How do I get my clients to trust me with larger projects?

QUESTION:

How do I get my clients to trust me with larger projects?  I run a software consulting practice. This includes consulting and staffing. In this really crowded space, I have actually managed to have a couple of clients who are very happy with my services and have been giving me work over the last 2 years. I would like to take this from an ad-hoc scenario to a consistent one. What I mean is: now that they know what I am capable of, I would like to approach my clients to entrust me with a complete project, which I could run with my team (rather than just me) and deliver. What’s the best way to approach this pitch?

ANSWER:

Naomi Kokubo

Naomi Kokubo

by Naomi Kokubo, Cofounder of Founders Space

If your clients are currently outsourcing these projects to 3rd parties, you can simply ask to bid on the project. By doing so, you are letting your clients know that you and your team are available for more than ad-hoc consulting work.  When you make a bid, be sure to include your company’s capabilities.  If your company does not have a track record in this area, the best thing you can do is to point to your team members’ track records and work experience.   If you’ve assembled an experienced team and you can communicate this to your clients, it will help them have confidence that you can deliver.

I’ve found that a simple PowerPoint or PDF is a good way to present your company and make a bid.  This document should clearly outline your team member and their backgrounds, the budget required, the time it will take, and your track record.   You also need to find out what the competition is offering.  You have to be competitive in terms of time and price.  That said, price isn’t everything.  If they trust you and like working with you, that can make all the difference.   I would avoid competing strictly on price.  I’d emphasize quality.   In the end, quality matters more than price, and this should be your primary selling point.

If your clients are not outsourcing any projects to 3rd parties, it’s much more difficult.  In this case, you not only have to convince them that you can do the job better than any competitors, but that you can do it better than an internal team.   Trying to get a company to outsource a project before they are ready is almost impossible.  What you can do is to let them know you’re available, so that when they make this decision, you come to mind first.   You can also be looking for smaller projects that your clients may need done but lack the internal resources to do in a timely manner.

I’d recommend asking every so often what your clients need to get done, and if it’s something that can be broken off into a small outsourced project, get them to give it to you.  The key is getting your clients used to giving you projects, no matter how small they are.  Treat them in exactly the same way you’d treat a larger project, and make sure to do an excellent job.  Overtime, you can work your way up to larger projects.

I hope this helps!

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