Clients are the greatest asset of any freelance business. Discover 13 easy to implement sales tactics you can use to shorten the sales cycle and turn more leads into clients.
Most freelancers dislike everything about the sales process, but they love the end result: gaining a new client. So while selling a prospect on how great you are may feel icky and uncomfortable, making sales is a necessity if you want to stay in business.
I’m one of those people who doesn’t particularly enjoy the sales process:
- I don’t want to have to convince someone else I’m worth investing in or worth hiring
- I don’t want to regale a lead with tales of my greatness and success to turn them into a new client (ew!)
- I don’t want to spend hours jumping through hoops or sitting on multiple phone calls or in meetings with someone who might not even hire me
But here’s the thing: Clients are the greatest asset of any freelance service-based business.
I figured out pretty quickly that if I wanted to land new clients and grow my freelance business, I needed to get comfortable with sales conversations — or better yet, I needed to shorten the sales cycle so I could close sales faster and get more clients with less effort.
Here are the top 13 ways I have found to shorten the sales cycle and get more clients for your freelance business:
01. Build Rapport With Testimonials
Testimonials that demonstrate a before, during, and after help prospects see themselves achieving the same thing when working with you. This recognition of value and possible achievement will build rapport with prospective clients before they even contact you.
By leveraging testimonials that tell stories on your website, in your marketing materials, and even in your proposals and sales contracts, you remind prospects that you have helped others just like them achieve similar goals.
02. Build Trust With Case Studies
Every bit of effort put into your sales and marketing efforts needs to be aimed at building trust and positioning you as the only choice in the eyes of your ideal clients. When prospective clients come to the sales call already trusting you, you are able to better focus on their needs and goals on the sales call.
Case studies are one of the most effective ways to quickly build trust, showcase your expertise, and encourage prospects to reach out. Case studies give you the opportunity to:
- Walk a prospect through the design and development process step-by-step, in a safe, non-salesy way
- Show prospects what you can do for them and what kind of results they can achieve
- Squash objections, fears, or concerns
- Demonstrate what’s possible and inspire them to take action
03. Provide An FAQ
When a prospective client fills out your inquiry form, consider providing an FAQ sheet on the Thank You page. By giving them a list of frequently asked questions up front, you can set the prospective client at ease, establish your expertise and professionalism, and build excitement about the sales call. The FAQ sheet will also answer basic questions before the call.
04. Identify All Of The Stakeholders
Have you ever gotten 30-40 minutes into a sales conversation only to discover that you are speaking to a middle man who is not the decision maker? Or, have you ever gotten partway through a project only to have someone you’ve never even heard of step into the project and make changes or blow the whole thing up?
If this has ever happened to you, here are two things you need to do during the sales process:
- Speak with the primary stakeholders and main decision makers to help eliminate future misunderstanding and confusion. Make sure that from the start, the person paying your bill understands the full scope of work, budget, and timeline.
- Identify all stakeholders. Often there isn’t just one person making the decision about your work, but a committee of people that will want/need to provide opinions. Ask up front who the stakeholders are and don’t be afraid to ask, “Is this everyone? Is there anyone else that may show up mid-project and want to be involved?”
05. Focus On The Client’s Why And Needs
Contrary to popular belief, the sales call isn’t all about you, what you do, and why you’re great — it is about your client, why they are reaching out now, why this project, what they need, and the difference getting it done will make in their business.
On a successful sales call, there needs to be a natural give and take in the conversation, but overall, you should be asking questions and the client should be doing most of the talking.
- In the first half of the sales call, keep the conversation focused on the client, their emotional why and their needs.
- In the second half of the call, after you’ve listened, validated, and made an emotional connection with the client, it’s time to talk features and specifics so you can create an accurate proposal.
06. Create Unique Packages
Many times, when prospects reach out about working with you, they are also reaching out to other freelancers. They want to speak with you and receive a proposal so they can compare your proposal side-by-side with your competitor’s proposal.
While comparing apples to apples is easy, comparing apples to fully cooked meals is much more difficult. By creating unique packages, it becomes much more difficult to compare you with your competitors and go with the lowest price because the items being compared are not the same. With unique packages, prospects must evaluate the total package, deliverables, and value, instead of just the price — and that is worth its weight in gold because when you compete on price, no one wins.
