You’re a smart, ambitious Freelance cookie and you’ve set up appointments this Summer with prospective clients who could award contracts that will pay you in fourth quarter and perhaps beyond. You’ve thanked the saints for finally allowing you to sit down with a much sought-after prospect and the last thing you need is an objection slithering into your Garden of Eden, ready to poison the victory. Here are more smart approaches to common categories of objections that will help you put them to rest and start building a lucrative client list.
I. Too Small
Your prospective client may be impressed with your insights and proposed solutions, yet fear that your consultancy lacks the capacity to successfully execute complex projects. There is a fear that the job you’re discussing is too big for your plate. To counter, reassure your prospect by emphasizing that his/her needs and priorities will always receive prompt and meticulous attention because all aspects of the project will be personally overseen by the principal—you. Stress that you are always immediately responsive and able to elegantly customize all required services. Furthermore, should more hands be needed, you have a carefully curated group of associates to call upon to handle specific tasks, when necessary.
II. No Money
Especially when looking to perform consulting services at not-for-profit organizations, remember that meager budgets are an issue and the problem will continue to bedevil NFPs for the foreseeable future. I’ve been burned by NFPs who’ve invited me in to discuss projects for which (unknown to me) there is no extant budget. Getting reliable information about the financial reality may be difficult; even executive directors and board chairs can be evasive and coy about money. They are not afraid to waste your time.
The game most often will be played by a small organization that has fingers crossed about receiving grant money. However, the hoped-for grant may not arrive and the client could disappear on you. Protect yourself by trying to encourage transparency by breaking the project down into smaller bites. Start by asking the NFP prospect what he/she would like to achieve and clarify what your role will be. Diplomatically inquire as to whether a budget has been established for the project.
Next, ask for project needs to be prioritized: the “must-do”, the “would be helpful” and “this too, if we can afford”. In your written proposal, package and price your services in ascending tiers, thus scaling the project in accordance to client priorities and budget. Clearly emphasize the ROI of the project and how it is an investment in furthering organization objectives and its future.
Thanks for reading,