An ongoing theme throughout Seal the Deal is avoiding self-sabotage— learning ways to get out of your own way. For example, know when to stop talking. Listening is the key to getting golden nuggets of information from your prospects as well as to eventually getting the business. Use silence to put the ball in their court.
No one likes to be pitched. It is better to use the time to determine with the prospect if it makes sense to do business together. Analyze their needs, their situation, what they are committed to doing/accomplishing, and where you might help. Approach the conversation with the assumption that you may not be the best match for their needs—and a willingness to walk away.
In the long run, 80 percent of your business comes from 20 percent of your clients, so focus on providing excellent customer care and seeking repeat business from current clients. Ask them for referrals frequently throughout the engagement life cycle. Do not just ask for referrals at the end of a project, but plant seeds at the beginning and make referral requests throughout your service cycle with a client.