Recently an entrepreneur asked me - why will you have the drive to grow my business as a consultant?
I was offended. It felt like he was questioning my ethics and my value system. Why would anyone even be in the staff of consulting if not to grow answers business?? How could they sleep at night if they thought they hadn't given a 100%? Do people even do that?
I counted down from 10 to 1 in my head before responding. I realised that what I had as a response were my client success stories and examples and case studies. I did tell him those but honestly I wasn't too convinced with the response. It felt incomplete because it was my word against his. As a marketing consultant who has worked on long term retainer projects, the long engagement itself is sometimes testimony enough... But for some reason the response fell short (at least in my head).
Anyways the call was done but the question stayed with me. In fact I was so troubled that I called an ex-client and posed him the question - he responded that I should have just asked him to call few of my clients as reference and they could have told him. Fair enough. But what really hit me at that moment was a more important point that I missed earlier - this prospect was one of those rare prospects who came without a reference. We are a 100% referenced company and our last 8 years has been out about growing via references. This meant that the prospects would have already heard about our work, v our commitment and our drive (hopefully) even before they reached us. Which is why I have never had to answer this question! But this prospect connected with me via Instagram, had zero references and was validating us from scratch.
Wow! Were we spoilt all these years? Thanks (or no thanks) to Covid I did start outreach campaigns last month and i now realise that this will mean a complete different kind of sales cycle.
Tomorrow I am going to work on rebuilding my cold call responses and be more geared for when such questions come up.