Things are tough out there. Really tough. Everyone I speak to has a story – cancelled contracts, price pressure, layoffs, disappearing clients. In my own experience, the slowdown was abrupt. Through June, I was working at capacity. I had the best first half ever. 2008 was looking to be a record year. Not. Any. More.
Hmmmm, what to do, what to do? It’s really tempting to hide. A nice, long, open-ended vacation until this thing blows over sounds perfect. Then again, maybe, just maybe it’s a good time to market, to communicate. Isn’t that what they always say? In slow times, the temptation is to cut back on marketing, on “non-essential” expenses, but all the literature argues that’s exactly the wrong thing to do. I think the literature is right.
So that’s what I’ve been doing, spending more time marketing, not less, and getting back in touch with my clients. I’m reaching out to them, taking advantage of the nice weather to pay some visits. More often than not, they have time to share a meal with me, which is quite out of the ordinary. I’m noticing that people want to talk – not complain – just talk. And I’m all ears. I love to listen, sometimes offer suggestions, but mostly, just listen, to let them know I care. In the process, I’m learning a lot about my clients, which is a very good thing. I actually realize that in our crazy, busy lives, we’ve been depriving ourselves of the human connection this type of contact provides. The retreat from face-to-face has been so gradual that I hadn’t even realized it. I’ll bet that’s true for many.
I’m also taking this “gift” of more time to get some new products and services up and running. I’ll need to have another newsletter ready to go by Labor Day. I recently developed and delivered a successful webinar and need to get the word out. People want this type of distance learning option. Gotta beef up my Facebook page and get my twitter account going. I want to be ready when the economy turns around – and it always does. On Friday, however, I’m taking a week off.
But only a week.
Ruth Sherman • Ruth Sherman Associates LLC • High-Stakes Communications • Greenwich, CT