Advice: "I'm a veteran salesman, I just quit my job to start my own business but I'm struggling to close deals"

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Dear Quota Team

I've had a long and successful career in sales, but I've always wanted to work for myself. After saving up enough cash to float myself for a while and signing my first client I took the leap 3 months ago and started my own consulting business. Things are going just okay so far. But as a salesman, I'm embarrassed to even admit this, but I've been struggling to close deals for myself. It just feels so different and I wasn't expecting this. I guess I didn't realize how much easier it was to sell when I was doing it for established companies that had years of trust built in with case studies, client referrals, brand awareness, and big marketing budgets. Any advice on how to close deals as a small business owner?

Embarrassed in Location Withheld 


Dear Embarrassed

Congrats on going off on your own. We won't sugarcoat it, it's a difficult endeavor but it can be a rewarding one. The first thing to remember is to have patience. You mentioned you just launched the business 3 months ago. You shouldn't expect to build a 6-figure business overnight (contrary to what grifters on the internet will tell you). You need to look at things over a longer time horizon. Think years, not months. Effort compounds, and if you stick with it, before you know it (and assuming your business provides value), you’ll have more clients than you can handle.  

It also sounds like you're used to selling for larger orgs. Selling your own consulting services is a different game. But just because you don't have the resources of a big company doesn't mean you're at a disadvantage, you just need to rethink your positioning. What you're really selling is yourself. You're convincing prospective customers that you're the right person to help solve their problems. Focus on the advantages you bring by being a small independent consultant, such as more attention to detail, better communication, faster turnaround times, and the level of care you’ll be able to put into your work.

Keep working at it, play to your advantages, and don't give up, even when it feels hard. You'll be closing more deals soon. Good luck on your journey!

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