I’ll be writing for Liquid Web now, and today I talked about the difference between buyers and gatekeepers. Most importantly, why you should be talking to buyers and how to figure out if you’re talking to the buyer of a project.
While it can be flattering to be asked to quote on a project, it can also be a huge waste of time. When I started freelancing, I’d send a proposal as long as I figured that the person requesting it had blood flowing through their veins. This meant losing almost every proposal I sent, because I did no work to qualify them as a good client. A good client in the early days was anyone with cash to spend.
Most often initial clients failed because I wasn’t talking to the end buyer of the project. Instead, I was talking to the purchasing department, the marketing manager, or the IT department. These people were tasked with finding proposals for the end buyer to look over.
When you’re not talking to the end buyer of the project, then you’re never sure that you’re getting the correct answers about what is most valuable to them. If you’re not talking to the purchaser of the work, then you’re talking to a gatekeeper and all they can do is say no to the project; they cannot give the green light.
Here are four questions I go through as I’m talking to prospects to figure out if I’m talking to gatekeepers or buyers.