S01 E05 – Simple process to convert 50% of first time projects into a second one

 

The simple 3-step process to convert 50% of first-time projects, into second projects.

Scope creep is your best friend. Don’t let anyone else tell you differently.

When scope creep enters into the project, instead of trying to completely avoid it, use the process that I lay out for you in the episode to track it instead.

Does this keep us on track with what we set out to accomplish?

This is the quick and easy answer to any scope creep that happens.

In this episode, you’ll learn more about why this works and what the 3 steps are, but your job as a professional freelancer is to provide solutions for your clients. That means paying attention to any and all requests and then address them when and where appropriate.

These requests will undoubtedly turn into new opportunities for more work.

EPISODE TAKE AWAY

Create a page in your notebook for every project
When a client asks for a request that is out of scope, write it down. Write the context in which it occurred, the reason for the request, and what the stage of the project it happened in.
Schedule out an email to happen 75 days after the project ends to discuss all these points.

Important Mentions in the Episode

Asana

Transcript

In this episode, you are going to learn my process for finding new work in old projects.

I’ve been using this process for a decade and convert over 50% of past clients into a second project.

And today you will learn why scope creep is your best friend and the process to use scope creep to create new opportunities for projects.

You’ve heard the expression that it’s easier to sell to existing customers than to new customers, right?

It’s something that’s been said in business for years and years because quite honestly it’s true. It’s easier to sell an existing client because they already trust you and they have already paid you.

This episode is all about how to go about finding new projects with current or past clients. Simply put you are going to learn where the opportunities are, how to create them if they aren’t currently there, and how you can land these projects on a consistent basis.

In the last episode, you learned about how to set up a proven process to leverage your referrals to be able to get the type of clients you want.

The reason why is simply because you are already doing it, you are already getting referrals so why not double down on what’s working with a formal process.

Well, in a very similar way in this episode you will learn how to set up a system to be able to reach out and grab opportunities in old projects to land new work.

Why?! Because you are already working on projects, right? They are successful projects, right? That’s pretty key here.

Time to take notice of a few certain aspects of a project as well as particular clients and formalize a process around it to be able to get new work from old projects.

If you are like me, then you think selling sucks. But you know you have to do it in order to have a successful business.

What if I were to say to you if you could sell once to get the first project but then not have to sell again, but still get project after project after project?

You’d probably say that I was nuts.

See, I’m not talking recurring revenue, although this is something I talk about often.

What I’m talking about here is you get a client and do a project for them. The project goes to completion, you get sign off and away you both go in your separate ways.

Then some period of time passes and you reach out to that client and ask if they have another project for you to work on. Or better yet, you suggest a project that they need you to work on.

Only this time it’s much easier to convince them because you’ve already had one successful project so they know you are good at what you do.

There’s no convincing them by way of sending them past projects or trying to sell them on case studies you have. They know, like, and trust you already.

So they hire you again.

Then that project goes to completion and the cycle repeats.

Wouldn’t that be awesome!?

Of course it would. That’s where you’ll find, just like I did, that scope creep is your best friend.

Scope creep, in case you haven’t heard that term before, is where there are changes to a project’s scope after the project has already started.

Now there may be instances where there is a change in scope and it’s needed, but this is where it is uncontrolled and continues to grow the scope of work.

Most folks on the web will talk about how to eliminate scope creep. Or how scope creep is a project’s worse nightmare. Or how to prevent scope creep altogether.

I call BS on all that! Anyone who’s saying these sorts of things, I am willing to bet that they have no system in place to be able to manage scope creep to create opportunities for more work later on.

Here’s what I mean by that.

Before working with a client on a project, I have lengthy discussions with them on the scope of work. I want to be able to define as much of the scope of work as possible. Making sure it’s inline with their business goals and timelines and budget.

Once everything is settled then we sign off and get the ball rolling on the project.

As we move forward with the project, of course things will popup that are out of scope of the current project. Instead of pushing it aside, I file it.

I use Asana as my internal project management system.

I have a section of tasks defined as Backlog. In there I will keep track of all the items that would normally be defined as scope creep. I make some notes with each one so I have context of the request, timing, and possible discussion points that were had around it.

Then we continue on our way with the project.

I’m sure you are wondering how I respond to these requests and it’s usually always the same.

“Does this keep us on track with what we set out to accomplish?”

I try and re-focus the thoughts around the project to ensure that no matter what, we stay on track.

If it so happens that this scope creep is necessary, then we have the difficult conversation around the project’s deadline, cost, and the impact it has on other aspects of the project.

But most times it’s something that was thought of as a “nice-to-have” or something that is legitimately needed but not right now.

These are the ones that I virtually star so that I can come back to them later on.

Then once the project wraps up, we usually have some sort of hand off discussion and I would bring up some of these items there. Just to refresh their memory and see their reaction.

If the reaction is one where they light up and want to get it done, then that’s what I’m looking for. However if it’s one that’s more like “yes, that’s something we want to do but not right now” then I just put it back in my pocket for later on. If it’s a reaction of complete dismissal, then I may just remove it from the Backlog altogether.

Then as we part ways, I make sure to schedule an email to go out about 3 months later. Just asking them for 15 minutes of their time to catch up and see how everything is doing.

This is a casual call with no pressure. But rest assured that during the second half of that call I will ask them about struggles they have or if something that I starred is something they’d like to explore further.

Over the years of doing just this alone, I’ve converted over half of those first follow-up calls into more work from a past client.

Some items of note here that I want to point out to you:
1. Make sure that this is a client that you want to work with again. For obvious reasons.
2. Pay close attention to things that the client says during a project. Even the simplest things can turn into more work.
3. Once you hand the project off, put it on your calendar or even schedule the email to send off 75 days from then to set up a time to chat with them. This way you don’t have to remember later on.

Another way to do this is to set up in your email marketing system a past client campaign.

This is easy to setup to send an email off to past clients every couple of weeks. Talking about things that were left in the backlog, new service offerings that you have, even share events and conferences that you are going to.

This will keep you front of mind with them, so that when it does come time for the call, it’s not something out of the blue.

In fact, you’ll also gain some insight into what’s of interest to them as well. Maybe even find out that they have a completely new project for you.

The action steps for you are simple.

Pull out a notebook every time you are working on a specific project. Make a page for each project you are working on.

Then when the time comes, and it will, when your client thinks of adding something to the project, make note of it.

Then when you wrap up your project, even if you haven’t written a single thing down, schedule out an email to send off 75 days from the day you end, either by putting it into your calendar or using a scheduling tool in your email.

Why 75? Well, ideally you want to have that call inside 90 days. If you are staying front of mind by way of a post-project email campaign that’s great. But if not, then by the time you get to 90, that client may have really put you in the rearview mirror.

The sweet spot for someone to buy from you is 90 days from the point of contact. Don’t let them get too far out away from you. Remember all that hard work you did the first time around in getting them as a client? Don’t let that fall by the wayside.

In the next episode, we’ll jump right into talking about everyone’s favorite topic, tools. And which ones you should have in order for you to set up your sales team.

It’s your time to Live In The Feast.