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What if you’re not available for client work for several months?
When a client approaches you, should you just say you’re not available, or should you go through project discovery, provide a proposal, and then tell them when the start date would be?
You might be worried that when you get to the point of telling them you’re not available for a few months they may not want to wait. You figure you might as well tell them up front before you got through all this work of doing project discovery, but:
Going through the project discovery, giving a proposal, and showing the value that you could provide is actually going to increase your chance of getting that client.
When it gets to the point of them finding out that you can’t start the project for a few months, at least at this point they know what value they could get from working with you.
Believe it or not, clients are willing to wait for good work. If you do a good job on this proposal, they will be willing to wait a couple months to do a project with you.
To increase the chance that your client will be willing to wait to work with you, I recommend following this process:
You need to have a questionnaire, instead of just a contact form on your website. Have a list of questions that qualify clients who would want to work with you.
On your questionnaire, among your other questions, one question you should have is: “Why do you want to work with me specifically?” Whatever the client answers here, we’re going to call “Reason X”.
You go through the project discovery, you talk with them more about the project, you send over the proposal with the quoted amount, and at this point, the client finds out that you’re not able to start for several months and they start balking at it. The way you respond to this is saying:
“My focus is on helping you achieve your goals in the most effective way possible. To do this, I need to dedicate my full focus to your project. Currently, I’m working with other clients and these clients are receiving my full focus until your availability date, just like you will receive my full focus when we start your project. I really want to be able to provide ‘Reason X’ to you. Let me know if you would like to proceed with the project.”
“Reason X” is where you recycle the answer they provided when you asked them, why do you want to work with me specifically?
This is your unique selling point and it’s given to you directly from the client. They’re telling you why they’re going with you and not anyone else. They’re actually giving that information to you, so you feed it right back to them.
You say, “I want to be able to deliver this unique service that only I can give to you.” That’s going to make the client realize why it’s worth waiting to work with you, even if it’s a few months out.
Don’t just tell clients you can’t work with them for several months, give them a compelling reason to wait to work with you.
Go through a project discovery, provide a compelling proposal, and remind them of the why they wanted to hire you specifically.
You may not know what questions you should ask, how to set it up, what order to ask those questions in, how to vet clients, how to find clients that you want to work with, or how to attract clients that are willing to wait to work with you and compensate you well.
This entire process is the topic of an upcoming course we have called Value-Based Pricing.
We’ve got a full course coming out, but when you subscribe, we have some free training for you. We’ve got some free videos and we’re going to be doing some live training coming up for the people subscribed, so be sure and check it out.