Ouch! You may not be able to sign 100% of your prospective clients, but there are some ways to stack the odds in your favor.
Picture this… You’ve made contact with a great client. You had a meeting over coffee or Skype, and it sounds like you two are going to work really well together. It’s like that classic song… Something tells you you’re into something good.
And then a week goes by and… Nothing. You reach out to see how things are going only to find out your new client isn’t yours after all – they’ve decided to wait on the project or maybe they chose your competitor instead.
Either way… Yikes.
There are few things more frustrating than feeling like you’ve clicked with a client or customer, only to find they’ve gone in another direction.
We get it. (We’ve been there.)
So… is there any way to avoid this incredibly frustrating situation? It may not be possible to sign with 100% of your prospective clients, but there are some ways to stack the odds in your favor.
Reason #1: They Didn’t Like Your Prices
This is a tough one because some of it is simply not under your control. While you can’t increase someone else’s budget, you can make sure that you’re charging a fair price for your products and services.
Pricing is a tough topic for many of us, so the best thing you can do for yourself is to figure out a few things: the amount of time it takes you to do a project, what the customer stands to gain as a result of working with you, and what your competitors are charging. (Check out the 4 Things You Need to Know about Managing Your Business Finances.)
Once you’ve figured out just how much your time is worth, you can decide if your rates are fair to you and your clients. If a client still balks at your fees (it happens to the best of us), at least you know you’re charging a reasonable price for your products and services.
Reason #2: You Didn’t Seem Professional Enough
Especially in these first stages, you’re both just getting to know one another and/or trying to figure out whether your money and time will be well spent. We probably don’t need to tell you that it’s important to show your customers and clients the most polished version of yourself.
We all make little mistakes here and there, but you would be surprised how not spell-checking an email or not using the proper salutations can change someone’s perception of you. (Especially those that you’ll be billing for your services.)
For example: Like a lot of people, I love answering emails while on my phone, but take an extra second to format it correctly. Instead of a terse, five-word answer, take a second to write an actual message.
This is just one of the many small things you can do to show your care and attention to detail. After all, it’s these seemingly minor details that customers see as indicators of your quality of work.
Reason #3: You Didn’t Present the Right Solution
No matter what, your client wants you to create a solution to their problems. As a matter of fact, they really, really want to hire you! Who wants to spend hours looking for the perfect consultant/coach/anything?
But especially for client-based work, the key to moving from proposal to contract is to make sure your client understands what you can do for them. How will your services make this client’s life better? The best way to figure that out is to really listen when your prospective client is talking to you.
Dig deep and ask questions about what they want in an ideal world. Take note of their answers and, when communicating further, make sure that you’re clear in what you can offer to help make that ideal a reality. Tailor your message toward that.
After all this, there are still factors you can’t control when it comes to a client’s decision to hire you.
Maybe a client doesn’t have the budget for you (yet). Or they decide to move in another direction. Or [insert totally valid reason here].
And guess what? It’s okay.
As long as you know you’re doing your absolute best to price your services fairly, present a polished image, and be clear about your offerings, your job is to stay the course.
It’s certainly challenging, but you know what makes that uncertainty so much better? Feeling sure that you’ve done everything you could do to attract your dream clients.
About Feliza David, Creative Director
Think of Feliza as LEAP’s very own Don Draper, except without the hard partying. (The only thing she binges on is Netflix.) From tool reviews to learning modules to eye-catching graphics, Feliza probably had her hand in it.
She loves LEAP because:
Feliza lives in Indiana with her husband, two dogs, one cat, and the occasional goldfish. When she’s not writing, drawing, or reading, she’s probably sleeping.