It is pretty easy to obtain more follow-up business with your current clients, but the big question is: how to garner your first project with a new client. Having worked with high-achieving women for over fifteen years, here is what I have used to get new customers – Prospect’s Initial Experience. If you are a person who likes acronym – it is PIE.
The most powerful force in any type of employment, whether contract (i.e., outsourcing or hiring a consultant), is the trust cycle.
So for me the trust cycle works like this: 1) Produce outstanding work; which will 2) Enhance the trust factor (know, like and trust), and that leads to 3) More larger and lucrative projects over a period of time.
Let’s unfold the trust cycle for a moment.
1. If you start your conversations with a high level of trust, then moving the prospect directly into a large project initially is fairly easy.
2. If your starting point with a new prospect is moderate or low trust, one strategy to capture a large, initial project is to bolster the confidence in your company and what you offer. While this strategy is mandatory to practice, it’s also difficult, time-consuming, and yields mixed results in terms of actual clients who sign on the dotted line.
3. Here’s the important part: if your starting point is low trust, an alternative strategy is to definitely reduce the trust necessary to secure a project. In other words, you must lower the risk of engaging you for the first time. The best way to this is by offering an irresistible PIE.
Your irresistible PIE is a low cost, low risk, high value project that can jump-start the ‘trust cycle’. You might think of this as a sample of your capabilities, or a pilot project, or a trial engagement.
So I know what you are thinking – what are those irresistible tactics that lead to an awesome PIE.
1. Fast – For those short-duration project (one hour to a few weeks), plan to finish quickly so you can move onto the high-value projects while the need still exist.
2. Simple and Always Repeatable – If it takes you too long to explain your PIE, your prospect’s will loose his/her appetite. And if you create a new PIE from scratch every time there is a new prospect, it will be horribly inefficient to deliver your best results. Your PIE should provide value that is easy for prospects to understand and effortless for you to deliver.
3. Clear With Immediate Value – Delivers an obvious win that is tangible with an easily recognizable value. Providing an assessment isn’t the greatest PIEs because increased understanding isn’t concrete and the value isn’t immediate.
4. Direct Experience With You – PIEs should always be in-person with high-touch engagements if possible. The whole point is to give your client a taste of what it is like to work hand-in-hand with you.
5. Connect for Additional Engagements – There’s an obvious path from your PIE to the next engagement. Don’t make the mistake of selling during your PIE. But before and even after the project ends, clearly define how this initial project fits in with a broader stream of work that you can provide.
6. Low Fees – Do not discount your fees. Your PIE shouldn’t be the same work for a lower fee. Your PIE should reflect your price.
So as you move forward, prepare a PIE that is irresistible, value packed and one that provides a link to future opportunities – this has worked for me with my high-achieving women clients.
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As a reminder, for career and businesswomen it’s always about – ‘Results. Uniqueness. Differentiation.’ I call this your ‘RUD’.
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