My good friend Aasifah Omar said to me a long time ago that I needed to have a sales pipeline for my business. But because I didn’t consider my self a salesperson, or my business a salesy kind of business, I pretty much ignored that advice.
However, being busy with Applied Creativity training, I have come to realise that I was committing yet another one of the errors fuelled by the myths of creativity. This myth states that “Good things will come to you, all you have to do is keep showing up, keep working hard, people will notice how good you are and come to you,” Or words to that effect.
In the music world, this is the equivalent of spending a large fortune on writing and recording an album and then not distributing it. Or distributing it but doing no marketing for it.
So, since 2018, I have been busy with a very simple sales pipeline. I now make sure that each and every week I am busy with 3 things: Acquisition, Negotiation and Delivery.
Acquisition covers everything from cold calling to Facebook adverts, networking events and blog writing. Some of it I am more comfortable than other bits. But as I go, I am getting more used to it. I have also realised that, when I approach people who really are interested, they are relieved too… they know they would not have found me without me approaching them.
Negotiation is kind of self-explanatory. But it is another area that I have always struggled with: pricing, value, invoicing. Thankfully, 25 years of self-employment have made me much better at asking for what I believe is the vale of what I offer.
The delivery end has always given me the most problems. Not that I struggle with that, quite the opposite. Because I tend to disappear into it and forget about the other two sections of the pipeline. It’s a honey trap. Finally, you have the work you have been searching for. You don’t want to mess up, you want to deliver value, make a good impression, get a good reference and grow… So, the rest of the pipeline fades in your thoughts.
This is the mistake I have made over and over in my career. This time around, I have no intention of repeating it. So, this is public notice that you may at any stage, should you notice me no longer marketing, talking, sharing, approaching… remind me of the existence of this pipeline and ask me what happened to the first two parts!