Selling is a huge part of a Freelancer’s job, because we don’t survive if we don’t sell someone on the idea of hiring us. In other words, a Freelance consultant is a salesperson first and foremost, regardless of the services we provide. We must keep our selling skills razor-sharp and be forever mindful of what a prospective client needs and wants.
Before you waste time making some grandiose presentation in your next prospective client meeting, put yourself into the shoes of the person or team you’re trying to sell. Because you’re in business too, you know that every day (or so it seems) someone is trying to sell you something that you probably don’t need.
Take this reality test first. Whenever you buy or sell anything, ask yourself these three questions, which will be approached from your personal point of view when buying and from your prospect’s point of view when selling:
1. What do I need this for?
2. Why do I need yours?
3. Why do I need it now?
These are simple and uncomplicated questions, but they’re not always easy to answer. When you can convincingly address these questions from the client’s perspective, I guarantee that you’ll be able to sell them (assuming that they have the budget). This exercise forces us to a deeper, less self-absorbed way of thinking about what we sell and how we sell it and will result in a more effective sales presentation.
The first question, “Why do I need this?” forces the seller to expertly define the value proposition. In the pre-sales meeting discussion, ask questions that will help you understand why you’re being invited to meet with this prospect, what the pressing needs and hot buttons are and what the client may be worried about.
Understand the objectives and how whatever it is you do fits into the big picture. Begin to understand how what you offer can successfully achieve those objectives and ensure realization of the big picture goal. Then, figure out how to express the value of what you bring in language the client will understand.
The second question, “Why do I need yours?” is when the seller describes the unique differentiators, the competitive advantages. What would make the prospect pay you to supply this product or service? Here is where we describe that which sets us apart, why we’re better than the rest, why it makes sense to go with us. Answers to this question are formed in bullet points. They are crisp and clear, easy to express and remember.
The last question, “Why do I need it now?” is the most important of the three. Here is where the seller states the most compelling drivers—the need, pain, opportunity, event, etc., that will cause the prospect to make the decision to use your product or service and commence the buying process immediately and not at some yet-to-be-determined point in the future.
This question makes us think seriously about prime motivators and how to eloquently and succinctly express them to the prospect and make him/her want to do the deal right now. Is the need for your product or service an immediate priority?
If you’ve taken the initiative to approach the client rather that the other way around, you may find that you’re ahead of the curve, that you’re presenting a course of action that the prospect isn’t prepared to take, that he/she hasn’t yet bought into. If that is the case, you will have a long market education cycle ahead of you and may well end up empty-handed. Conversely, you may learn that you’re too late and the need for your solution has passed.
Nevertheless, however you mange to get yourself in front of a prospect, answering these three questions first will serve you well every time.
Thanks for reading,