We’ve been covering how to convert a pitch into a sale. So far we’ve covered spec work, small jobs, following up & objection handling. Now I want to ask a key question: should you persuade a potential client?
My answer is no.
Let me make myself clear. Everything you do as part of your pitch and your chasing should and is part of a persuasive process. From adding a nice logo to your word document to wearing a nice suit in the meeting.
Horse + water =popular phrase
When I say you shouldn’t persuade a client, I’m talking about those clients who are sitting on an edge, they have gone through the process, they have read your pitch, they have you on the phone, but they still aren’t sure. This is usually nothing to do with you, more than often than not its that they have to persuade themselves.
So give them a push?
The reason I say not to push them is what happens when you go ahead on a project with a client who isn’t fully motivated. If someone goes in not fully sure then there’s a much higher chance they’ll get “buyer’s remorse” and the first small blip suddenly becomes a big problem. It’s quite natural that there will be a some small hiccups in the “getting to know you” phase, but when you have a client who wasn’t completely convinced to begin with, then this can instantly endanger the entire project from the off.
They key thing to remember with all prospecting is that you have no control over 90% of it. You can’t control a clients budget, past experiences, prejudices, working style. You can’t control if they had a bad break up the night before they read your pitch. You can’t control if your pitch is bottom of the list of 4 and they read it at the end of the day. You can only submit a good pitch, make sure you follow up enough to get a firm answer and then let them go.
When I was prospecting I divided everyone into suspects, prospects and work. What was surprising is the amount of times that a prospect would go cold, months would pass, they would be moved down to suspects and then out of the blue I’d get a call saying they wanted to go ahead. I used to actively tell my prospects 1. If they weren’t interested just say so, and 2. If they weren’t 100% sure then come back to me when they were.