Our selling is often one-to-one, singular proposals to different people with different (though possibly related or in-the-same-industry) businesses.
We might be pitching SIMILAR services to different businesses. For example, I loooooooove doing email marketing, so I pitch email marketing all of the time. I’m careful about conflict of interest, so I don’t do marketing for two businesses that sell THE EXACT SAME THING but I do it for lots of businesses.
Here’s what I’ve been observing about pitching to new potential clients lately:
I CAN OFFER THE SAME SERVICES AND STRATEGIES TO TWO DIFFERENT PEOPLE OR FIVE DIFFERENT PEOPLE AND I’LL GET WILDLY DIFFERENT RESPONSES.
I’ll pitch to one and they’ll say, “OMG THIS IS AWESOME HOW FAST CAN I GIVE YOU MY MONEY.”
And I’ll pitch to another, and they’ll get super defensive and morph into, “Oh NO that will NOT work for me and here let me tell you about all of the things YOU are doing wrong.”
A common denominator between all of these pitches is that they aren’t cold pitches or conversations. These potential clients came to ME and asked ME for a pitch. I didn’t call them up out of the blue and say, “Oh hai there, I can make you some dollars let me show you how.” Nope. That part was done. They came to me because they looked over my stuff and thought I might be a good fit.
OK, SO WHAT?
1) Try not to take it personally. That’s SUUUUUUUUPER difficult to do. I, personally, suck at that part. I’m working on it though. I am, literally, always working on EVERYTHING.
It helps to know that they might get defensive because they KNOW they need to do XYZ thing and when you point out to them that they’re not doing it, even if they CAME TO YOU BECAUSE THEY KNOW THEY ARE NOT DOING IT, it still sticks in their craw a little bit.
2) Realize that if you pitch what you know, in your experience, will be helpful to someone and they reject it, (and if they take it a step further and start tearing apart what you’re doing, which is not the point of the conversation to begin with because you were trying to talk with them about what they can do) they’re not a good fit for you nor you for them. End the conversation.
You don’t want to spend your time fighting with your clients. That IS NOT FUN AT ALL. For anyone. WALK. AWAY.
The people who think differently from you are not BAD, they’re just not your people. I want to be super clear about that. Bad fit does not equal bad person. Bad fit does equal frustration by everyone.
TRUST YOUR GUT
It is So so sosososososososososSOSOSOSOSOSOSO hard to walk away from a situation you feel, in your gut, isn’t going to be right, especially if you need the money.
It is so hard when someone says, “No, you are not good. You are not what I need. You are not good at what you do,” especially if you think you *are* pretty good at what you do and you have the results to prove it.
But some people say TomAYto and some people say TomAHto. You gotta work with people who say it the way you say it. It’s better to work with someone who gets your groove. I’m so much successful when I feel like I’m in a partnership with my clients, where there’s mutual respect, and we are both on the same page.
IF YOU NEED THE MONEY
Sometimes you need the money. I’ve been there. If you MUST take a job because you need money, go into it with an exit strategy or try to do it as a per-project basis. I would rather not take those kinds of jobs, though, because I don’t think it is terribly fair to go into a job you know you’re gonna quit. But, in a gig economy, that happens. Ideally, you’ll build your business up to the point where you won’t have to take those types of jobs, but if you have to, identify early on a plan to get out.
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