You may not love selling, but you have to learn how to sell if you want your freelance business to thrive. You need a sales strategy in addition to your business strategy.
That doesn’t mean you have to act like a pushy sales person trying to twist people’s arms into buying something they don’t need.
From my personal experience, there are two very effective ways to sell from home – selling to your existing clients and using a referral system.
I’ve said this before and I’m going to say this again – it costs way more to attract new clients than to get your past clients to buy from you again. People who have had great experience working with you are more receptive to what you have to say and offer.
You don’t need to spend a lot of time selling yourself as an unknown product; instead, they are more open-minded to you and your message.
But simply staying in touch with your past and current clients and waiting for them to call is not enough. You have to be proactive. Here are a few tips on how to sell to your existing clients and encouraging them to bring referrals:
1- Keep the communication going
Just because the contract ends doesn’t mean you should stop communicating with your clients.
Always ask for their feedback immediately after the work is done – if it is a task that makes you uneasy, send a quick thank-you note with a request for their appraisal of your service. When at all possible, get a testimonial from your happy clients.
Then periodically get in touch with them (but not too frequently). You can ask for advice, such as “I’m currently looking for more projects do you know anyone who might be able to use my service?”
People love to give advice! But make sure you come across as sincere and polite. A little personal touch would help, too.
2- Be resourceful
Try to offer help to your target market through some media such as forums, social media sites or your email newsletters. It can be in the form of some handy tips you know that would help them improve their services or deal with a specific trend or issue.
If they have a troubling issue that you can’t help them solve, refer them to the appropriate resources even if it doesn’t bring you profit directly.
When you contact your clients, try to put some value to your call. It can be a good idea or a nice tip that your client might need. But don’t contact just for the sake of contacting.
When it comes to how to sell, it’s all about building relationships first.
3- Re-arrange your own service and products
Market needs may change all the time. Clients, particularly those with great growth potential, have different problems to solve at different stages. A very important how to sell tip is to constantly adjust what you have to offer.
If you have multiple talents, for example translation and graphic design, package them together for specific clients.
Are you ready to look into your current service and products and cater to the changing market?
Maybe you could consider offering additional or complementary services and products to your clients? Talk to your clients about the solution to their problems, don’t just focus on your service or product.
How do you know what they need? By talking to them, asking the right questions and building trust. Patience and hard work will cement your credibility.