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Happy New Year!

This is a great time to start planning for business or personal growth in 2015.  As you do, here are a few tips to help you with the process, which I’ve honed over the years:

1. Put it all in writing.  A written plan is more likely to lead you to the results you want than some random thoughts about what you want to happen.  Writing it down makes it real.

I’ve often said that New Year’s resolutions don’t work.  Just stating a goal (or even writing down the goal), without a written plan to reach it, isn’t enough when it’s March and your heart isn’t in it anymore.

2. Get crystal clear about what you want.  Whether it’s a number of enrollments, applications, or new clients, or a dollar amount of assets under management—or a total personal earnings amount—you need to know what it is and have a burning desire to make it happen, or it simply won’t happen.  What is your ultimate goal for the coming year?

3. Break your ultimate goal down into process goals.  What do you have to do every month, every week, every day, and every hour to generate the results you need to reach your ultimate goal?

4. Get just as clear about what you do and how you tell people about it. My colleague Robert Middleton asks, “If not even your family understands fully what you do, how do you expect your prospective clients to understand?”

The two things you must know in order to answer the question “What do you do?” are:

a.  Who do you work with?  If your answer is usually “anyone”, rethink it.  Most people have come to believe that if you claim to be everything to everyone, you might not be the best at any one thing.

b.  What do they need that you provide?  We tend to talk in outcomes: “I do financial planning,” or “I’m a wealth advisor.”  These have virtually no emotional impact.

Financial planners might work with people who are serious about saving for retirement and terrified that if they make a wrong move, they may have to go find menial jobs to support themselves when they’re in their eighties and all their money has run out.

Wealth managers might help people who have been fortunate enough to accumulate assets and want to make sure that those assets continue to grow so that Uncle Sam doesn’t end up with the money they want their children to receive.

Descriptions like these are considerably more powerful than results-based statements.

What you say about what you do is your Audio Billboard.  If you posted what you’ve been telling people about your work on a local highway billboard, and you drove by it, would you slow down to read it, or would you drive right past it?  What you say should get their attention and make them curious.

5. Plan your marketing to address four groups:

a.  The people you know already (clients and non-clients)

b.  People you meet—both randomly and through networking efforts

c.  Introductions from a and b to prospective clients

d.  Marketing strategies that work for you

I’m sure you’ve heard that the easiest way to get new business is through existing clients and people you know.  These are also you best source for referrals.  But all areas—a through d—are worthy parts of the potential sales pool.

6. Focus your networking efforts in two places: your target market, and others who serve your target market.  If your market is young families, and you spend a substantial amount of time working within a chamber of commerce where the members are neither young parents nor people who serve young families, plan to change that.

If you answered 4a with clarity, you should know who is in your target market.  But where are they?  Where are the other professionals who serve them?  Your business and marketing plan for 2015 should include these details.

7. Include the development or expansion of a “stay in touch” program.  Nobody’s going to remember you or think about you if you don’t stay in touch with them.  Don’t be so arrogant as to think people will remember you after one or two contacts.  Stay in touch!  Serve, surprise, and delight your best clients.

8. Get help with the execution of your planTalk with someone about what your goals are and how you are planning to reach them.  At this time of year, I coach a lot of professionals to get their plans—whatever they are—off of the ground.


Celebrate the New Year.  Rest and rejoice, but remember, ‘tis the season to keep REACHING…


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