Rob Frankel - Branding Expert

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Trick January.

A little while back, I warned you about "the Big Nothing". That's the time between November and the end of the year when everything goes screwy. People prepare for the holidays. They shop. They travel.

They don't return phone calls.

As you may have already experienced, it can be very frustrating trying to run a business amidst all the personal delays. It happens every year, and this year it's happening more intensely than most. November saw a full week of productivity get sucked down the drain due to American Thanksgiving. Before that, most of us had to write off the second half of September and the entire month of October just to recover from the 9/11 attacks.

In Early December, the USA government finally acknowledged what everyone already knew: the American economy had been in a recession since March, 2001.

If you found your business slowing down, you're not alone. But if you had been spending your time planting seeds and marketing your business, you would be smart. And here's why:

First, I realize that while advertising and marketing people tell you to "advertise in the down times", that's not so easy for businesses who have been beaten up all year. When you're hurting for cash flow, it's not fun to cough up big dollars just to watch them float out into the ether.

But the truth is that everyone has that same issue, which means the "clutter" factor is definitely down. The chance of making contact now -- and over this last period -- with real, decision-making contacts is higher when business is slow. I know it has been for me.

Second, if you're reading this, it means that you have integrated the web -- or at the very least e-mail -- into your marketing tactics. And as we all know, e-mail is cheap. If you had been cherry-picking targets and approaching them professionally, you may have found what I'm finding:

Few of these decision makers is saying "no". Almost respondent is saying, "I like it. We need to talk in January." The way I see it, I think everyone is doing what they can to not spend money in fiscal 2001 so that they can preserve what's left of their bottom line. That's a good sign.

So that leaves the rest of December, of which you should be aware of the following:

1. People check out mentally for the holidays.
2. The check-out begins the week before Christmas
3. The week after Christmas is usually surprisingly active -- so stay on your toes.

After that, be aware of Trick January. Trick January is simply the recognition of the fact that nothing happens in the first week of January, either! Even if January 1 falls on a weekend, it generally takes people a week to get their business affairs back up to speed from the winter holidays. Give them the first week to recover. Book your follow up for the second week of January.

Then get ready for a good solid run of business. If you've planted your lead seeds, this is the season where they should be sprouting.

And now, let us pray.......

Rob Frankel

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