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Stephen Covey (author of "The 7 habits of highly effective people") says there are important things to do and there are urgent things to do. Cut out the unimportant things even if they are urgent. Concentrate on the urgent, important things. However what makes something urgent? A ringing telephone may seem urgent just because it is so intrusive.

A successful company has 3 key assets, which should be nurtured and grown. These are

  • its team,
  • its products/services and
  • its market niche of satisfied customers.

Whenever a critical problem comes up relating to the first two - the team or the products/services - it is usually very visible. Your key technical man would like greater responsibilities and has received an offer from a competitor. Your reject rate on one of your processes has doubled to 0.4 %. Such problems are "in your face". We get to hear about them fast. They are urgent. They are important.

Critical problems relating to current customers or potential customers are usually less striking. Customers rarely tell us we are missing out or not being as effective as we should be. A current customer has been visited by a competitor. A potential customer is about to go out for bids and we haven't heard about it. Such problems do not come banging on our door but they are still very urgent. It is essential to be vigilant about that third critical asset, our market niche of satisfied customers. We must watch out for urgent problems or opportunities and then be pro-active.

If you are not yet thinking about new sales three months ahead, then you may already be too late. A sale doesn't happen the minute you knock on the door. Once contact is established, it takes 6 meaningful contacts to close the sale. In this stressful age where everyone is running around, this involves at least 6 other failed contacts where the voice box came on or your potential customer was out of town. Yet often people put all their energy into getting the product right and then only spend whatever time is left over to try to tie down the sales.

So don't overlook your own urgent marketing issue. Make sure your monthly review of operations includes a close watch on the marketplace.

If you wish to use this approach, SMM will be happy to work with you. Our help can be configured to meet exactly the needs you have. Our strengths, experience, creativity and practical common sense can complement those of your company. So write us a Message today on what you're looking for without obligation.

Barry Welford

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