If you've never had a formal, written Individual Marketing Plan (IMP) --or just never had success completing one, try this:
Just Set Small Goals!
1. Don't set goals that are too big even if you feel very enthusiastic about them.
It's great to be eager, but it is far more important that the plan is realistic so there won't be unnecessary barriers to achieving it.
Start off slowly.
If, for instance, you're thinking, "I'll meet with one client or prospect per week for lunch," well, while that only means 4 per month, realize that this is a huge goal if there are currently zero taking place on a regular basis.
You probably won't hit this lofty goal, then you'll feel guilty and dump the whole plan. I see it all the time. It's too much habit to change all at once.
Instead, just start with a smaller goal of 1 or 2 per month.
2. Build slowly so you can get into a routine of scheduling and developing conversation so these lunches are as productive as possible.
Starting with a small goal makes a lot more sense when you realize what is involved in accomplishing your goal: effective communications with people who have the influence to use your services.
Fact is, the time commitment isn't just the lunch. The devil is in the details. The goal includes personally scheduling the lunch and -- if you do the meeting right -- 20-30 minutes reacquainting yourself with the client's file and reading the latest First Research profile on their industry before your meeting.
The QUALITY is far more important than the quantity of your marketing efforts. Don't skip this PREP-WORK.
After maintaining your pace for a couple months, then try adding another.
Yeah, it's simple psychology, but by setting yourself up for some small "wins," you'll end up feeling much better about your planning time and marketing effort.
3. This is so important...make sure you identify, up-front, exactly who you'll call and when.
Don't just plan "go to lunch with one client per month" and file that away. What is it that you can put into your Outlook?
"Call some client sometime this month"??
When, exactly, do you think you'll get around to thinking about who it makes the most sense to ask? Well, you won't.
Each month comes and goes because it takes too much time and energy to think about it on the fly.
So, what do you do? Procrastinate. You'll think about it later, right? Wrong.
Don't feel bad. We all do it.
Define your plan thoroughly the day you make it. Think through the details of the goal on the front-end! Decide who will be Jan, Feb, etc. Even go so far as to put their phone number on the plan itself. Then you'll have no reason to procrastinate.
Try it, it works.