January 2022 is not developing into a record-breaking sales month for my company. I’ve had financially successful months – beyond anything I could ask, think or imagine. I also had months like this January. Low earnings inevitably happen to the best of us. Business is slowing down. Then the fear of low income creeps in. What about salaries and expenses that have to come out this month?!
Worrying about earnings has wasted endless hours of my life. The slow trickle of business used to mean personal failure: I was left behind and potential clients didn’t want what I had. This fear robbed me of the joy of great months because I would worry that the next drought or Snowmageddon was just around the corner, waiting to rob me of new sales.
In truth, increasing sales is the part of my business that I feel the most resistance to. I’ve had to work hard to raise my prices, express the value of working with my company, and settle for silence after asking potential customers if they’re willing to move on. I’m not superhuman, but I know of other ways to deal with a business dry spell that have nothing to do with sales pitches.
I’m by no means guaranteeing anything by using the list below, but it’s a start if you feel like you’ve done everything you can and still don’t have any consultations on your calendar.
Go out. Research supports the benefits of nature. Sink your feet in the grass (it won’t work for you in the snow until spring), go for a brisk walk, or just be in nature. Enjoy the company of your loved ones. I can never overdo this. Treat yourself to good healthy company, meet up with a friend for coffee or go for a (virtual) walk with your favorite cousin. Plan a break. Taking a break or vacation may seem counterintuitive, but it can offer the best reset when financial stress is overwhelming you. A break doesn’t have to cost money. To be somewhere voluntarily. Help others in need, physically drop off coats at a local animal shelter, offer a ride to someone without transportation, or read to your child’s class. Help. Discover a new hobby. Sign up for a class, watch a YouTube video, or download an app that will teach you something. I recently started taking Spanish classes and watching telenovelas on Netflix. Get some physical exercise. However you can get it in, do it. I mentioned that I joined a running club in January. I ran over 30 miles this year, more than I’ve run since high school. With a plank app, you can walk, ride a horse, or do planks for a few minutes. Book rescheduled appointments. Now is the time to see a chiropractor, massage therapist, or doctor if you’ve put it off due to time constraints.
Ask for help. Contact a trusted professional or a friend and ask them what they would do in your situation. Ask past customers for recommendations. You can send emails to let them know you’re accepting new clients. Offer a discount for the new referral and send a nice referral gift. Look at your systems and processes. If you have a problem with a system, now is a good time to review how the sausage is made and make any necessary adjustments. Market, market, market. Put your services out there. Offer valuable food for thought and always ask about the deal. Connect with aligned professionals. If you’re an estate planner, it’s an idea to meet other attorneys or financial service providers who might be able to get you into business. If you are a real estate attorney, you can talk to brokers and real estate agents to be remembered. Refine your offers. Have you heard that the riches are in the niches? Or is it spies that are sewn up? Either way, give it a try. Start producing content. If you speak, make videos. If you write, blog. If you dance, make a TikTok video. You don’t even have to stick to the topic of your job. Sometimes it’s fun to do something that you can’t attach to anything else. Sign up for professional development. Take a class, read a book, or attend a lecture to learn something new to add to your practice.
I hope you find this exercise helpful the next time you’re feeling uncomfortable about falling sales. Please send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Iffy Ibekwe is the principal counsel for Ibekwe Law, PLLC. She believes women deserve to make decisions that affect them with wills, trusts, and other estate planning documents. Empowering women is Iffy’s calling, and she also loves speaking internationally on entrepreneurship, estate planning, motherhood and supporting other women advocates. Iffy is currently writing her first book on culturally competent estate planning, which will be available in 2023 (prayers up!). A double longhorn, Iffy graduated from the University of Texas (Bachelor and Law) and has been practicing law for over 15 years. Iffy can be reached via email at email@example.com, her website, LinkedIn and Instagram @iffyibekweesq.