Last night, while rocking out to Pink Floyd’s iconic “Another Brick In The Wall”, one lyric in particular lodged itself in that part of my brain that never stops thinking about sales and marketing:
“If you don’t eat yer meat, you can’t have any pudding. How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat yer meat?”
Before you go thinking I’ve totally lost my marbles, allow me to explain.
In the movie version of The Wall, the lyric pertains to the schoolmaster yelling at children that they must finish their meal before they can have dessert (“pudding” is a general British slang term meaning any dessert).
Most parents in the United States probably apply the same rule to their own children. My upbringing was no different: No dessert before dinner.
This frames a really nice analogy for how we have to view the growth of our tax practices: Marketing activities must precede getting new clients.
I’m going to take this weird analogy a step further. If you sit down for a nice dinner at a restaurant, your meal normally progresses in this order: Appetizer, salad, entree, dessert.
Our new client acquisition activities essentially follow this same pattern. Appetizers are the visitors to our web sites, the names on our tax lien mailing lists, the folks listening to our radio spots. When these individuals raise their hand to request information from us, they become a lead, which is our salad. Once they then progress to actually speaking with us — an actual consultation — they become a prospect, and we get to eat our meat. Once they engage your services and pay you money, we get our dessert — a delicious new client.
This entire chain of events, commonly referred to as a sales funnel, is the sequence you must lead all clients down. Some clients will advance down your sales funnel much faster than others, and some will never make it to dessert. Some folks will never make it to the salad or entree. Heck, some people will walk into the restaurant, look at the decor or the menu, and turn around and leave without even sitting down for our appetizer.
Just as a restaurant needs to engage in marketing activities to even get people to step foot in the door, we must also always be doing marketing activities to get web visitors…phone calls…inquiries. In fact, lead generation is one of your most important jobs as a practice owner.
Also, just as their are multiple appetizers on the menu, so must you be engaged in multiple lead generation methods. Businesses that rely exclusively on ONE lead generation method are eventually doomed to failure. Sure, things might go well for a while, but things happen. Case in point: When the FTC expanded the scope of the Telemarketing Sales Rule and implemented special rules for debt relief companies, it killed many, many companies overnight. In fact, it was almost the death of many big tax resolution companies, but a temporary ruling exempting tax debt from the new rules (still in effect last time I checked) saved their skin.
So back to the original question posed in the title: What happens to the pudding? Meaning, what happens to the pudding if you don’t eat your meat, and thus get your pudding?
Well, the pudding gets eaten by somebody else, or thrown out entirely. It’s a travesty to not get your pudding. If you’re not engaging in the marketing activities necessary to get new clients, then you are abdicating those clients to your competition. Worse yet, there are people that desperately need your help in one way or another, that simply won’t ever receive it, because you never offered them an appetizer.
You can’t have any pudding if you don’t start the whole process at it’s natural beginning. Get to work on those appetizers, because that’s where the meal starts.