That depends. What’s your sales mindset? There are a lot of different ways to think about how you approach and present yourself to the people you may do business with in the future. Today I want to take a closer look at two of them. The first approaches sales by being focused and direct. The second encourages clients to come to you through cultivating education and influence. Which one is right for you?
This approach values being focused and direct in how you ask for a sale. Now, this doesn’t mean walking right up to someone and asking them for work within the first three minutes. Instead, it means creating a scaffold to a frictionless ask within a few conversations.
One of the keys of this approach is being clear about your own motivations and goals. What are your goals? What solutions can you offer that a prospective client needs? And in the same vein, it’s equally important to acknowledge when the person you’re approaching doesn’t need what you have. If you’re selling vacuums and they don’t have any carpet, it’s a waste of both of your time to keep pushing towards a sale. Accept that not everyone needs exactly what you’re providing and move on quickly.
Another key of this focused approach is to qualify a prospect early on. I know from my own experience that you can waste a lot of time on a client whose budget just isn’t big enough to work with you. Don’t be afraid to have a conversation early on to determine if the two of you can conceivably work together.
This focused approach will only work for you if you can get over the awkwardness of asking for a sale. Yes, it can feel a little uncomfortable, especially if you’re not used to it. However, if you can get past that awkwardness (and fear) and go for the ask, you can save time and aggravation for everyone involved.
As a counterpoint to the more direct, focused approach, you may like the idea of someone coming to you a bit better. That’s great! The world is big enough for more than one approach. So how do you get there? It’s all about cultivating a reputation through education and influence.
The key here is to deliver value up front. Get out there, get speaking, educate people. Invest time into finding opportunities to give back. Seek out places to speak. Volunteer your skills and leverage that time and effort into bigger contracts. Set up webinars. Position yourself as an expert who will guide people through the process to the result they want.
I’m going to be honest with you: creating that kind of reputation and influence takes time. It’s not easy. But for the right people it can absolutely be worth it. The more you get out there, the more you’ll start to hear people say, “Hey, I saw you speaking at X, and I heard you say Y. That really resonated with me – I want to engage you in a project.”
Your leads are going to come from the people around you. You can find them by engaging in direct, focused conversation, or by creating the type of value that brings them to you. Commit to the approach that is most in line with your strengths and preferences to start getting your sales.
Need more advice on finding clients? Try the pro group. It’s the best $150/month you’ll spend in your career.