On the first half of the blog we talked about the first three steps for creating a great sales/marketing strategy for 2013. Step one is the cleanup, step two is setting goals, and step three is the dream boards.
4. Create my cookbook (1/2 day)
My cookbook is the specific steps I need to take in order to reach my business goals for the next year. A typical cookbook would have my financial goal for the year as the focus. Everything I outline in the cookbook relates to the specific activities that will help me to reach that goal. Common categories in my cookbook are cold calls, drop-ins, asking for referrals, trade shows, networking, advertising, public speaking, volunteering, customer service. I plan a specific amount of each activity on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. For instance, 50 cold calls should net me four appointments. One out of four appointments usually turns into a new client. How do I know this? Five years ago, I made a cookbook. I was able to do the activities and see what was working and what didn’t. Every year, I have made adjustments to my cookbook based on that data.
Five years ago, my cookbook was very heavy on cold calls. That made sense since my company was new to the area. Now my activities center more on customer service and referrals. When you track what you do, it’s easier to figure the most efficient use of your marketing efforts. Obviously at first, the cookbook is a big guess based on wishful thinking. As you track it though, it won’t take long for a clear picture of activities and results to come into focus.
5. Agenda/Business meeting. (1/2 day)
I like to make a comprehensive agenda of everything business related, a shortened form of our business plan which shows all the goals and imagined ways to get them accomplished. It should include the cookbook. A review of last year’s goals shows what was done, what wasn’t, and why. I meet with my business partner and have this huge planning session. Sometime we invite other trusted smart people to join us a share their perspective. The result typically means that we finally have a good plan for the year and that I will have to make more adjustments to the goals, cookbook and general business plan again. Sure it is time consuming, but it is worth it.
I can go to the supermarket and walk down each aisle looking to see what I might need and probably spend more money on needless items while forgetting some important ones. Or time can be invested in advance to make a list of items. You can view the time making the list as a waste, but what about the time and money you save at the grocery store focusing on your list? These steps give my entire year focus and purpose, and vision and efficiency. All of that gives me peace of mind.