Let me tell you a story: Years ago, while having lunch with a friend, I spotted a potential referral source I wanted to meet, dining at another table. He’d been profiled in a local magazine recently and I had long wanted to make his acquaintance. I gestured for the waitress and said, “Can you find out what he’s drinking?” indicating that I wanted to send over a drink. Upon receiving the drink he politely nodded his thanks to me, no doubt puzzled about who I was. I went over to his table, stuck out my hand and said, “I just read an article about you and I’d like to introduce myself.” We started talking and in the brief conversation that ensued, he invited me to a fundraiser he was hosting. I accepted his invitation and we’ve been friends ever since.

That’s how you think and act like a marketer. When serendipity presents you with an opportunity, you capitalize on it. And when serendipity doesn’t present you with an opportunity, you create it.

Today I want to talk about how to create fundamental new habits to help you think and act like a marketer. New thinking equals new clients.

Let me tell you another story of a woman who thought differently about where to open her office: When Susan, a family law attorney in North Florida and long time Atticus® client, left her old firm to open her own practice, she didn’t bring many clients with her. As an inexperienced marketer, she was understandably anxious about how she’d find new clients. Through clever positioning, however, her future clients would find her. After considering all her options, Susan opened her new office next to a popular day care center frequented by young professionals. If you know anything about the demographics of divorcing couples — and Susan definitely does – you know that divorce among parents with small children is unfortunately very common. That those busy working parents had to pass her office every day on their way to pick up their kids was a brilliant form of passive marketing. Her convenient new location did half the marketing for her.

Both of these stories illustrate the point that to think like a marketer, it helps to be some what creative. My willingness to introduce myself to a stranger was made possible by the fact I’d read about him and targeted him as an influencer long before we met. Without the nuggets of information I’d read, I wouldn’t have had any common ground to venture out upon. Likewise, Susan could have opened her office in a building full of attorneys. It would have been the expected thing to do and she agonized over her decision before committing herself. Fortunately for her, she saw beyond what was expected and made an out-of-the-box decision that plunked her down in the path of future clients.

Creativity can come in the form of spontaneous urges, but often it’s backed-up by a great deal of thought and preparation.

To prepare yourself to maximize your marketing opportunities, do two things. First, take time to review your referral source list each week. Second, while you do this, ask yourself the question: Who should I cultivate this week?

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