This is the classic chicken or the egg scenario. Doing these 3 things will raise the bar immediately and have you stand out from the other 3 vendors your lead is talking with.
For the context of this episode, this is for those that are just starting out, maybe still full-time and looking to go freelance.
This could also be for those trying a new service or piece to their business. Maybe even niching down or specializing your business to where you haven’t had any experience in before.
So many of you in this area find yourself in a chicken or the egg scenario, where you talk about how you have no case studies or portfolio pieces. You don’t have experience because you haven’t done this type of work before.
You find yourself paralyzed because of it. You don’t move forward with anything because you get stuck.
I want to share with you 3 tips that don’t require anything other than a conversation with a client or lead when you don’t have the experience.
Find out why they are talking to you
Unless they are a friend of yours or existing client, there’s some reason for why you are talking with them.
Maybe it was a bad previous engagement.
Maybe someone referred you.
Maybe they found you online and liked what you do, but they are unsure if you can help them because of the business they have.
Whatever it is, find out. Because that will give you a quick insight into what is attractive about you to them.
Simply ask “How did you find out about me?” before starting in on the conversation. Or if during the course of the conversation they seem unsure if you can help, ask “There are a lot of choices out there, and I respect that, may I ask you why you are talking with me about your project?”
Set up the clarity for the lead, make sure they are clear of the problem
Making sure that the lead is fully engaged and clear on what problem they want solving.
Echo back what they are asking you for. State everything that you hear back to them to make sure that there is clarity on what’s being asked for and the goals they want to achieve.
If there’s some level of contention about the project based on a previously bad engagement, be empathetic but state how you work and the benefits to the client of the way you work.
After briefly giving them insight, ask them if that process makes sense to them. Ask them if it aligns with their thinking and the goals that why are looking to achieve.
Get them focused back onto your conversation with them, not thinking about the bad experience they had.
Empathize with them and offer a lower risk opportunity to work together
If there’s still some level of skepticism due to lack of experience, offer them a lower risk opportunity to work together on.
I’m not suggesting discounting your services!
I’m suggesting offering them a phased project, where the initial engagement is a smaller win, lower cost, and quicker timeline.
Then when that engagement is a success (notice I didn’t say “if it’s a success) you talk again about moving forward with a larger piece of the project.
Most of your leads and clients come from word of mouth. Especially when starting out. If you are engaged in conversation, often times they haven’t even looked at a portfolio yet.
There’s a trust factor by proxy since they came to you from someone else that they trust.
You don’t need those portfolio pieces or full website with all the logos and badges.
You simply need to have a conversation that’s focused and has the objective of solving the problem the lead or client has.
That will prove to them that you are thinking strategically and pragmatically about solving their problem when others are stumbling or just trying to close the sale.
Here are some further resources that you'll want to check out that directly relate to the show.
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