Sales over marketing, and other heresy

My friend Matt Church said something a few months ago that has been echoing around my brain ever since.

He said in a practice we prioritise sales over marketing.  

This is definitely a contrarian view. The common wisdom is that marketing is more important (and definitely sexier than sales). Matt was saying that in a thought leader’s practice it's more important to sit down one-on-one with ten people and make your sales pitch than it is to get your ten thousand sets of eyeballs to see your ad or your marketing copy.  

It got me thinking about what else we believe in a practice that’s counterintuitive, contrarian and even heretical.  

Sales over marketing  
In a practice it’s more important to understand a client’s problem, and create a compelling value proposition that you can communicate one-on-one, than it is to get in front of thousands of eyeballs.  

Management over leadership  
Focus on managing and implementing great projects rather than creating a grand vision, mission, and a set of inspirational core values.  

Tactics over strategy  
Plan the next 90 days in detail. Have a loose plan for the next three quarters (we say your plan for a year should fit on four post-it notes). And definitely don’t have a five-year strategic plan. 

Small over big  
A practice is you and one or two support staff, and that’s it. Bigger isn’t always better.  

$1m over $100m  
A successful practice turns over $500k - $1.5M, not $10M or $100M or more. In the scheme of things it’s a modest game, and one that says this is enough rather than always focussing on more.  

Speed over quality  
Not to say we advocate going to market with crap. But the focus is speed rather than perfection. Get it good enough, then launch. It’s all about speed.  

Exertion over passive 
There’s a lot of talk about passive income and how to make money in your pyjamas. We get told to stop trading our time for money. We take the opposite view. This is exertion income – get well paid for doing great work that makes a real difference.  

I have to admit there is part of me that loves being a bit contrarian, and taking a different approach to business as usual.  

I also think if you want a different outcome than what’s usual or ordinary, you need to take a different approach.