When I was training as a professional coach at Coach University, I learned a very powerful thing:

Play to the strong, not to the weak. (More on this, here)

In essence, that means that you don’t spend any more time than is absolutely necessary on folks you know don’t get you, don’t like you, don’t want what you offer., etc.

In the context of your virtual assistance practice, these are the folks at networking events whose eyes glaze over as you do your elevator speech, those who want to tell you your fees are too high, those who indicate during an interview that you will be working FOR them… I bet you get the idea just from those few examples.

The point is… maybe, some day in the future, those folks will be in a different place, and will understand what you do and the value you present. But if they don’t get it now, you shouldn’t waste your time on ’em; it’s like trying to teach a pig to sing.

Never attempt to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.

Your time is one of your most valuable resources. Every second you spend marketing is a second you can’t spend on billable work, time with your family, or whatever else may call to your heart. So in marketing, you need to be truly judicious and strategic on how you spend your time. It’s best spent on those whose eyes light up when you start to talk about what you do or about a great idea you have; who don’t even bat an eye over your fees, and who get excited about the idea of a collaborative and long-term partnership and start to rattle off all the cool things you can do together.

And you can qualify any prospect in three minutes or less. How? By getting to know your ideal client so intimately, that you recognize her like a long-lost sister when she shows up.

Three minutes. If you know her deeply, you don’t need more time. Listening for just three minutes should give you everything you need to know whether she stands a chance of getting a place in your practice. If so, talk on. Explore possibilities with your whole heart.

But if not, excuse yourself and walk away. Virtual assistants with moxie don’t spend gobs of time trying to “educate” people or trying to talk themselves into making clients fit who just don’t fit. They have strong introductions that work and they rely on them and on their listening and discernment skills. if people don’t get it, smart VAs know that’s ok…and they move on to find people who do.

Be one of those VAs. Learn to know in three minutes. Your practice and life will thank you.