Avoiding the Cycle of Frustration…

Do you ever find yourself feeling stuck in a cycle of frustration?

Do you find yourself chasing this or that new marketing strategy, promising to move your business to the next level, only to leave you more frustrated and disappointed than ever before?

If so, you’re certainly not alone. We all end up there from time to time. But why, and how do you avoid this cycle? What I’ve learned in working closely with hundreds of advisors is that there is a way to escape the cycle, and it involves two steps. First, you have to understand what’s happening and why; and second, you have to take steps ahead of time to avoid it.

Defining the Cycle of Frustration

The cycle of frustration typically begins during a time of low activity. Maybe you come in on a Monday morning, look at your calendar and see there are many more openings in your schedule than there are appointments. You begin to feel the pressure to fill your calendar, and experience an undercurrent of insecurity and anxiety, and this is all the more upsetting because you’ve been here before. You just don’t know how to get your business on track.

Typically when we’re in this state we’re susceptible to all manner of ads offering a wide variety of silver bullets, all promising to solve your business growth challenges with some new set of magic answers. If you happen to read trade journals or subscribe to any industry emails, you already know there’s no shortage of silver bullets being offered out there. But when anxiety kicks in, it’s easy to become susceptible to the mirage promising that this, this is the thing you’ve been missing.

So you respond to an ad, attend a recruiting event where a $20 million dollar producer is paraded on stage as the next big thing and are promised in no time at all you to can be rolling in success, if you simply contract with an IMO, or invest in some new marketing tactic.

The challenge is, the event ends, you go home, and you sit in front of the same empty calendar, now a few thousand dollars in the hole and more distracted than ever.

Here’s what I’ve observed. While we often chase new marketing ideas or programs with the best of intent, we quickly get distracted or disappointed when the results don’t come overnight. That, of course, feeds right back into the cycle of frustration, because we know that yet another slow month is soon to follow, and there we are again: feeling the pressure of low activity.

So let’s take a look at how and why this happens…

Have You Ever Said This…

“If I Just…”

  • If I just wrote a book and were a published author, then I’d have so much more credibility. And if I had more credibility, my marketing problems would be over.
  • If I just got on TV – if I could be interviewed on Fox Business or – what if I had a radio show? I could become a weekly radio authority. That would really change things for me.
  • If I just had more Twitter followers. If I just had more Facebook friends. If I just built a fan page and got a lot of likes for my business … that would really move things forward.
  • If I were just ranked number one on Google. When people searched for financial services in my market, they’d see me first, and I’d have prospects flooding in.
  • If I just wrote blog posts regularly. If I just had a nicer website. If I just had more videos on YouTube.
    If I just had a stronger seminar, or seminar presentation that would really move the needle for me.

The fact is, none of these are inherently bad in and of themselves. The problem however, is that none of them are marketing strategies… They are all marketing tactics.

Tactics vs. Strategy: Know The Difference

Our industry is full of people who want to sell any and all of the ideas on the list above. And while these services do have value, as long as you’re chasing tactics, you’ll remain stuck in a never ending loop of thinking you’ve found a fix, only to be disappointed yet again.

So how do you avoid falling into the cycle of frustration?

The best way is to have a sound strategy in place, one that ensures you’ve thought your plan out in advance, making you less susceptible to the marketing idea of the week…

To be successful, you really need a three-part strategy, one that addresses the short, mid, and long-term growth of your business.

  1. Short term. What can you implement in the next 0 to 90 days to produce a result? Short-term tactics are the first phase of your marketing strategy but only the first phase. If you never move beyond this phase, you’ll end up feeling like you’re on a hamster wheel, pushing hard but stuck in second gear never really gaining any long-term traction.
    Bottom line: You can’t expect long-term results from short-term tactics.
  2. Mid-term. The next set of tactics in your strategy won’t produce results right away, but after following through on them for three to nine months, you’ll really begin to compound your business, seeing many more leads and appointments and begin to truly scale up to the next level. This phase feels like switching gears when you’re riding a bike: the pedals are moving more slowly now, but you’re going farther, and getting there much faster.
  3. Long term. You’ll have to wait nine months, maybe even more, to see results from the implementation of long term tactics, and while that may sound like a long time, those who build a long-term phase into their business development strategy begin to see the real breakthroughs we’re all after, like doubling and tripling your business.

Using Tactics to Build Your Strategy

When you need a short-term result, short-term tactics are a good idea. After all, you’ve got to write business today to ensure you’re still around tomorrow. Your first priority should be to get your short-term tactics working predictably and consistently so you won’t run out of resources while putting longer-term tactics into place.

If you notice a tactic isn’t yielding results even though you’re working hard at it, don’t throw it away immediately. It might not be a bad idea – it might just not be a fit for the short-term. For example, authoring a book, starting a podcast, getting deep into content marketing – those would each be great mid- or long-term tactics, but won’t likely produce a short term result. The danger is in investing time and money in mid and long-term tactics, expecting the short-term payoff.

So whenever you’re thinking about adding a new tactic to your strategy, ask yourself where it fits. Once you’re implementing tactics in all three phases (short, mid- and long-term), you’ll have escaped the cycle of frustration, and set your business up for massive growth for years into the future.