Things have taken a significant turn for the better in my pipeline. And as they have, I’ve noticed something interesting. Perhaps you have noticed this in your business as well:
When you have lots of projects, when your pipeline is full, or when you’ve just closed a large engagement, it is easier to get even more work. Business development becomes simpler. Here’s why (I think):
- You’re more relaxed, and not worried about cash flow down the road. As a result, prospects are more attracted to you, because they perceive you to be successful (and you have the current engagements to prove it).
- Prospects tend to assume that since you are in demand, you must be good. The psychological principle of “social proof” (if others think/say it is true, then it must be true) works in your favor. (N.B. I haven’t been in the dating scene for over a decade — thank goodness — but seem to recall that this same principle held up there as well).
- You don’t mind turning down marginal deals, and so you ask the tough questions to assess whether a prospect/project is a good fit. This behavior also makes you more attractive to prospects, because they see that you pick clients carefully.
- You are more likely to ask for, and get, your price, because you don’t need the work. You are in demand, and thus a scarce, more valuable resource.
- You don’t have time to make stupid sales mistakes that some of us tend to make when we’re not so busy, like hounding and chasing prospects for them to make up their mind. Instead, you are more likely to give prospects space, which they appreciate. You don’t come across as a pushy, desperate salesperson.
Have you noticed this phenomena?
Unfortunately, many Web design professionals stop marketing when they are busy with work. This mistake leads to the feast-or-famine cycle that so many of us experience over the course of a year.
That leads to takeaway #1 of 2 in this blog:
The best time to market is when you are already busy with work. Make sure you continue to market even when you are busy, so that your pipeline stays full. At the same time, you can take advantage of the situation described above, and often close more and better deals with less effort.
Takeaway #2 of 2 is less obvious:
When you are not busy, and really need the work, act as if you were busy anyway. As David Sandler points out in his book “You Can’t Teach a Kid to Ride a Bike at a Seminar,” act like you want the work, but don’t act like you need it. Act as if you were a successful professional at all times. That way, you can still take advantage of the benefits of this interesting phenomena even if you are not so busy.