Many of us end up pausing our marketing efforts when we’re booked solid.
This is partly due to a lack of time.
When you’re in that situation, the last thing you need right now is MORE client work. You don’t want to approach new prospects because if they actually have work for you (please no!), you won’t have time to do it.
But the problem with this approach is that it contributes to the feast or famine cycle.
You stop prospecting when you’re slammed with work (the feast). By the time you’re ready to prospect again, your pipeline is dry (the famine).
I understand the logic of not wanting to prospect for new clients when you’re slammed with work.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do anything at all.
Instead, here are three things you should do when you’re booked solid:
1. Shift your focus from prospecting to nurturing
When you prospect for clients, you’re asking “Hey, do you have anything for me?”
But when you nurture not-yet-ready (NYR) prospects (i.e. clients who’ve indicated an interest in your services but aren’t ready to proceed with a project yet), you’re saying “Hey, I hope things are going well. By the way, here’s an article I thought you might find interesting.”
With nurturing, you’re not asking for anything. You’re just keeping the conversation going and adding value.
When you nurture from a position of truly not needing work, that feeling of security comes through in your communications. The aura of confidence you project will attract more work to you. So when you’re in this position, take advantage of it!
By continuing to nurture prospects even when you’re slammed, you’ll help keep your pipeline full during drier periods.
2. Raise your fees
Whenever you’re booked solid, you should think about raising your fees with both new and existing clients.
Again, this is about leveraging that shot of extra confidence being booked solid gives you.
When new opportunities come in, let them know that you currently have a backlog of projects and may not be able to start immediately.
(Contrary to what you might think, this often won’t discourage potential clients. In fact, it frequently has the opposite effect. Prospects will be more determined than ever to work with you. They think you must be good at what you do if you’re so busy!)
You can also start quoting a higher fee. You’ll feel more confident doing it because you’re not desperate to land new clients.
You can also raise your fees with existing clients. The best possible time to ask for an increase with existing clients is when you’re booked solid and can afford to lose them.
Don’t wait until you’re desperate for work!
3. Make a “hot list” of 20 prospects
Use this time to make a “hot list” of 20 or so prospects you’d like to work with in the future.
Start with prospects and industries where you already have some traction or expertise.
This shouldn’t take a lot of time. But it is something you need to mull and ponder, mostly when you’re not at your desk.
Once your schedule opens up, you can use this list as a guide to get back into active prospecting.
This task will also keep prospecting in the back of your mind instead of taking it off the table completely.
Being Booked Solid Isn’t an Excuse to Stop Prospecting
When you’re booked solid, it’s tempting to put everything on hold aside from client projects.
But that’s a mistake.
Continue to dedicate a small portion of your time (maybe 5 to 10%) to these three activities. Wedge them into your schedule and make them a priority.
Because they’ll help keep your pipeline full and your head in the game.
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