If you get your promotional activities right, you’ll be faced with prospects on a regular basis. A prospect that is in front of you as a result of the right promotion will have a need for the service you provide and it’s your sales process that will convert that prospect into a paying client.
The duration and complexity of your sales process will depend to a large extent on the service you provide as a freelancer, but here’s an idea of my sales process to give you a notion of what you should expect:
- A prospect contacts me to find out if I’d be interested in pitching for their business, or I see a client brief listed on a freelancer site.
- If I am responding to a listing on a freelance site, I pull together all the evidence I have to convince the prospect that I am the right person to do their job and I work out my most competitive price. I then invest the required time to convert that evidence into a benefit-driven proposal that I send to the client, together with my portfolio and my best price.
- If a prospect contacts me to ask if I’d be interested in pitching for their business, I normally organise a Skype call or a telephone call to listen carefully to their needs and give them my best verbal pitch to convince them that I’m not only the best person to do the job they have in hand right now, but that I’m the best person to bring on board to partner them in achieving their objectives. If appropriate, I’ll send a proposal together with my portfolio to back up my verbal pitch.
- Once I have either sent a proposal or made a verbal pitch followed up with evidence, I will diary forward to contact the client within a five working day period (unless they suggest that their decision is more pressing than that). When I follow up, I make a point of re-stating what I can bring to the client’s business and say that I’m happy to discuss their project with them in more detail at a time that’s good for them.
- I continue to diary forward and keep the conversation open until the client has made a decision.
- Then hopefully the client decides to work with me, but when a client makes a decision to work with someone else, I always contact them to wish them luck and let them know that I’m there for them should things not work out as they hope. Although this may sound like an odd thing to do, two of my best clients have come back to me after choosing someone else on price grounds … and living to regret it!
Working out your sales process is a bit hit and miss if you’re new to freelancing, but imagining the process you’ll go through and being ready for each step will stand you in great stead in the early days. I couldn’t encourage you enough to invest the required time to do this and do it well.