Whether I’m selling productized services or custom engagements, the answer to how long my sales process will take is simple:
I allow as long as it takes to ensure we’re a good fit.
Before I work with anyone, I want to feel them out. I want to know exactly what they expect to get out of the engagement. I want to know that they’ve tried, what success looks like, and how they’ll measure that success at the end of the day.
I also want to get aligned on a potential vision for the future. I might do some light coaching or make suggestions in the form of a question to see how coachable they are and whether we can get excited about a rough vision for the future.
I don’t try to solve their problems. I’m explicit about the fact that I can’t prescribe solutions until I diagnose.
But I do throw some thinking out there to see if it resonates. To show I understand their situation as well or potentially even better than they do in some ways.
One thing is for sure, I don’t rush the sale. I want to slow things down. I don’t get overly invested until I know both me and the client are sure this is a good fit.
Sometimes, this takes one or two phone calls. Other times, it might take a call or two (or three) separated by weeks or even months before the engagement begins.
That’s why I never understand people who try to qualify a lead in 15 minutes or limit discussions to a single call. There are too many factors to get right.
The main thing is to make sure I’m taking on clients who are a good fit and are bought into working with me.
The last thing you want to do is rush a sale and not get the important details right from the start.
P.S. I’m going into detail on my sales process during my workshop tomorrow on How to Design Highly Profitable Productized Advisory Services. This is your last chance to register for the live or recorded version, if you’re interested.