Avoid the Dead Zone By Adopting 'Recruit Daily or Perish'

Avoid the Dead Zone By Adopting 'Recruit Daily or Perish'
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Raising $30,000 in 30 days via Kickstarter -- how am I doing this? That's the $30,000 question. The answer is by pushing through the dead zone.

Let me explain, because it revolves around one simple phrase, and your business is in this story as well. In a crowdfunding campaign, the zone between 50 to 75 percent funded is commonly referred to as the dead zone. We just cleared the toughest part, which is moving past the 50 to 60 percent funded benchmark. As you’re reading this, we’ve raised $20,000 of our goal.

The dead zone is aptly named. It’s when the initial buzz has subsided, you’ve probably tapped out a lot of your initial contacts and media attention hasn’t kicked in yet. You’ve probably experienced the dead zone in your business just after the startup phase or right after the beginning of a new product launch.

Related: Shake Things Up and Keep Business Stagnation at Bay

What do you do? Examine the cause. Most of the time dead zones or lulls in our sales occur because of inactivity. If you’re in a lull or not getting the results you want, you’ve got to double down.

The question and the promise

Years ago, my mentor introduced me to a concept called RDOP, which stands for “recruit daily or perish.” When I first became a head coach I was essentially a staff of one and responsible for all the recruiting. As my staff grew over the years I became more like a CEO and found myself managing more and recruiting less.

If you've moved out of startup mode this probably sounds quite familiar. I called my mentor one time to complain about the state of affairs my team was in and he asked one simple question: “What did you do to build your program today?” I didn’t have an intelligent answer.

It was at this time that I made the promise to myself that no matter how busy I was or where my travels took me, I would recruit daily. Even if on some days that meant only making one recruiting call, it became a non-negotiable no matter what. (My wife was less than impressed when I called my top prospect from the delivery room of the hospital shortly before our daughter was born.)

You don’t have to be a coach to recruit. Everybody recruits and everybody hits a dead zone at one point or another in their business. Coaches recruit athletes, firms recruit employees, sales people recruit clients, entrepreneurs recruit investors and crowdfunders recruit backers. If you’re not doing it daily or not getting the results you want, don’t be surprised if you stay stuck in the dead zone.

Living by the motto of “recruit daily or perish” made my college lacrosse program grow. When I retired from coaching and became the manager of an ESPN Radio affiliate it made our revenue grow. Fast forward to today, it has made my Kickstarter campaign push through the dead zone.

Make the promise to recruit daily. It will do these five things for your business:

1. Reinforcement of purpose

Why are you in business? To make sales and raise revenue. Sales are the points on your scoreboard and by committing to that non-negotiable daily activity it reinforces your purpose. During my Kickstarter campaign I make 20 contacts a day no matter what.

Related: 6 Tips to Build a Business That Will Last Decades

2. Dominant focus

When your employees see you “recruiting” daily or see you publicly praising the custodian for keeping the facility spotless to make a better first-impression on prospective clients, it’s like the shot heard ‘round the company. Everyone quickly understands recruiting is mission critical at all levels of the company and must be everyone’s dominant focus. Everyone recruits, even the custodian and the groundskeeper.

3. Finger on the pulse

If you don’t recruit daily, you lose touch with your customer base (I don’t care if you have a sales manager, you need to get out there too.). It's market research, public relations and client retention all rolled into one. Customers will tell the owner things they won’t tell the sales person. I’ve seen it happen time and time again with clients.

4. Adversity to advantage

The adversity of getting rejected out on the road or over the phone can help you discover new solutions and creative opportunities to grow.

5. Growth

Plain and simple, it’s what every entrepreneur is seeking by the ton. Recruiting daily is like an insurance policy to prevent perishing in your business. I have coaching clients complain all the time that their sales people are underperforming. My first recommendation is to go walk a mile in their shoes before we discuss it again.

By going on the road with your sales reps you get a lot of windshield time to talk to them, get to know them better and understand the unique challenges they face. It also enables you to help them make more sales. In the process you’ll find that it’s not as easy as you think.

How do you reinforce RDOP? Advertise it, to yourself and to your entire company. I have RDOP printed on my screen saver, iPhone case, dashboard and landline receiver. It’s become a reminder I can’t avoid seeing no matter where I go. So let me ask you the same question my mentor asked me: What did you do to grow your business today?

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