I knew I wanted things to change. I just didn’t know what to do next.
I wanted more money coming in, because I had a small team of software developers working with me, and, to be honest, I wanted to pay them and myself.
To do this, I needed bigger jobs. To get bigger jobs, I needed to get more clients. To get more clients, I needed to get out there.
So I went out and started meeting people. And I tried to persuade them that they wanted my services. Because I am good at what I do.
It was awful. I really struggled with it, didn’t enjoy myself and, to make it worse, I was losing money.
But then I had a revelation.
All my clients so far were long-term. It was very rare for me to work with someone who didn’t stay for five years or more.
Why was that?
Because we had a great relationship. We trusted each other. We knew that every decision was made for the right reasons.
So I changed what I said to people.
Instead of trying to get them to say “yes”, I started looking for reasons for me to say “no”.
I asked them questions. Got them to consider the alternatives.
“You can get this cheaper if you choose X”.
“That’s all very well, but it will take me months to get that built for you, you might as well go with company Y, who will get you a system in weeks”.
Because I didn’t want them as a client. Not unless we were a really good fit.
It was astounding. Suddenly I started winning contracts that were ten times the size of my previous work. A lot of people went away and looked at the alternatives that I pointed out. But the ones that stayed had convinced themselves that I was the right person to work with. That we were a good fit together.
Without realising what I had done, I had built myself a sales process. A system, a series of questions and steps to follow, that worked to qualify my enquiries, figure out which ones to follow up with and make sure that we both got the outcome we wanted from it all.
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