When it comes to prospecting and selling, most of us want the easy way out. The gimmick that will put our prospecting on autopilot.
But at the end of the day, if the trick, gimmick or technique is not based on strong fundamentals, it will have a VERY short shelf life.
One of the many things I love about my colleague Jill Konrath is that all her advice is based on strong fundamentals.
She understands human nature. She understands what decision makers want—what keeps them up at night.
And how to continue the conversation already going on in their heads.
In this episode, she explains:
Why selling has changed drastically in the past 10 years
Why you need to adopt a different approach to your own marketing and selling
And how simple shifts in the way you approach prospects can have a dramatic impact on your income.
The notes that follow are a very basic, unedited summary of the show. There’s a lot more detail in the audio version. You can listen to the show using the audio player below. Or you can subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher to get this show delivered straight to the Podcasts app on your smart phone, tablet or iPod.
Tell us about yourself
Jill started as a high school teacher. She got into selling when she realized she was going to have to sell her new business idea. She worked for Xerox for five years in sales before moving into technology sales. Eventually, she started her own freelance business.
Today, she helps people reach busy decision makers. Her most recent focus is on getting up to speed fast.
How has the selling of professional services changed in the past 10 years?
People are outsourcing more of this work, so freelancers have more opportunities. At the same time, it’s more difficult to reach decision makers.
Selling is a skill that you can learn. But most people don’t know where to start.
What do freelancers need to do to sell better?
It starts with a mindset. Success is a choice. You can’t “try.” You have to commit.
When you start something new, you’re going to fail sometimes. Focus on getting better.
When you learn how to sell what you do, it gives you the capacity to do what you want.
What do freelancers and consultants need to do to succeed in this environment?
You need to understand your customer. Do your research before contacting anyone. Find out how you can help them with their business. Your conversation with them should be about what your writing can do for them, not about the writing itself.
Talk about the importance of bringing ideas to prospects
Today, prospects are crazy busy. If you come at them in the same old way, they’ll dismiss you. But if you give them specific ideas, you’ll catch their attention.
Should you share these ideas when you meet with them or before?
You have to tempt people. Don’t give everything all at once. You’re not trying to close the deal; you’re trying to extend the dialogue.
Every interaction you have with a prospect is a demonstration of your writing skill.
But don’t prospective clients already know about their problems and possible solutions?
No. They’re always looking for help. And even if you’re telling them things they already know, the fact that you’ve invested time in researching and thinking about their problems helps you stand out from the crowd.
It’s not “free” consulting if it’s part of a larger strategy.
Communicate only one or two ideas in each interaction with the prospect. You want to capture their attention, not overwhelm them. Research shows it takes 8-10 interactions to get a response.
Talk about the need to get up to speed quickly to get the attention of buyers
Anytime you approach a new project, you have to learn a ton of stuff. But take a moment to figure out what you need to learn immediately and what can wait until later. You’ll work much more efficiently.
Tell us about your new book on this topic
Agile Selling is about how to get up to speed quickly. It will help you figure out what knowledge and skills you need to know quickly to succeed. It helps you shorten the learning curve when you’re selling.
Where can listeners learn more about Agile Selling and your other great content?
Jill Konrath: http://www.jillkonrath.com
Agile Selling: http://www.jillkonrath.com/agile-selling
Jill’s new book goes on sale May 29th. The pre-order package comes with a jumpstart guide and downloadable audio interviews with industry leaders, including Daniel Pink, Heidi Grant Halvorson and Brent Adamson.
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Finally, if you have a question you’d potentially like answered on a future show —or if you’d like to be considered as a guest for a future episode — please let me know: ed at b2blauncher dot com.
Thanks again for your support!
Till next time,