Where are your clients? You want to earn a nickel. If you are contracting and don’t get the engagement or are building your freelancing business, you know that companies or individuals could use what you have to offer but somehow they don’t seem to be seeing the value. Every time you make a new contact they seem interested but then most of the time nothing happens.
Well, you are right! They are not seeing the value! Remember that to prove the value of your services you have three barriers to overcome.
Barrier #1 is the potential customer’s belief that they are not in pain and have everything under control. There are two main approaches to this barrier. First, learn to recognize in more detail which companies need your unique added value. You can do this by determining what kinds of characteristics organizations have that would benefit from your services. Do they have particular production problems, are they restructuring, are projects delayed, etc.? Converting that knowledge into questions that you can ask early in the networking process or discover by gathering information on-line, at the library, or at industry or professional meetings will help you target your contacts more effectively.
NickelA second approach to this barrier is to determine the impact that not having your services has on an organization – you want to convey that without you their “world” translates to not running as efficiently as they could. They are scratching and clawing their way through projects – in hopes to maybe get them done on time! Demonstrate and give examples of how the skills and talent you provide can put them into the positive future to make their world much more productive and successful. Soon it will be clear to them, that your solution of providing capacity and expertise, isn’t something they can forego.
Barrier #2 is your potential customers don’t see your service as a priority. Managers must decide where to use their limited resources based on the priorities they see for their business. There are many things that would be nice to have but what are the current have to haves? What matters are their priorities and what they think will solve them. Make sure you make the connection between their perceived priorities and timing and your services.
Barrier #3 is your potential customer may not be convinced you can produce. This is the reputation problem. If you have worked on barriers #1 and #2 you are likely to present yourself as knowledgeable about the problem or goal, and its remedies but you may need to provide proof that you can get the job done on time and effectively. Have you done similar projects before? Highlight them. If this is a freelancing assignment, have you worked independently before or can you set up a set of milestones that will assure timely completion of the project?
The bottom line here is that you must help your potential customers know they have a problem, show them the value you create by using proof points and illustrating what the future state could be. The only way to get the engagement and earn a nickel is to get out there, talk to potential customers, really listen and share your value.
Sally Power, Ph.D. is a writer, researcher, and personal consultant accelerating successful career transitions.

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