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Extraordinary times call for extraordinary effort

Six months into the pandemic, with so many economic and social factors still beyond business control, it’s not unreasonable for print service providers, brokers, buyers, and marketers to feel frustrated and stymied.

Sure, there are things you can do while in a holding pattern—for example, strengthen your customer relationships, update marketing plans, review branding, and so on. But how can anyone know what will actually move the needle on sales?

There’s one factor within your control that could be more useful than you might expect. Further, it’s available to everyone: applying extraordinary effort to everything you do.

We learn in youth sports that results are directly proportional to effort, but it’s easy to forget that, especially when you’ve gotten things done for a long time with a standard amount of effort (you haven’t really faced a formidable opponent).

However, sales trainer Grant Cardone writes in his book The 10X Rule that tough times are exactly when extraordinary effort can make the most difference. When other businesses scale back, he recommends applying over-the-top (“10 times normal”) effort, which he refers to as massive action, to differentiate you from everyone around you.

This means setting goals that are 10 times higher than anyone else’s, then doing 10 times more than you think it will take to accomplish them. Lest this come across as Pollyannaish thinking, consider that one of the most successful business people in history—John D. Rockefeller—made his fortune by ramping up his efforts during economic downturns while others hunkered down.

Similarly, during the 2008 recession, Cardone writes that he ratcheted up staffing and marketing at his sales training business. He significantly boosted client contacts and the production of new training materials and programs. As a result, while his competitors cut spending and put projects on hold, he increased his company’s market share.

When you think about it, the global pandemic is bigger by many factors than anything most businesses have faced before—it stands to reason that surviving and thriving requires thinking that’s way beyond average, plus a level of action that’s equally extreme.

As an exercise, at least, think about the business areas within your control, where you could exponentially multiply your effort, for example:

·      Customer engagement and education

·      Customer service (exceed customer expectations by a factor of 10)

·      Your contribution to your community

·      Sales calls (make 10 times as many sales calls)

·      New business development

·      Marketing

·      Product improvements (make your product or service at least 10 times better than anyone else’s)

Consider what might happen if you were 10 times more focused and made 10 times better use of your time, resources, and tools, such as your business platforms, software, and customer interfaces.

The extraordinary effort might not make you a John D. Rockefeller, but it takes much more than typical thinking and action to get through extraordinary times.

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