusted me and business started coming my way.

Who can you start affiliating with?

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Persistence comes from a firm belief that you can not only win, but that the rewards of winning are worth a thousand times more than the blood sweat and tears that it takes to win.

Winning doesn't mean closing every prospect every time. It means turning enough prospects into ideal clients that you'll have a blast working with.

Too many people try to get their marketing perfect. But if you think of it, perfection is an impossibility. If you were a "perfect marketer" every person you communicated with about your services would buy your services. If you know anybody who can do that, I'd like to meet them!

More important to be a consistent marketer who puts together the best services, messages, marketing materials, and action plans possible and then takes one-step-at-a-time to implement.

To succeed with marketing and the Fast Track Program, that's all you have to do. Start now and complete what you start.

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Last week in More Clients I offered a "simple plan" to double your business in 2011. But ultimately, no plans are simple. They are always more complex than they seem.

And after all, as one blog commenter remarked, "How many consultants can actually HANDLE 17 to 19 new clients a year? I certainly can't." Quite right. Then that's not the plan for you.

The bigger question is "What do I really want and how can I create a plan that works for me?" And just as importantly, "How can I create goals and plans that I'll actually implement?"

These days, I'm reading a lot of Napoleon Hill. I read a chapter each day of "Think and Grow Rich" and have also dipped into his magnum opus: "The Law of Success."

Hill, who is the father of every success and motivation book or program since the 1920's, with few exceptions, comes back to the idea of goals and plans over and over in his writing. These ideas are mentioned in virtually every chapter and are at the very core of his teachings.

Beyond the Formula

Most of us think we know how to set goals. My observation is that virtually nobody knows how. Perhaps you're familiar with the S.M.A.R.T. goal-setting formula. Goals should be:

Specific - Measurable - Achievable - Realistic and Time Specific

This formula is useful, but not much. Yes, you need all of these elements but you need more, a lot more, and that's what few understand. This formula doesn't propel you towards your goals.

Making Your Goals Real

For a goal to be real, it needs to become a deep desire, a passion, almost an obsession. It needs to be something you think about all the time, work on a little bit every day, and something that is in total alignment with your larger purpose and values.

So when people say they'd like to double their income, the goals may fit the S.M.A.R.T. formula, but they're as about exciting as a dead fish. The question is, how to you magnify your desire and passion for a goal?

There's no such thing as a perfect formula for achieving big goals, but I will share some of the things I've done that really make a difference.

1. First of all, your goals must be authentic. You must have a genuine reason behind every goal. If you want to make more money what do you want to do with it? You need to be in touch with your values, your passions, what is essential at your very core. What do you want to accomplish before you die and why? If there is little emotion to your goals they will never catch fire.

2. I notice the only goals that really motivate me are big, almost impossible goals. Several years ago I had the goal to make $25K per month. And at the time, in the mid 90's, I think I was making less than $5K/mo. These day's I'm surprised when I don't make $25K each month.

The goal was big, scary, impossible. But I really wanted it. Now that doesn't mean I didn't have interim goals and benchmarks. And it took me quite some time to figure out how to do it, but I never lost sight of that goal.

3. I think about the goal from every side, from every angle. And I write a lot. I've filled notebooks with ideas related to my goals. And the more I write, the clearer the goal becomes and the plans to achieve that goal start to pop into my head. You're going to have more inspirations if you are actively engaged in the goal.

4. Of course, the biggest impediment to goals are the thoughts that say we can't achieve them. Before I'd think of a big goal and then shoot it down immediately. Once I started using Byron Katie's work several years ago and applied her process to my limiting thoughts and beliefs, big goals came more naturally. Now I think about a goal and get excited about the possibilities much faster with less struggle and resistance.

5. I talk to others who are most likely to support me achieve my goals. It's a big mistake sharing your big goals with people who will poke holes in them or react indifferently. Goals need to be cultivated and nurtured. Another big idea of Hill's is to work with a mastermind group who can give you support, encouragement, ideas and resources to achieve your goals. I've been in many mastermind groups and they make a huge difference.

6. I read and absorb the ideas of others who have achieved similar goals. I read a lot of books and articles, attend workshops and sometimes get professional support. There is a vast library of success literature but nothing better, in my opinion, than Hill's body of work. I find these ideas get me thinking in new and exciting directions.

