Okay, you might be one of the few people who can close a deal faster than me. There’s probably 1 or 2 out there. 😉
Kidding aside, I do know the MOST important sales tactic, and I learned it the hard way. Take advantage of my experience to save yourself a lot of stress and regret…
My first business sucked! Definition of sucking: Not making enough money for your time.
I had no problem finding customers, or providing quality services. But I still wasn’t making enough money.
Dealing with potential customers just took FORR-EVV-ERR. I had trouble communicating my value, identifying their needs, and collecting their money quickly.
So I used this basic strategy to fix my business:
Simple 3-Step Troubleshooting Strategy
- Identify the Problem. My problem was a sales problem! If you think about it, you can define sales as “any interaction with a potential customer that can affect your revenue.”
- Define Your Focus. For me it was selling faster and creating good products and services –something that makes the customer happy. Period. Anything else is subjective.
- Create a Plan to Execute. This is the secret, and this is what ALL great freelancers do! They all have some kind of plan or strategy. A plan helps you focus on making quick sales, while still providing value and making the customer happy.
Here’s the plan I made to win new clients over faster:
Step 1 – Build Trust and Rapport
This is the first step in any new relationship.
If you’re reaching out to someone for the first time, you need to do one of two things: offer to help them or establish a friendship. If you don’t, they will just think you are trying to sell them something (which you are).
It’s good practice to think of all potential customers as friends – friends that you truly want to help. This will ensure you are providing value and building trust.
Step 2 – Set the Agenda
Once they show some interest in your services, it’s time to set the agenda. This is the first step in the deal-closing process, and it’s your way to take control of the situation. You do this by telling the potential customer what to expect from you at each stage.
Step 3 – Figure Out What They Want
This is where you get the customer to tell you EXACTLY what they think they need and what they’re willing to pay you for it. You can always adjust their expectations, and try to convince them to change their target price or their service choices. But first, you need to get an idea of where they stand.
Think of some questions that will get the customer to tell you what they want. You can make the questions detailed or simple; more detailed information may give you a deeper understanding of what is important to the customer.
I don’t like asking them for a specific budget, because that can be limiting. If price is super important, it will come across in the other questions. And start by quoting high, because you can always do it for less if they say no.
Step 4 – Show How You Benefit Them
Once you have a good idea of what they want, and how much they are willing to pay, you need to show them exactly how you plan on meeting and exceeding their expectations.
Explain everything you’ll do for them, and how awesome the results will be. If you can tailor the benefits to what you know they need, then they’ll be dying to hear the price.
Step 5 – Propose and Close
At this point, you want the customer to feel totally comfortable because you understand their needs. Now you just need to deliver a custom proposal based on those needs, along with a quote.
Remember, this is all very liquid. In fact, plan on making some changes to your first proposal 9 out of 10 times. If you quote them 5k they could say “Holy shit, that’s a lot of money!” Or they could say “Sweet, when do we get started?” I’ve seen both reactions.
That first response is no problem at all. They’re still ready to buy. They just need something a little cheaper; so offer them a package with fewer features, and work with them until you find their comfort zone. You’ll have built up enough of a relationship by now that they probably won’t go somewhere else to buy, as long as you keep up the good communication.
Once I put this plan into action, I doubled my customers per month. If you implement just one step from this plan, I GUARANTEE you will close more deals.
Even if your freelance business is already making a killing, you can always find room for improvement. The best entrepreneurs and sales people are always looking for new ways to be more efficient. And you should too!
Leave a comment to tell me about your sales strategy, or how you improved your business. If it’s really awesome, I’ll promote it. 🙂