Doing a little bit of the work upfront can lead to 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 diffentiated 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!
Enjoyed this article?
Join my newsletter to learn when new products are launched, as well as other stories from the trenches. People from great companies like Facebook and Hubspot read my newsletter.