Over the last 7 years of selling freelance services, I’ve picked up on a few things that repeat themselves. If you do apply any of them, you’ll hopefully avoid learning a lesson the hard way.
Embed yourself in their business
Once a customer shows interest in working with you, spend time learning about their business. Not only will this give you an edge in selling, it will make you a better freelancer. Put together a proposal after asking a lot of questions and doing your research. Tailor your solution to their circumstance, industry, and location. Focus on adding as much value as possible, even if it’s outside your remit.
Practice it, and get used to it. If you have a gut feeling, go with it. There are plenty more good clients out there and if one is giving you a dodgy feeling about payment terms or project scope, drop them.
Don’t cut costs
It’s tempting to win work by being cheaper. But your motivation will decrease and the quality of work will go down. Charge the amount that makes you feel happy and confident about doing the work. If they can’t afford it then decrease the scope of the work.
Run the numbers
Try and talk to A LOT of people. Having a wide funnel helps you figure out who your ideal client is, what their problems are and how best to serve them. Once you start learning more about your customers, your conversion rate will improve. I used to send out 1–5 initial messages every day, resulting in about a 30% conversion rate to initial phone call and just a 3% conversion to a closed deal.
Stop selling, start listening
Ask questions and find out as much as possible about the customer, their business, and their problems. Don’t sell preconceived solutions to problems that don’t exist. Basically, don’t assume you know it all.
Move the process along as quickly as you can. This will push better clients to the top of your list and discard ones who aren’t serious. If a problem is worth solving, it’s worth solving today.
Always think long term
Under promise and over deliver is a cliche, but it works if your goal is to keep customers coming back. Selling your time is awful for scaling, but building a brand can help you scale further than you think.
Do all the work
Don’t make your customers think. Don’t leave it to them to follow up with you or suggest the next step. Always have a plan and always keep moving. If you lose a customer because they didn’t get around to doing something, you should have done it for them.
Ask for the sale
Rarely do people pay you for things without you asking first. Closing more deals could be as simple as asking for them. For example, asking when a customer wants to get started is weak. Telling them you want to get started tomorrow and asking for a deposit is better.