As a grant writer, we have one thing that is our biggest currency.
One thing we give and can’t get back.
If we’re not careful, prospective clients will steal it from us.
Now if we choose to give it, that’s our business. After all, our grant writer hearts probably enjoy giving back. But it should be our conscious choice, not the prospect’s.
Wanna guess what it is?
Yep, you guessed it. If the prospective client tries to monopolize our time and run the show during a discovery call with you as the grant writer, that’s:
- an indication of what it would be like to work with them, and
- sends a signal to them that you don’t value your own time as a grant writing consultant.
As a grant writer, you have a lot of expertise that they don’t. You have a specialized skill set that they need. And it takes time and brainpower to use that skill set as a service.
So how can we send a clear message that our grant writer time as a consultant is valuable? A few ways:
- It starts with your own mindset. Decide in advance how much time you’re willing to risk (or donate) to gain a potential client. 10 minutes? 2 hours? Fine – it’s your choice.
- Be proactive. Make sure your messaging and materials are clear from the beginning so you can pre-screen prospects. You only work with nonprofit animal shelters? Put that on your website. You only do grant writing for nonprofits in your state? Great – make it clear from the get-go.
- Set boundaries and expectations in advance for your grant writer time and politely stick to them.
- Schedule meetings or calls back to back so you’re accountable to a schedule.
- Consider saying something like, “We have 10 minutes left and I want to make sure we’ve covered your top questions in the remaining time.” Or even, “We’re almost out of time for today, but I’d love to work with you again on this. You’re welcome to book a follow-up session on my site at ____ (your website).”
- Think of your time like you would cash in your pocket. You’re on the way to meet friends for the evening and realize you forgot your card at home, so you’re limited to the $20 in your pocket. Use it wisely or you’ll be washing dishes to pay for that after-dinner creme brulee splurge.
I’ve had lots of prospect calls that didn’t go anywhere. I also had a two-hour coffee meeting with a stranger that turned into a 12-month contract. The time was worth the two hours and a $4 coffee.
Sometimes the risk pays off.
How do you handle the grant writer time tug-of-war?
What do you struggle with when it comes to clients and time?
You’re out with friends and only $20 in your pocket – how will you spend it?