We often come across new opportunities that sound really great.
The work looks interesting, or the client sounds exciting to work with.
This excitement can cloud our judgment—and we start to ask ourselves the wrong question: “How can I win this deal?” instead of “Is this deal worth pursuing?”
Over the years, I’ve learned (the hard way!) to approach every opportunity with some level of skepticism. I put the onus on the prospect to convince ME why I should pursue THEM.
In today’s podcast episode, I describe two specific clues I look for to help decide whether a deal is worth pursuing—or not.
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 on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music or wherever you listen to podcasts.
Q1: Why did they reach out to me?
The first clue consists of two parts: 1) how they learned about me and 2) why they decided to reach out to me.
If they learned about me through a Google search, closing the deal is going to take a lot more selling on my part. But if they were referred to me by a current or past client, then that’s a different thing.
The same applies to WHY they decided to reach out. What caught their eye in my LinkedIn profile or on my website? The more specific they are about this, the better a prospect they are. The more generic or clueless they sound, the lower the probability that this is a good opportunity for me.
Q2: Are they willing to open up?
The second clue is the number of hoops the prospect expects me to jump through. If they immediately ask about my rates … or want to set up a long meeting to discuss their entire company’s history and “pick my brain” for ideas … or they want me to respond to a formal request for proposal … or they want me to send them a resume or something unusual like this … that’s NOT a good prospect.
Good prospects will know why they are reaching out to you specifically … and they openly share their challenges and objectives.
Good prospects treat the creative professional as just that—a professional. A peer. Not a vendor. Not a worker. Not someone they can order around.
I look for prospects who already have some level of trust in me. Prospects that are willing to open up a bit about their problems and goals so that we can have a productive, grown-up conversation, even if we don’t end up working together.
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