07. Offer Limited-Time Rewards
If a potential client is on the fence, offer them a limited-time reward — something awesome they will receive only if they sign the contract and pay the deposit by a certain date. A limited time offer looks something like this:
“If we get the signed contract and deposit by [DATE], we can:
- Begin your project on [DATE]
- Include [SMALL FEATURE] at no extra charge
- Get the project done by [DATE]
- Add [SERVICE] at no extra charge
- Include [SERVICE] without extending the launch date”
08. Increase The Project Value With Bonuses
Consider including bonus items in your packages to not only set them apart from the competition’s packages but make it a no-brainer to hire you. Any bonuses offered need to be relevant to your prospective client’s project and help them move forward with their overall business goals.
Consider offering bonuses such as:
- Checklists and templates
- Ebooks or reports
- How-to guides or manuals
- Resources and tools
- An extra training session or webinar
- A free copy of a product or program you sell
09. Train Prospects To Say Yes Throughout The Sales Process
The entire sales call comes down to getting the prospective client to agree that you’re the best choice. Train your client to say yes by providing opportunities to agree with you throughout the sales conversation on small details. This way, when the time comes to say yes to hiring you, it feels natural and easy.
To do this, you can add short questions to the end of statements you make, like:
- Is that right?
- Do you know what I mean?
- Wouldn’t you agree?
- Are we on the same page?
- Does that make sense?
10. Provide Payment Options
Make it easy for leads to say yes by eliminating price objections and offering flexible payment options and payment plans.
- Accept a variety of forms of payment, including cash, check, bank transfer, PayPal, and credit cards.
- Offer automatic payment plans, or payment plans based on project milestones.
- Work with clients to invoice according to their needs, rules, timelines, or requirements. Some may not pay an invoice unless the purchase order is included, some may need invoices 30 days in advance, and some may require you to send them by mail.
The only parts of payment you need to stand firm on are:
- Receiving payment on time
- Receiving the nonrefundable deposit
11. Leverage Urgency and Scarcity
Using urgency and scarcity as a sales tactic only works if it is done with integrity. Being dishonest and deceitful about urgency and scarcity is one of the quickest ways to erode trust and lose a potential client.
In client services, the concepts of urgency and scarcity apply to the fact that there is a limit on your availability, capacity, and time and if the prospective client doesn’t act now, they may lose the opportunity to work with you or meet their deadline.
If you’re almost booked out or you have very little time open in your schedule, let the prospective client know:
“We’re almost completely booked solid. We would love to work with you on your exciting project, but if we don’t receive the signed contract by [DATE], we won’t be able to fit your project in until [LATER DATE].”
If the client has a strict launch deadline, but they are dragging their feet on signing the contract, let them know:
“If we don’t have a signed contract by [DATE], we will no longer be able to work within the initial timeline we discussed.”
12. Ask For The Sale
The sales process doesn’t end until you have a signed contract in hand and the first non-refundable deposit made. If you stop actively courting a potential new client, you will lose the sale. It is imperative that you stay in contact, follow up, and stay top of mind consistently until you hear a definitive yes or no.
The bigger the project is, the longer the sales process will be. Depending on the size of the project, you may want to:
- Send a link to an article or resource relevant to their project or business
- Offer to answer questions
- Offer to come in an meet with all stakeholders
- Provide an idea you had for their project to let them know you have been thinking about it and are excited to work together
- Send a snail mail note thanking them for the opportunity to talk about their project
13. Reinforce Your Expertise
When the sales call is over, reinforce your expertise by providing the client with an opportunity to learn something new from you.
- Let the client know that you gave a talk at [EVENT] that is relevant to their project and send them a link to the slide deck
- Send the client a link to a blog post you wrote that is directly tied to a part of their project or their website goals
- Provide a link to a guest post you wrote on a website that would impress them
- Share a link to a webinar or online training you offered that would help them gain clarity about their project
Providing the prospective client a resource like this gives them something to do while you put together the proposal, and reinforces your expertise and experience.
Making More Sales Is Easier Than You Think
As you can see from these 13 ways to close sales faster and get more clients for your freelance business, making more sales is easier than you think. None of the tactics outlined are difficult to implement and they all position you as the best choice so you can turn more leads into clients with ease.
Next Steps: Review your sales process and document it step-by-step. Then compare this list with your own process to see where you can add something extra to delight prospective clients and shorten the sales cycle.
This article/video was originally written and published as 13 Ways To Close More Sales And Get More Clients For Your WordPress Agency for Liquid Web.