Remember the old quote, “I would rather shoot for the stars and miss than aim for the gutter and hit it?”  While that may be true in theory, so often, getting yourself ready to make the decision to try something new is more than half the battle.  Motivation is funny like that. We have talked recently about things like motivation and understanding others in order to build more harmonious work partnerships with your team and your guests.  After our last article, like a beautiful Tetris effect, I started receiving articles and podcasts that affirmed this idea of understanding your buyer and simply “getting personal” in order to build content marketing and sales strategies that win.  While there is a lot to consider when beginning a project of any kind, there are two ideas that you need to understand about yourself that can mean the difference between success and failure in almost any situation.

The first is that you can’t win if you don’t try: meaning that it’s more important that you get out there and try, whether it’s to develop a Facebook contest, an Instagram posting strategy, or an outbound sales effort than it is to have 100% of the answers before attempting. It is so easy to get paralyzed by uncertainty but it is a fact that you’ll never succeed if you stay frozen.

A friend of mine has the words “just five seconds” tattooed on her inner wrist.  When asked about the meaning, she says that it reminds her that she can do anything for just five seconds. Or five more. Or five more.  The story goes that she had attended a retreat where she was asked to run a mile. As someone who is a new runner, I can attest that before I’d gotten started running, I looked at a mile run like you might look at a poisonous snake. She explains, though, that her coach asked if she could run for just five seconds. And she did. Could she run five more?  She could.  Until the entire mile had been run in five-second intervals.  What a beautiful way to think about trying something and I recall that story every time I attempt a new or difficult task.  So, in thinking about implementing (or rebooting) an outbound sales plan, you know that you need to diversify to get adults, kids, churches, etc. through the door. But if that causes you anxiety, what if you just think about making those first five calls? Over and over again, until you’re fully booked.  If trying out a content marketing strategy is scary, what if you thought in terms of just this post, that contest, and what you’d like to see happen in the short term? Focusing on the short term might seem counterintuitive to those who like to “start with the end in mind,” but again, the key is to start at all.  Smaller goals can help you course correct all along the way before you head too far down a path. Learn at each step and you get better, faster.

Advantage_Groups_Outbound_Sales.jpgThe second truth that I have always held dear is that you have to kiss a few frogs:  If you’re like me, you are learning every day, and you’re bound to make some mistakes. Promotion ideas you have will fall flat, “sure things” will get lost in Objection Land, you’ll get nasty grams on a Facebook contest or video you painstakingly produce. That’s going to happen. Your haters aren’t going to pull their punches, so you need to be ready.  We’ll talk about handling feedback soon, but for now, just know that not everything will be a home run, so be open to trying different things. You know, like the first time you tried sushi.

In order to get started with social media, for example, Hubspot has a great infographic about the best times to post on some of the common platforms.  This is a great guide, but even those gurus say there is really no fail safe method.  Start here and make adjustments as you find out what works with your audience. The same goes for making those sales calls. Try them at different times of day, different days of the week, and learn how the people you contact need to receive their information.  People will tell you their preferred method (and frequency) of communication, and finding that out early in the relationship saves you time and effort. All about working smarter, not necessarily harder.

While this is by no means a manual, maybe it’s a “runner take your mark” kind of a post. Have you got five seconds?

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