Honesty time.  I used to be utterly rubbish at closing business deals and I've figured out some reasons why you might be sucking at closing, too! This isn't just for women or people who identify as women, there are men who suck this too, but I've found it's less of a problem for them.

1) Do you have a super strong value proposition?  You know your skill set, you know what work you can do to solve a problem and you know your work is stellarly strong, but unfortunately your potential clients don't.  So you have to tell them.  But if you can't sum up your value proposition, in one sentence, then you'll run into problems.

2) Do you believe in your value proposition?  If there's even the slightest hint that you don't believe in what you offer, you'll lose.  Any wobbles in the value of your service will be picked up smartly by your potential customer and it's all over rover.

3) How many personas do you have?  I have two.  The real me that is somewhat arrogant, extremely loud, creative and strategic thinker, no idea is a bad idea type of person.  People I know well or work with gets to see the real me and this other strange person that seems to pop up in situations where I feel intimidated or unprepared or spoken over pops up on other occasions and usually it's in  a closing situation.  This other persona is quiet, reserved, speaks only when spoken to etc.  Some people might prefer that side to me,  but it isn't authentic.  My clients refer me as the arrogant, experienced know it all with the loud and proud persona, not this quiet and reserved person - so often, the potential customer is confused when they meet me, sometimes feel like they've been sold a dud from their mate (one of my existing client's perhaps) and are left feeling uninspired and a bit ripped off that they didn't get the full LOUD experience of creative discussion they've been told about.  This is my biggest problem in closing and something I have to really work on!

4) It isn't in our nature to be pushy or particularly driven when it comes to claiming what the next steps are or taking control of a situation.  Mostly, I think we as women in business have this strange thing in us that holds us back from taking a sales opportunity to the next level.  

This is what we should be saying -  "thanks for your time, xyz, this is what's going to happen next - I'll send you a statement of work that we've agreed on just now and a terms letter that you'll sign and send back to me.  Then, we're going to kick off with the first phase, exciting, isn't it!"

But what we usually say is - "thanks for your time, xyz, come back to me when you've mulled over what we've talked about and let me know if you've got any questions'

I know if I were hiring a service, which one of those statements I'd rather hear from someone pitching!

5) Do you really want this business?  If you're not 100% excited by the prospect of actually doing the work you've proposed that you'll do, it'll show crystal clear in your pitch meetings and you'll lose out.  I mitigate this by doing a tonne of research on a company that has shown some interest in working with me.  If I'm not totally inspired, I tell them up front before we waste anyone's time.  And if this is the case for something you've been asked to pitch towards, there are other ways of getting around it - not being a subject matter expert in the field of the potential client is probably the best and easiest way to let someone down.  Saying you're too busy is a lame cop-out - don't ever do that.

As self-employed women in business, what else do you struggle with?  Let's get open kimono on it all and get better at business.  Comment below or feel free to flick me a tweet or an email!

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