Mid job, next job
A classic problem for many sales people is we get increasingly busy working on today’s project, job or campaign. All our concentration is focused on the ‘today’. We then get to the end of the project or campaign and think ‘oops, what’s next?’ We are now in the dreaded ‘feast-famine’ mode lurching from peak to trough to peak to trough. Often we exacerbate this by chasing after more new clients because the business has gone quiet.
What I recommend is that part way through your project, job or campaign for a client that you start to sow seeds for a future project with that client. Typically it’s 5-6 times easier to get more work from an existing client than from a new prospective client. Your primary role is to complete this current project but there is also an important secondary role to sniff out that next project. I’d suggest somewhere around 50-70% of the way through is a good time and ideally when the client is starting to see the results and benefits of your work. They can hopefully see you do great work so therefore their risk is quite minimal. Work will often convert quicker for an existing client than a totally new one.
In conversation with your client ask open questions and get curious about their other business challenges and problems and ambitions. Perhaps share a case study about work you have done with another client who had a specific problem, ‘is that also a problem for you?’ Quite often clients pigeon-hole you and will then say about your case study ‘I didn’t know you did that!’
Think about ‘pain’ and ‘gain’ for the client. Find out their pain, challenges or problems and also find out about their aspirations and ambitions. If you worry about being seen as ‘salesy’ this approach is definitely not salesy. This is helping your client, not selling to your client! Look for opportunities to have these seemingly innocent conversations with your clients about their business. These are a wonderful opportunity to sow future seeds of work.
So next time you are entangled in a project for a client, take some time to think about how else you could help this client.
I’ve studied what the most successful sales teams and trusted advisers do to grow and also what the least successful do to stay stuck. In my workshops I share the gold nuggets I’ve learnt to transform your business’s profitability and productivity. Can I help take your business to the next level?