As a business owner, there are a lot of things vying for your attention. Some days it’s easy to see what to do next; other days you’re lucky if you can even figure out where to start. Call clients back, do proactive marketing, have lunch or coffee with referral partners, follow up on leads from that networking event -– these are just some of the things on your to-do list. Read more
Savvy independent professionals know that referrals are the best way to land new clients. But getting those referrals can sometimes be a challenge. When referrals don’t come easily — or the ones you get seem to be off track — it’s tempting to forget about building referrals and spend time on cold calling, boilerplate letters and emails, or advertising, even though you know those approaches aren’t as effective in the long run. Read more
One of the most persistent barriers to success for self-employed professionals is fear of rejection. Sometimes this fear is quite conscious. You know that you are avoiding marketing and sales because you’re afraid your prospects will say no.
Other times the fear is lurking in the background, making an impact you’re not always aware of. You may find yourself procrastinating about making a phone call or setting up a sales appointment, and blame it on laziness or poor time management. Or you may avoid following up because you “don’t want to bug people.” Or perhaps it feels pushy to ask directly for a sale. Read more
Last week I was having coffee with a client and he told me a story about one of his former customers. She was reading his newsletter, which goes out every month, and was surprised to learn that his company did stairs (that particular newsletter featured a stair remodel his company had done for someone else). His former customer was looking for someone to do stair work for her, yet it never occurred to her to call him for that type of job. Read more
We talk quite a bit in sales and marketing about, well, talking. We examine how to get our message across, what to say to potential clients, how to present our businesses, etc. But sometimes, listening can be considerably more productive than talking. Here are five ways you just might be able to get more clients by listening. Read more
Several years ago, when Starbucks used to run quotes on their cups, I received this message on my cup one day:
The Way I See It #76: The irony of commitment is that it’s deeply liberating – in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.
~ Anne Morriss (Starbucks customer from NYC)
Why is it that some people seem to be naturals at selling, while others struggle to close every sale or even fail completely in a role that requires them to sell? In 1982, psychologist Martin Seligman, PhD, set out to answer that question for the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. Seligman had been studying optimism and pessimism in the laboratory for almost 20 years when Met Life heard about his research. Could Seligman help them learn how to hire more effective salespeople, they asked? Read more
Lately I’ve been struck by how people answer the question of what they really want. When I ask, they give me an answer that sounds more like what they’d be OK with rather than their bigger picture desire. If I probe a little deeper, they usually say something about how they’re just trying to be realistic. Read more
Much of the popular wisdom about how to succeed as an independent professional seems to center around saying yes. You’ll hear that you’re supposed to market yourself constantly in as many different ways as possible, network with everyone you can find, and take as many clients as possible in order to increase your earnings. The implication is that you should say yes to every opportunity. Read more
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