I know, I know – you don’t have the money or aren’t ready to let go and delegate. Fear not. This post isn’t necessarily about that. Think about this – is there something your clients need that you can’t do? Ah ha – that’s where your loose team of go-to people can make you shine. Finding the gems takes time, but it’s worth it.
Whether this includes contracted support, volunteer helpers, vendors who are vetted for ad-on services or a mastermind group, having others in play to help support what you offer is huge.
Graphic designers, printers, audio talent and competitors who have specialties where I’m weak are critical players on my team. A virtual assistant (VA) steps in and out, but, honestly, I haven’t been effective at determining how to best employ her skills for our needs. Besides the VA and occasional audio talent, these providers are paid directly by the client. We don’t mark anything up. The good will and word-of-mouth that comes from having providers on the ready pays higher dividends.
Finding the right people
This takes trial and error. Sadly, what people claim isn’t always true. It’s wise to vet vendors with your company assignments before recommending them.
The thing about referrals to excellent providers is, you tend to get more credit in the mind of the person you shared a great find with than the one doing the work.
Standard practice in many industries is to shield the client from vendors and mark up the work (project management time). Frankly, given many of the graphic designers I’ve worked with, I get this. It’s scary thinking about what they might say to a client (or produce without direction). I’ve been fortunate to find some outstanding providers with verbal communication skills that rival their creative and artistic talent. So, everyone wins with a direct connect.
Think about what else you can offer to clients (or prospects that aren’t a good fit – you’ll be amazed how much referral business comes from those you decline with a better solution suggestion). What is it you can’t or don’t want to do (no statistical analysis drudgery for me)? These are the people you want to find. The right ones will make you look good while filling your coffers with either reciprocal referrals or goodwill built from prospect joy.
If you’re going to be working with someone to deliver a service or a product to a client, it’s important to have a good strategy for making this work well for all. You might find someone else is a better communicator. This doesn’t mean your skills are lacking, they just might not be ideal for the particular audience.
I’ve frequently hired a spokesperson for a pitch meeting or an “account manager” for committee meetings in cases where a different face or perspective works better than mine.
Sometimes a contractor serves better as lead, particularly when academicians, corporate types and tech-speak audiences are involved.
Some might cry inauthentic, but why baulk if you can find an easy way to keep everyone comfortable so you can shine?
Let go of ego and let someone else take the credit when that makes the most sense. Pay for a few hours of another’s time and those illusive contracts will become long-term clients enthusiastic to refer you to others.
Conductor is a great small business selling owner role
If you’re working with a team (whether you’re paying them or the client is being billed directly), it’s a good idea to figure out how the whole communications thing will play out.
You can bill for your time as the client interface. Other times, a background role may be smarter. With the right people, direct connect works wonderfully.
Understanding who has the best communications skills for the job is a great skill to master in small business selling. The payoff continues long after you land a client.
Ready to jettison going it alone?
Whether your team is internal and bottom-line or loose, it makes sense to let go of ego and think strategically. You know what you’re good at. Hopefully, you can also recognize where others are better.
You’ll be happier when you let others to help support your efforts. Consider assembling a team that can shore up your weaknesses, present better to prospects, enhance what you offer and make life more fun for you.
Are you ready to bring your small business selling to the next level? Think about who could be great addition to your team.
How about you? Have you found any complementary providers that have bolstered your business? If not, where do you think they might be? Please share in the comments below and to the left ;-).