After you market your services, you’ll need to send a proposal to your prospects.
I previously wrote about the three main types of marketing you’ll need to accomplish, and I also mentioned that the marketing cycle should never stop if you hope to stay in business for the long haul.
But, let’s say that you’ve embarked into the various types of marketing that I’ve mentioned (or others).
What do you do with the emails, the phone numbers, those leads you’ve acquired?
Well actually, the next step you’ll need to take after you market and acquire your leads is to build a relationship with them that develops trust and gives you the right to ask for their business.
But, we’re not going to get into that step in this article. Right now, we’re going to jump ahead a step or two and discuss what to do when you’re facing the next progression of your relationship with your prospects.
Specifically, we’re going to take a look at the emotions you might be feeling when it’s time to take the next step, but you’re scared out of your mind to pull the trigger.
Okay, so maybe you’re not scared out of your mind, but you still might experience a bit of hesitation to move forward.
Why is that?
Why would you drag your feet in moving forward towards turning your prospect into a committed client after all of the hard work it took for you to gain their attention and earn their trust?
There’s a couple of common reasons I’d like to present:
Asking For New Business Might Feel Slimy
Most marketers have a schizophrenic relationship with marketing and closing deals. We know that we need to do it in order to earn money and stay in business. We understand that companies need to sell us products and services in order to provide us with our needs while they generate revenue.
Yet, marketers are human, and like most humans, we have the tendency to turn up our noses at the marketing and sales process.
Point blank, we often hate selling because we understand that slimy feeling we often get when we’re being sold to!
Because the word sales is often (and sadly) associated with the word slimy, we often don’t seize opportunities to develop our sales skills, and as Mark Evans points out in a Forbes article, selling and closing deals aren’t skill sets that comes naturally to us.
Think about it: Most of us were raised to believe that it’s rude to intrude on someone’s space or to push too hard to try to persuade someone. We don’t want to be perceived as rude or ignorant, so we stay on our polite path of least resistance.
As a marketer, being polite equates to taking a passive stance, dreaming of clients who magically understand that they need us, and are eager to blow up our email accounts with their credit card numbers, and desperate pleas for a contract to sign.
If only, right?
Let’s take a look at another reason why you’re dragging your feet like Fred Flintstone driving his car when it comes to proposing your services to new clients
Imposter Syndrome A.K.A. Perfectionism
Okay, so what happens when you propose your services to a prospect and they agree to sign your contract?
They’ll actually expect you to be as good as you say you are!
And, what happens if you’re not quite as good as you’ve advertised? What happens if you choke, and fail? What happens if like someone else’s work better than yours?
What happens if you get sick, your computer crashes, your office (or home) catches on fire, or the world comes to a sudden end?!!?
Well, first, if the world comes to an end, then you’ll never have to worry about disappointing your clients ever again!
Seriously though, your mind can invent a plethora of reasons why you’re not good enough. You can allow that creative mind of yours run wild, inventing reasons why things are going to fall apart.
But, at the end of the day, if you have any hopes of gaining confidence, then you’re going to have to put yourself out there to either succeed, or fail.
I love what Ignacio Nieto Carvajal shared when he discussed his freelancing fears:
You shouldn’t be afraid of not being good enough. Let me tell you something: there is always going to be someone better than you, always.
You don’t need to be the best developer (or writer, or graphical artist, or whatever you do), but you do need to work hard to improve your skills. You have to make sure to keep up with the latest trends and technologies of your profession, keep on learning and recycling your skills, and acquire new ones that would add value to your services.
I do really believe that, if you spend enough time and dedication in something, you will eventually be good at it.
Okay, so now we’ve looked at a couple of the most common reasons why you’re stifling your progress by not proposing your services. Let’s take a look at some solutions that will get you on your way to flexing your creative muscles, generating incomes, and in general, enjoying your life!
1. Detach From The Outcome
Despite our best efforts, there will be plenty of times when things happen beyond our control. Maybe a prospect likes what you have to say, but unforeseen changes in their budget, their operating scheme or their lives can affect whether or not they sign our contracts.
Having said this, we can do everything possible to stack the deck in our favor.
For example, you can address issues like speed or quality when you use a professional proposal template, such as the one that Bidsketch offers. You won’t have to spend anxious hours wondering if your proposal structure is correct, if it looks professional enough, if it hits all the key points, etc.
And, you’ll have an easier time accepting the fact that you’ve done all you can do to close your deal. Sometimes they’ll close, and sometimes they won’t, but at least you gave it your all.
You can take pride in yourself for that.
2. Foster A Relationship With Your Prospect
Again, I’m going to largely skip over this step in this article, but I will mention that there’s plenty of ways to foster a relationship with a prospective client.
You can develop and maintain emails. In fact, they’re the primary source of information that decision makers digest. They also do a great job of humanizing your sales process by allowing your prospect to digest your thoughts about your company, your product, or your service.
Most important, you can use emails to answer the “What’s in this for me?” question.
In addition to starting email marketing campaigns, I like to use Skype calls or video sessions. I feel that my sales process is humanized all the more when my prospects can see my face, or at least hear my voice.
I want the process to feel real to them on a mental and emotional level. Because, let’s face it:
Most of us make business decisions based upon our emotions, right?
Here’s something else that I like to do: I’ll ask my prospects for 15 minutes of their time on the phone…as in a land-line telephone.
I know, I know, how 20th century of me, but here’s my logic:
Everyone has 15 minutes to spare. If I can get an in with my prospect for 15 minutes, then I’ve taken a large step in humanizing the process. And, the phone calls often run longer than 15 minutes, but that’s up to the prospect.
At the very least, I’m not making them feel forced to carve out ridiculous amounts of time out of their already busy day to speak with me!
3. Change The Perception
Let’s revisit the point about sales feeling slimy.
That’s how most people feel about the process, but the good news is that you can change that perception!
One way you can prime your prospects to perceive you in the right way is to ask them the right sort of questions. Or, as the marketing team at Quickbooks advices:
Selling is all about asking really good questions, not about being a savvy “pitchman” for your product or service.
You bring great value to customers by asking them questions that get them to realize that there may be unintended consequences they haven’t considered or other ways of dealing with business challenges they wouldn’t have figured out on their own.
Learn how to ask the right questions (buying questions) instead of simply beating the prospect over the head with reasons why they should hire you!
Instead, get inside their head. Learn what’s missing. Figure out the questions they’re just dying to be asked. Then, be the person who anticipates the questions and answers them.
Proposing your services can be scary. If you take the steps to propose, then you will be judged, and you might be rejected. But, when you think about all that you have to gain, isn’t marketing fear something that’s worth overcoming?
How many proposals are you sending out for the rest of the month?
*First photo courtesy of LinkedIn