Setting goals is much more than a mechanical process. That's the barest of foundations. If you want to achieve big goals, you need to get your mind vibrating at the level necessary to actively and enthusiastically take the actions towards those goals.

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The More Clients Bottom Line: For the most part, big things get done by people with a big purpose, big vision and big goals. And these all need to be constantly nurtured. You need to create the conditions, the atmosphere, the support structures, and the mindset where big goals are embraced fully. Only then do you have a chance of making these goals real.

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What's your big goal for 2011? Please share on the More Clients Blog by clicking on the Comments link below.

 

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I think that most of the people who join my Marketing Mastery Program are looking for change.

Change means improving your marketing skills, attracting more clients, or upgrading a web site. And when you look from the outside, that's what's happening. Change is going on and hopefully things are changing for the better.

But transformation is more important than change.

John and Wendy (not their real names) are partners in a coaching business in England and members of the MM Program. They are delightful, smart, and sweet people. I love working with them.

In a conversation a couple months ago, the topic of money and fees came up. It turns out they had some real issues about money. They weren't earning what they could and they seemed to have a big resistance to money - especially about setting higher fees.

If I focused on change I would have offered them more strategies to earn higher fees. But I knew they needed more than change; they needed transformation.

So we explored some beliefs and mindsets about money. And we discovered some good ones! It seems that the predominant belief for both of them was that the idea of making good money was seen as shameful. People who made good money were not good people. And they saw themselves as good people.

Can you see the big problems that this belief caused?

As good people they thought that if they raised their fees and made good money that they'd become the bad people their parents always warned them about. What a success formula!

All I had to do was to ask some questions about this belief and discover if it was true, if it was a belief that was working for them or not, and what the consequences were of holding onto that belief for such a long time.

They saw that this belief was a relic of their upbringing in poor families. They managed to get excellent educations and were successful at what they did - up to a point. But they could never bring themselves to charge what they were worth.

Within just a few minutes they saw that making good money was far from shameful, in fact it could be quite uplifting to earn more and a true reflection of the service and value they offered.

I don't do motivational or rah-rah sessions. We just look at the facts. Is that belief working for you? If not, what's a belief that might work better and give you the results you want?

That was the transformation. And then things started to change.

They told me last week that they had doubled their fees and that they were getting virtually no resistance from their clients. They started planning for much bigger projects and had become more positive and hopeful for their future prospects. They are well on their way to being extraordinarily successful.

This transformation that John and Wendy experienced reflected a similar transformation I had many years ago. I believed very firmly that nobody could afford my services! So I offered services at rates I thought they could afford and failed to offer them the services they needed to make a real difference.

Yeah, I know, it sounds stupid - and it was!

I can't remember my transformational moment. I think it took a lot longer than John and Wendy, but after a time, it just came natural to charge what I was worth, and to offer huge value to every client. My income went from close to the poverty level to a six figure income in very short order.

Do you want to make more money in your business? Do you want to attract more high-end clients and get paid what you're worth? Of course, but it will happen very slowly if you focus solely on just making marketing changes.

Instead, if you look more closely at the thoughts and beliefs that are holding you back, and then seriously inquire into the value of those thoughts and beliefs, you will soon discover new thoughts and beliefs that serve you a whole lot better.

That's what transformation is - a change in the way you think. And once you have a change in the way you think, then making changes in the actions you take follows naturally.

Another Mastery participant who found marketing to be no fun, turned around his thinking and discovered it could actually be VERY fun. That transformation propelled him into massive action. Playing the game of attracting clients become a game that he's now becoming very proficient at.

What's the thought or belief that's holding you back that you'd like to transform? Focus on that first and change will come relatively easily.

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The More Clients Bottom Line: Change is a process. Change will come whether you're transformed or not. Things will go up and down, get better or worse but you won't have changed inside. And even if you're successful in marketing, it will still be a struggle. Transform your thinking about marketing and it might become the most fun you have in your business. And of course, when something is fun, it's also much more successful.

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What thoughts about marketing/business/success do you want to transform this year? Please share on the More Clients Blog.

 

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Robert Middleton, the owner of Action Plan Marketing, has for 30 years, been helping Self-Employed Professionals attract more of their ideal clients.  He offers the online membership site, The More Clients Club, and individual coaching and consulting through his Marketing Action Coaching. If this is your first visit to the More Clients blog, make sure to get a copy of the Marketing Plan Workbook and join the Marketing Club Forum for free.