Time flies at the speed of a jet aircraft when the money is running out…
Four weeks have elapsed since your last day in employment, yet work on securing that first commission has barely begun. It seemed at the outset that putting together a list of contacts shouldn't have taken long to produce – that was true of the first 10 names, after which the task became a slow process.
Calls to former colleagues, visits to websites and reference to out-of-date telephone lists had the effect of seeing the list increase gradually until it reached a shuddering halt at 50 names. A personal letter to each of them, recalling a past experience, gently introducing your services and a promise to telephone, set the right tone. The list of services fitted nicely onto an A4 sheet and the decision to outsource the printing, which was a low-cost affair, could turn out to be a good investment.
Your strategy was to try to winkle a commission out of your old boss and avoid putting together a proposal, but all this does is to delay the timing
It was now time to start the phone round. It became an extremely slow process to get to speak to your contacts. The number of times the response was that he or she was in a meeting gave the impression that the whole of the construction industry spends 90% of its time attending meetings. Requests for your call to be returned fell in the main on deaf ears.
You fully understand that those responsible for commissions of the sort you are seeking to secure take into account quality of service and price, but in the final analysis it all comes down to personal contacts. It is in most of us to appoint those with whom we enjoy a good personal relationship; and for those selling their services, nurturing personal relationships is a must if success is to be assured.
Your old boss seemed positive, but after about 20 minutes of chat he informed you that he would keep you in mind if anything came up
You managed to speak to 35 out of the 50 on the list and decided to put the remainder on the back burner for the time being. Appointments with 10 of your contacts were in the bag and you felt that you should get at least one commission, which, when all is said and done, will get the plane off the ground. The meetings are spread over two weeks and so you hope that if you strike oil at one of them, you will have met your initial objective of getting your first commission within three months of leaving your old employer.
You feel that, with all the spadework completed, the time is nearing to begin picking the fruit. The first meeting is with your old boss, who was very friendly when you spoke on the telephone. It seemed strange going into your old offices and seeing familiar faces. Your strategy was to try to winkle a commission out of your old boss and avoid if possible putting together a proposal, but all this does is to delay the timing of your commission and possibly allow a competitor to get in front. You know what the old firm pays for freelancers and sub-consultants and so you are able to pitch your rate accordingly. The first job being crucial, it would not be the ideal time to be haggling over the fees.
Your old boss did all the talking, as you expected. He seemed positive about the possibilities of using your services and mused as to when and how this could all happen. However, he obviously had other pressing matters on his mind, as after about 20 minutes of chat he informed you that he was pleased you were doing well and would keep you in mind if anything came up. This called for a stiff drink on the way home and a review of the strategy.