I was speaking with a client about an issue she has in her current position. Her manager has an aggressive revenue goal to meet this year, but he doesn’t want to leave the office. My client is concerned that her manager’s reluctance to get out and engage the market directly is going to result in the revenue goal not being met. She is wise to realize this because if the revenue goal is missed, it can have unpleasant consequences for her, as well as for her boss.
But the bigger issue here is that of the boss’s refusal to go out to the market. I suspect this is rooted in fear: fear of failure, of being told no, of looking incompetent. This is something I deal with all the time when I work with clients—people who do not get out of their comfort zone to promote themselves, build their brands, and enhance their networks.
Have you ever reached a fitness plateau? You’ve been doing the same workout routine for a while, and you’re just not getting the results that you used to. It is a universal truth that the more you do something, the easier it becomes. This can be a good thing if what you’re doing is working. After a few weeks of doing the same exercises, your body stops responding to them. Your body becomes accustomed to the routine, and your fitness regimen becomes just that—routine. You meet with a personal trainer, who works up an entirely new program for you. It’s hard. It’s uncomfortable. It challenges you. It changes you.
In the case of my client’s boss, his strategy of coming into the office and waiting for clients to contact him to ask to spend money is a dismal failure. He continues to reap the same results—no increased revenue, but he refuses to do anything to build his network of potential buyers. Her boss needs to get out of his comfort zone, leave the office, and meet with some potential decision makers. It is exceedingly difficult to build either a business or a personal brand, from behind a computer screen. Business and branding remain exercises in p2p—people to people—marketing. And for p2p, there is no substitute for meeting with your market in person.
I am sure you’ve heard the cliché that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result. In this case, it is true. If you are not getting the results you want from your personal branding efforts, or your business development efforts, it’s time to try something new.