Believe it or not, success causes lethargy. There’s no deep urgency to change, no burning desire to grow. There you are, toddling along as a busy business owner with a team who is even busier. You’re growing at a good healthy clip but you spend actually zero time in new client acquisition (no, it doesn’t count if they’ve been referred to you). If this is you, you may be suffering from what I call Lethargy Marketing.
What It Is
Lethargy Marketing happens to business owners who know that they have the potential to grow much bigger but can’t because they are in an uncomfortable lethargy (laziness) in their marketing efforts to attract new leads. They wistfully wish for faster growth but aren’t willing to make the necessary changes to do so. Here are a few cases of acute Lethargy Marketing that I’ve come across…
This is when you spend most of your time working on existing business and your first and foremost priority is on making time for your clients. When client-itis prevents business growth, there’s usually systems issues in the company that need to free up time for the CEO to be the front-man (the Christine Magee or the Donald Trump to your kingdom). You need to finally step out from under the client work to get out to show your face to new prospects.
When you’re worried about negatively affecting your team’s delicate balance or upsetting their established roles, you are unwilling to grow fast so you just bow your head to organic growth through existing clients or referrals. Unfortunately you can’t really see that your team would be the first to benefit from your growth. Who doesn’t want to work for a bigger pay check and see more success at the end of the same workday? I know you’re thinking money isn’t everything and people want a life but there are incredibly successful and profitable companies that employees are leaving stagnant jobs like yours to come and work for.
Another facet of the ‘I don’t want to change yet’ Marketing Lethargy is the refrain that a business owner needs to spend some time to set up some infrastructure to support the growth that the new marketing will bring them. Given that the typical corporate client takes over a year to close and that only 5% of companies are ready to buy at the moment you reach out to them, I find this a baffling strategy. However, it’s a major one in the companies that I talk to and it’s an illusion that keeps them firmly in the Lethargy.
In essence what all of the above boil down to is this one issue: that business owners simply don’t know HOW to go out and get new quality clients using the tools and skills that they have. I see this in my Executive Roundtables all the time: once CEOs actually get an idea that there is a way to get clients in large corporations without referrals or knowing someone on the inside, they get excited because the root of all their excuses was simply not knowing the ‘how’.
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