I Don't Know How To Hire You. Really. I Don't.

I don't know how to hire you. Sorry, but that's true.

(I'm your prospective client in this story.)

I'm kind of intrigued, but then again I'm a little afraid to let you know that I am. I don't have an immediate need, but a year and a half from now I know I'll not be able to dredge up your website from my addled C19 brain, so I'll need a reminder. I'll need to get some regular exposure to your firm—without turning the sales dogs loose on me—but I don't know how to do that. After searching for awhile, I see your "newsletter" but that's not going to cut it.

By "news" I presume that you're going to tell me about your move, some new people you've hired, how you've added a service line offering because your clients are just demanding it, and then cherry-picking a few case studies so that I'll see myself in the mirror.

I'm not interested in any of that, really. I've just heard through two sources, now, that you are smart, that your work is a little unusual, in a good way, and that you've made a big difference in their situations. (To be fair, I also heard from a former colleague that your initial work was more interesting than your later work.)

Here's how your website could help me take this more seriously:

  • Tell me what makes a good client fit for you. Maybe size, target, services, and so on. Be very specific. I want you to be confident, but the most precious commodity I have is time: do not waste mine.
  • Let me sign up for ongoing insight without any fear that you are going to hound me. Don't ask me about the best time to call if I haven't said that I want a call. Show me a few samples of what I might be getting if I sign up. And then deliver on the promise. Don't get through this year and then send me a sales plea cleverly disguised as a wrap-up email in early December. Please skip the automated drip campaign, too.
  • Explain how we'll start. Yeah, I know there will be exceptions if I'm in a hurry with a major hole to plug, but how do you get to know me? And what do I get out of that process? Is there some sort of roadmap or diagnostic that I can read about? How much does it cost...but more importantly, how long does it take?
  • What kind of money are we talking, here. Yes, I know that you don't want to give me any prices or even a hint at prices, but you've done this long enough that there must be some pattern here. Maybe you like to start with a $30,000 assessment; maybe most relationships jump right into a $350,000-$600,000 project. I shouldn't need a National Security clearance to understand this. I can only assume that you're going to rev up the big ol' vacuum attachment to a proposal and suck every dollar out of my budget. Let's not do that.
  • Where and how do you work. The "where" doesn't matter, but I'm curious. I like to have a mental geographic picture in my head. The last firm I worked with claimed to have offices in Austin, New York, and Boise. I live in Austin so I was excited, but it turns out that there was one person there, working in an RV he had to keep moving because of neighbor complaints, and you fired him five weeks in. The "how" you work is more important to me: cadence, who leads, how do I get updates, what's the escalation process, what do you expect of me so that I'm not the bottleneck.
  • Where is most of your work focused? Unless I'm just missing something, it seems like you are open to doing anything for me. Sorry, but I already have a lot of eager LinkedIn connections I can use for that. Are you focused on B2B Building Materials Channel Marketing? Custom Software for Enterprise Logistics? Maybe TikTok domination for F1000 brands? Native Mobile Experiences? Packaging for Natural Health? SDOH Healthcare Initiatives? Shopify Plus Ecommerce? Tell me. If you aren't sure by this point, I'm not sure when you will be.

I want to hire you, but only if we're a fit. Don't make me endure a typical sales call to find out.

—Your Eager Prospect

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