A few years back, I learned that Solopreneur consultants are not the main competitors of Solopreneur consultants who offer similar services. The client is the real competitor. This statement is becoming more credible every day as the economy continues to be less than stellar, enriching only the top 1% plus a few lucky people in the (shrinkingly wealthy) middle class.
Prospective clients will find a lot of excuses to let them cancel a contract or reduce what they initially promised. Ever wonder what prospects and clients might be thinking?
Steve W. Martin is a professor of Sales Strategy at the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business. He is also the author of Heavy Hitter Sales Linguistics 101 Advanced Sales Call Strategies For Senior Salespeople (2011). According to Martin, peer pressure and insecurity are the main culprits, and they have a negative impact on decision-making.
Salespeople and solopreneurs must communicate their value-added. However, in the end, it is up to the company to decide whether to grant the green light. Those outside the organization can only have so much influence. Here are some examples of potential clients’ concerns:
Two main criteria are used to decide whether someone should be given the contract or sold:
1. Is there an ROI for sale?
2. What is the ROI of this ROI compared to other projects?
Priority is given to projects that are strategic and approved by senior executives. If your project is granted this status, it will only be a matter of how many hours you can work on it. You must get approval before you can proceed with any project, product, or service. Although you may think you are speaking to a decision-maker and that he/she has indicated that the go-ahead is imminently given, this is only part of the story.
The second important step is when the team of big-hitters reviews and ranks all pending sales and projects to determine which items will be funded and in what amount. This means that the decision-maker with whom you have been talking will consult with other decision-makers in order to decide which projects will be funded. Projects are constantly reprioritized to meet changing conditions.
Your project should align with the company’s goals, as perceived by the top-ups. You will notice that projects championed and funded by lower-ranking employees are often not funded. This is because the higher-ranking executives don’t understand the value-added or view the proposal as strategically significant. Your project must also demonstrate that the higher-up sponsoring your project understands and actively promotes strategically relevant products, services, and projects.
Image and Ego
This is closely related to the previous. The project’s chief sponsor must look significant to both the person to whom he/she reports and to his/her subordinates. The project champion must appear like a true genius when a consultant is hired, or major purchases are authorized.
In no way can s/he be seen as making a mistake. Peer pressure can be honest, and project champions worry about making the right decisions, especially if it is something new. The reputation and career advancements of your project sponsor are at stake. This is why Solopreneur consultants must deliver outstanding service.