I heard yesterday of a couple of companies with whom I’ve worked falling victim to something of a scam artist, purportedly offering to help them with business development. I was also recently chatting to someone who was relatively new into the world of free range working, and exploring how I go about selling.
The thing is I’m both simultaneously selling myself all of the time and also never consciously seeking to sell my services. That’s a bit paradoxical, but I think also makes some sort of sense.
I work out loud. That’s not a sales tactic, or a strategy for “content marketing”. It’s simply the way I’m able, as a sole trader, to make sense of the world around me. By writing about what I do I’m pointedly reflecting on experiences to learn from them. Sometimes people engage with that thinking because they can relate to it. Someone’s they have ideas to share. At other times it resonates and they are interested to find out more. Sometimes work cones from these engagements. That’s how I sell. It’s not really selling.
Certainly not in the business development sense of the term. I have no qualms about passing something that comes up onto someone else without fee or commission; a business development person would want a cut of that deal, quite rightly, because selling is their business. Which is why, for small businesses like mine I couldn’t possibly outsource it.
But I also tend not to go through traditional channels. I build relationships because I find people and organisations endlessly fascinating. Sometimes they lead to work. In all cases they enrich my (and hopefully their) knowledge and world view. Again, this isn’t something that I could outsource. People come to me with requests for how I might be able to help them; I don’t go seeking for tenders to which to respond.
I’m always selling. I’m never selling. It seems to pay the bills.