Whether you’re a freelancer or startup founder, sales are key to your business’ success. It doesn’t matter whether your product or service is the best on the planet if you can’t successfully convince people to do business with you. That’s why the #1 thing that determines whether freelancers & startup founders succeed or fail…is whether they have good sales and marketing skills.
It’s easy enough to get prospects interested. They have a problem, you have a solution. Obviously, anyone with a problem is interested in solving it. But getting them to actually commit? That’s a science and an art.
And to complicate matters, too many freelancers & solopreneurs feel that “sales” is inherently slimy, something to be abhorred. But when you see sales not as some selfish & disgusting, necessary evil, but as a means of providing genuine service? That’s when your sales start to grow.
So how do you move a potential new client from doubt to “do you take a cheque”? Here are a few slime-free sales tactics you can use to close the deal – without selling your soul in the process.
Overcome Hesitation with Glowing Testimonials & Past Results
Oftentimes, hesitant clients just don’t know enough about you and your track record to feel comfortable bringing you on board for a project. Even if you say all the right things, they may still feel skeptical because, well, they aren’t in a position to objectively judge whether what you’re saying is right.
But by providing testimonials from past clients – or even better, specific campaign results – you can replace their uncertainty with facts and give them indisputable proof that you know what you’re doing.
And the more relevant your testimonials and results? The better. When your potential new client can put themselves in the shoes of a past client, they can visualize themselves doing business with you. It also shows that you know what you’re doing, that you’re reliable, and that you can be trusted to do a good job.
Answer Objections Honestly and Optimistically
Doubt is natural. It’s expected. Your potential new clients are going to doubt what you have to say, and they’re going to come up with reasons to not work with you. That’s just how the human mind works – it’s always looking for reasons not to do something. (Stupid slacker brain being all lazy.)
And if you don’t answer a potential new client’s objections – even the objections they never voice – you’ll send the message to the client, whether explicit or implicit, that you simply don’t have an answer to those objections.
If you sense that your potential client has objections they’re not verbalizing, if they don’t seem ready to commit, that’s when it’s time to probe a little deeper and see what’s up. Ask questions like “Is there any reason why you wouldn’t want to do business with me?” and “What would be your biggest concern with respect to this project?” to get to the heart of the objections. Once you know what the prospect is really thinking, you can answer the objection and win the prospect’s confidence.
Creating Urgency: Why Should They Act Right Now?
People are busy. They’re constantly working on awesome new stuff, and more often than not, their drive to accomplish those priorities will override any considerations about external consultants or companies. And beyond just the day-to-day of running their business or doing their job well, chances are they have a busy personal life, too – a personal life full of important occasions like helping friends move into a new house, or planning birthday parties for the kids, or taking the dog to the vet.
In other words: They have a thousand things going on that are more important than you. So if you want them to act on a project proposal, you have to give them a reason to act now – not 2 weeks from now, not 2 months from now, but right now, this minute, this second.
Maybe this is a case study that proves the value of what you do. Maybe it’s an industry stat about the cost of not doing business with you, something that plays on their FOMO (fear of missing out). Whatever it is, it needs to answer the question: “Why should I do business with you now instead of 6 months from now?”
Sales is an essential part of any business, and knowing how to close a sale is the difference between famine and a four or five-figure payday. Try using some of these tactics to close your prospects and see what difference it makes to your conversions.
How are you closing sales with your potential new clients? Do you feel “slimy” when you sell? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments!
Bland to Brand is written by Mike Straus, a copywriter, journalist, marketing genius, walking pun factory, and longtime coLab community member. Each post is part of a larger series to help YOU and YOUR small business succeed in a landscape that is becoming more and more saturated every day. Like what you’re reading? Find out more about Mike and his work at Brand Gesture.