When I started selling professional services the process was simple.
- Find where your ideal customers gathered.
- Go to that place and meet them.
- Follow up after the meeting to meet 1-2-1 for “coffee”
- Determine if they had a need and if there was a “fit”
- Schedule a diagnostic meeting (e.g. actual sales call)
That formula worked for me for over a decade, until it didn’t.
As my business became more specialized and focused it became harder and harder to just go to meetings where my ideal clients were. And having all those “coffee meetings” was exhausting and inefficient. I was kissing a lot of frogs and not finding many princes!
So I started to migrate my lead generation toward online sources. I choose to make this change, today many of you are being forced to do it!
The process is similar, but also very different.
You still need to find where your clients are gathered, and go to that place to “meet” them. So, you have to figure out where your clients congregate online? What do they read? Who do they follow?
Once you know that, you need to “meet” them there. You can’t just walk up to someone online and say, “So what brings you out to the event tonight? Instead you “meet them” putting all your best knowledge, ideas and expertise “out there” for all to see! The more you share the more attractive you are and folks start coming up and talking to you!
Putting your ideas out there can be nerve-wracking and a little terrifying. It definitely brings out any latent “imposter syndrome” that you might be harboring. But it’s the fastest way to build trust in online communities.
But that’s not all, after you share, you also have to interact, you have to comment, re-share and get into it with folks! Just like mingling at the Chamber of Commerce felt awkward at first, this is going to feel awkward too.
Finally, you need to move those conversations from the online space into something one-to-one, either email or direct messages, then finally a phone call. Only when you get to the intimacy of a phone call or video call can you build the trust that results in someone being willing to work with you.
It felt like starting over
When I first started trying to sell online it felt like I was rookie again. I questioned everything I knew about selling my services. It all felt awkward and wrong like it did when I was at that first Chamber of Commerce event 20 years ago.
You might be facing that “until it didn’t” moment right now. All your face-to-face networking and selling channels are cut off and we’re faced with only having the online channels to work with. What takes most people weeks and months to learn you need to learn right now.
Just like you had to build skills to be good at selling face-to-face, there are skills you need to develop to sell online.
There is a way to use online tools to build business with folks you’ve never met — most of you on this list have never met me! I want to help you learn how to sell your services even while you are “sheltered in place”.