“So that’s what I have to offer you, Mr. Prospect. What do you think?”
“Well, Ms. Professional, I’d like to think about it.”
“Okay, may I call you next week?”
Does this dialogue sound at all familiar? Yet another sales conversation is ending with a stall from the prospective client. Is he actually interested in hiring you, or was that just a polite way to say no? What exactly is it that he wants to think about?
You’ll often hear me say that the secret to finding clients is to make effective choices about what to do to market your business, then do those things over and over. While that advice is absolutely true, implementing it sometimes runs into some roadblocks.
What happens when you deliver what you think is a dynamite 10-second introduction, but your prospective clients don’t seem impressed? Or you have several lunches with potential referral partners that seem to go well, but no business results from them?
We self-employed professionals are constantly faced with difficult choices about how to best grow our businesses. Should I pursue this line of business or that one? Would it serve me better to choose Niche A or Niche B? Shall I spend my time building a relationship with Client X or Client Y?
Often, these questions hinge on what we perceive as the most desirable result. If we value potential earnings more highly, we select a course of action that will lead to more money. If we are more concerned with our personal fulfillment, we follow a path that we believe will be more satisfying.
I know you have good intentions about marketing your business. You may even have a pretty good marketing plan. But if you’re a typical self-employed professional, you don’t always follow through on the intentions or plans you make.
Sometimes you get busy with client work. Paying business is a good thing, of course. But if you stop marketing completely while you focus on your clients, you’ll have no business waiting for you when the work ends.
No matter how many emails you send out, how much time you spend on social media, or how many networking events you attend, you still need to pick up the phone sometimes and call potential clients.
As a self-employed professional selling your own services, you may believe that you feel uncomfortable about calling prospective clients on the phone because you’re not a “real” salesperson. But studies reveal that 40-90% of experienced, full-time salespeople still have episodes of call reluctance at times.
The good news is that the fear or resistance you experience about making calls doesn’t have to be permanent. Research also indicates that for 95% of people who are reluctant to make sales calls, their fear subsides once they make contact. If you stop avoiding the calls and start making them, there is a very good chance that you will feel better once you start talking to someone.
Do you find yourself resisting sales and marketing at times? Or all the time? The impact of feeling resistant can be subtle. If you don’t like marketing or selling, don’t feel like you should have to do it, or just plain don’t want to do it, those activities often slide lower on your to-do list without you consciously noticing. You may tell yourself you are too busy, decide other tasks are more important, or conveniently avoid looking at your to-do list until the day is over. The result is that your marketing doesn’t get done.
But most of the time, repeatedly avoiding what is difficult is much harder than facing it head on and doing it.