In times like these, it’s good to return to the basics. There is an apocryphal story told about football coach Lou Holtz; when he needed to get his team refocused, he would pull them together practice, hold up a football, and say, “this, gentlemen, is a football.”
So please don’t disregard what I’m about to recommend simply because it’s “basic information”. For some, it will be new information. For others, it will be something they’ve heard but never done. And for some, it will indeed be something they’re already doing… but even for those I submit it may be possible to do it in a better way.
Here’s the lesson: there is a fortune in the follow-up.
Let’s say you’re one of the enlightened few who has a website that collects e-mail leads. Good job.
Let’s say you’re even more enlightened and you have an automated follow-up system, that sends those leads three, five, maybe even seven follow-up messages. Even better job.
But why stop with seven messages? Why stop with 10?
Here’s my recommendation: block out 3 to 4 hours one day, and write up at least 52 follow-up messages. Logos into your autoresponder follow-up sequence, after your initial weeks worth of follow-up (if you indeed already have a weeks worth). Make sure every e-mail in your follow-up sequence has a call to action, even if it’s simply redirecting prospects back to your blog, or giving them your phone number (obviously this depends on what business you are in).
My point is simple: once someone raises their hand and volunteers to be marketed to, why on earth would you ever stop marketing until they ask you to stop?
It’s fun to look at rule breaking entrepreneurs, and imagine ourselves being like them. Who doesn’t admire Richard Branson?
The same is true of writers. Stephen King, for instance, can’t seem to go for a single page without breaking some rule of grammar, or roasting some sacred cow.
But rule breaking just for the sake of breaking the rules is not a smart idea. Yes, to succeed at extraordinary levels you will probably need to break the rules; but first, you need to understand them.
Panic is a jungle response. It makes you want to either fight, or flee. In business, neither of these reactions is often appropriate.
These days, business panic seems rampant; it’s the go-to response for many faced with their very first recession. What’s the proper answer when you start to feel this business panic?
It’s probably the most difficult advice I’ve ever given: ignore it.
Use the one faculty that makes us different from all the animals: your ability to choose your response.
Decide that you will feel the panic, but that you will neither fight nor flee. You will, instead, calmly face the situation — and refuse to be reactive. Some concrete steps to help you do this:
- Get some exercise every day.
- Cut out the sugar and caffeine.
- Cut out television, and media in general.
- Focus on your primary mission as a company, as an entrepreneur, as an artist-as a “whatever it is you are”.
- Wait. The Japanese, in particular, seem to be very good at this. Often, simply waiting is the very best response when you’re in a state of panic.
- Finally, remember the timeless advice of Douglas Adams: “Don’t panic.”
- Amazing products
- Amazing service
- Pleasant surprises
- Personal interaction
- Unanticipated value
- Lightning quick response when things go wrong
- Having the backbone to simply say, “I’m sorry” when appropriate
Can you introduce these qualities into your way of doing business? Yes, you can.
Will you? We’ll see.