The savvy Freelancer knows to make hay while the Summer sun shines and contract assignments dwindle. Registering for a conference that will expand your knowledge and your network is one way to make good use of your time. Setting up meetings with potential clients that you’ve perhaps been pursuing since last November is another good use of your time. Despite vacations, I’ll bet they’re more available to meet you for lunch or coffee in July and August. Summer is the time for Freelancers to sow relationship seeds that will be harvested as billable hours come Autumn.
Along the way, we will unfortunately have an objection tossed onto our path by a skeptical prospect. All may appear to be rosy until it’s time to schedule the appointment—and then your prospect balks. “What is it that we’re supposed to talk about?” “I’m not sure if we’ll have any of your kind of projects on the immediate horizon.” Or maybe the stumbling block won’t get thrown at you until the face to face is on. Whenever it happens, your potential client will be in grave danger of fading away and you’ll need effective CPR to save your budding relationship.
Fortunately, client objections tend to fall into predictable broad categories. To formulate a credible response, you must first recognize the real question that underlies the objection— that would be the category it falls into. There are only a handful of objection categories that Freelancers will most often encounter. Take a look at these two:
I. No trust
Your prospective client doesn’t trust you and questions your experience and abilities, or might be somewhat cool toward you, because you are an unknown quantity. The remedy is to obtain an endorsement from someone who is known and respected by your prospect. If you sense that you are being held at arm’s length and rapport is not being established, name a client (or organization) for whom you’ve worked, one who could be familiar to the prospect. If possible, strengthen your hand by attending a gathering (social or professional) that the prospect is known to attend. Proceed to let your prospect witness you interacting as a peer with colleagues and friends he/she knows and admires. Your prospect will feel much more comfortable with you, the ice will melt and you’ll soon be invited into the office to talk turkey.
II. No need
Sometimes a prospect just wants to blow a Freelancer off, so we’re told that there is no need for our services (even though we know that’s not the truth!). Other times we hear this objection because the prospective client doesn’t know us or have reason to trust us, so he/she will fudge the truth and claim to have no use for what we’re selling. Keep talking and don’t be shut down by this one if you know there is a need for your brand of expertise. This client must be convinced of the value and ROI of what you bring. If you’ve worked with clients who would be familiar to this prospect, drop the name and briefly describe the successful outcome of your project.
Talk about the revenue stream that was created or the money that was saved or the market share gained. Then ask a pertinent question in an area you suspect may be of interest and where your knowledge and expertise shine. “What about _____ keeps you awake at night?” “How do you and your team get your arms around…?” Get this client to open up and talk about what’s really going on and you may find yourself in a conversation about how you might be able to help them out.
More on this topic next week. Thanks for reading,