Front-loading the work

Do not index
Do not index
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Doing a little bit of the work upfront can lead to a massive upside.
I first learned about this when I was in college, back in 2011. I was trying to get clients for my agency and I was doing a lot of email outreaches. Luckily, some of those secured me meetings with prospective clients.
 
At that time I was following Ramit Sethi, a financial guru, and best-selling author, and he would talk about the “briefcase technique“.
 
The technique was basically about coming prepared to a meeting. I would create long, in-depth PDFs about how I could help the prospect before the meeting, and then after the chat, right before the end of the meeting, I would say something along the lines of: “Btw, I’ve actually prepared this report for you with X things you can change/improve to reach Y”. That alone differentiated me from the competition.
 
The key part, I found, was going through it with the potential client, and not just email him/her the PDF. This showed the client that I was not afraid to do the work and that I was already invested in improving their business. Lately, I’ve been thinking how this can translate to SaaS. I love low-touch, self-serve SaaS products, but from time to time I really like to get to know my customers better and provide custom solutions for them (for the right price).
 
I’ve been experimenting with front-loading the work in enterprise sales. What I do is spending a couple of hours building a solution or fine-tuning a software I already have to meet the requirements of specific clients that would be a good fit for my SaaS.
 
Sometimes I know what these requirements are because I talk to them, but other times I’m going with what I think would help them based on my experience and intuition.
 
I didn’t close any sale as of now, so I will continue to experiment – but I did foster some conversations.
 
While doing this, I found that clients tend to self differentiate:
  • some clients love the proactiveness and are genuinely interested in moving the conversation forward;
  • some other try to stall and think they can get more free work; in their mind because I did some work upfront and can do more, so that leads to a discount mentality.
 
Hope this helps!
Mike