To win projects and generate more sales opportunities, you need conversations. Two people or companies talking to each other, exchanging value and building rapport, exploring if and how they can make their lives better through collaboration.
Throughout the history of trade - and human civilization as a whole - there are two ways a sales conversation can start:
- You knock on someone's door; or
- Someone knocks on your door.
One of the worst mistakes a consulting firm can do is to think the order of the factors does not alter the product. This simple distinction directly influences your relationship with prospects, what the conversations will look like, and how you should create an effective plan of action to acquire new businesses.
When you are the one taking the initiative to reach out, 98% of the people you approach are not in "buy mode". Pitching your services is ineffective and damaging to your reputation.
When people knock on your door, on the other hand, demand is there. But you might not be able to serve and satisfy it.
So when we start to consider a sound plan of action, you will need to either:
- Create a strategy where we will be knocking on doors and doing something with the companies that are not ready to buy.
The advantage is you can choose whose door you knock on.
The disadvantage is that creating demand is more difficult than capturing it.
- Create a strategy to make the right people knock on your door.
The main benefit is the lower cost to acquire new business.
The obvious downside is anyone can knock on your door.
There's no perfect recipe, and an effective strategy will depend on your positioning, offering, and niche. But whatever it is, you will need to address the disadvantages of each approach in your implementation if you want to make it work.
PS: They are not mutually exclusive - you can choose to do both. Just remember you don't need to do everything. Doing less and getting the basics right will get you ahead of most consultants out there.