Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Free consulting

Often in the early stages of selling a prospect they will want you to do a lot of the design and architecting of a solution for free. It is a delicate subject to bring up, but you can't do work for free. The sooner you bring that up and agree that you should be paid for your work - but not proposal writing, sales and marketing - the better off you'll be. The most effective method is to make them want your expertise. If you do the positioning right and create a perception of value the prospect will be more likely to agree to pay earlier. If you have not created an impression of value then putting your foot down in this area carries the risk of losing the business to a competitor or just getting a flat no. But done right this will earn you the respect of the client. So think positioning rather than closing. Ideally, the closing is a formality, a logical conclusion reached based on your prior positioning and needs discovery. It is also helpful to explain at the outset of the conversation what is paid work and what is not.

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