If you can’t close sales, you won’t be in business or keep your sales job for long.
This may be a tech-driven world, but there is still power in landing deals by investing in relationships. If you’re an entrepreneur just starting out, you’re going to have to put extra effort into convincing clients they should work with you. I recently landed a client seven months after meeting him at a networking event. With persistence, and extra effort, I eventually succeeded. Here’s what I’ve learned.
- Go to the right events. I am a big fan of in-person networking and going to the right type of events. If you’re trying to get clients for high-ticket items or services, go to events where the decision-makers might be. In my case, I want to meet CEOs or marketing directors of smaller to midsize companies. Those people are probably not going to be at a start up event.
- Give tons of value upfront. Don’t be afraid of spending time on creating proposals or giving free advice. See it as an investment in building the relationship. For the client I mentioned above, I drafted two proposals and had countless calls throughout seven months. When the company was finally ready to hire me, the relationship was already established and they understood I would do a good job for them.
- Go the extra mile. Sometimes you do things that are not scalable in order to close the sale. In this case, I traveled four hours–wiping out a full day of work–just so I could personally meet with the decision-makers. Two weeks later they signed the contract. I don’t think it would have happened, at least not as quickly, on the phone or through an email exchange.
- Be flexible. Especially if you are starting out, you might have to do some custom work for bigger clients to close the deal. That’s okay, because it increases the chance they’ll stay with you for the long-term. During an in-person meeting I had with a potential client, it came up that they would need special reports. I hadn’t done them for any of my other clients, but I decided to add the product–at an additional cost. I think my flexibility sealed the deal, as my competitors didn’t offer the custom reports.