To the average self-employed professional, following up with prospective clients feels awkward or even scary. You hate making phone calls that might not be welcome. You think you might be pestering people. You worry about being rejected. You aren’t sure what to say. After all, how many times can you ask, “Are you ready for us to work together?”
I get it. My clients and students share concerns like these with me all the time. I’ve even had them myself.
When you think about following up, does it seem fun to you, or does it seem more like a hassle, a should, or something you wish you wanted to do? Surprisingly — or perhaps not so surprisingly — following up is something that quite a few of us don’t love doing. What if there was a way to make it fun? Read on for ideas on how to follow up in ways that actually sound good to you!
Do It with a Buddy
Pick one of your favorite people to buddy up with and hold each other accountable. Rather than thinking of it as work, think up a fun name for the time you spend together (virtually or in person). For example, you can say things like, “How’s the alligator wrestling going?”
It’s the time of year when we self-employed professionals often begin to look back at what we’ve accomplished in our business over the last twelve months, and judge our progress and results against what we intended back in January. What frequently results from a process like this is a catalog of everything you haven’t done, or have done wrong. But I believe it’s even more important to consider what you’ve done right this year.
My new client “Rhoda” had looked over her past year’s results and was feeling discouraged when we had our first coaching session. She’d hoped to get 10 new graphic design clients this year.
“I don’t know how to market,” one of my coaching clients said. “I hate marketing,” declared another. “The marketing thing feels so unnatural to me,” claimed a third.
My response to statements like these from my clients is to reply (gently and compassionately), “I don’t think that’s true. I think you’ve just misunderstood what marketing is, and how it works.”
When You Think You Don’t Know How to Market
When it comes to having a sales conversation, you may find yourself melting into a puddle. You might hear yourself say things like, “What’s the big deal about asking people to do business with me? I know it’s just a conversation between two people, and that people don’t bite, so why can’t I seem to do it? I wish I could just get over myself.”
There are two fallacies that contribute to these inner critic conversations; understanding these lies can be a lifesaver because only then can you get over yourself and become the sales pro you’re meant to be.
Do you love your business but hate the selling part? Whether it’s calling prospective clients on the phone or writing persuasive emails and web copy, most self-employed professionals say that selling is the element of their business they dislike the most.
If it was possible to sell without having that feeling of discomfort in your gut, or those sweaty palms and increased heart rate, would you be willing to make a change?