Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Contracting – Your best clients are your current clients…

and your old clients too.

Before I started my contracting business five years ago I realised the importance of selling and how it would be key to the success of my business, it’s what some of the consulting books call ‘keeping the pipeline flowing’ if you read the contracting and consulting books they will advise you to spend a portion of your time bringing in new business, making sure that you have enough paying work to keep the wolfs from your door. If you are considering starting your own contracting or consulting business this is invaluable advice as a lack of paying clients is not good for business.

I have also read some sales books too, and if you are contracting /consulting or considering it as a future option I recommend that you read some of these books to. Sales books are different from consulting books and please don’t think of these books as a magic answer, they are not, the good books will give you some good advice and tips, that after reading you will probably think is just common sense, but the advice is worth thinking about.

I have read a few of these sales orientated books, one I found quite useful was  The Sales Bible: The Ultimate Sales ResourceThis book is quite old now I think it was published in 2003 and there are others out there that no doubt will give you similar advice, if you have a Sales book that you recommend please do let me know what it is by leaving a comment

In terms of Sales for a contracting and consulting business I think the following points are key in ‘making a sale’

  • Realise that your client has problem – understand what that problem is
  • Be able to communicate to your potential client that you have the skills needed to solve the problem for them
  • It’s easier to make a sale to someone you have done business with before   compared to a brand new client.
  • Building a good network can be invaluable if you are in the selling business

So you have to understand the problem, know how to solve the problem and know a whole bunch of people who have problems that you can help solve. There is nothing awfully difficult to it on paper.

What I have got out of this is it can be easier to sell to your existing clients, or possibly clients you have worked for previously than it is to bring in brand new business. You do need enough existing clients to be able to do this. You will need to bring in new business especially when starting out and also when you have been in business  for a while, fresh new clients are always good but it can be much easier for you to make sales to clients that you have sold to previously.

I have been lucky I have had repeat business from all of my existing clients and I have been fortunate that I have been able to expand my new clients too. You just need to get the balance right.