When we figure out what makes a client want to become a client, we can then make that person a client. Does that sound too obvious? It is and it’s true. Before the meeting, we must first realize that each prospect is an unique individual and so a cookie-cutter sales spiel will not work and second, when we do get a chance to sit down with him/her, we must learn what his/her priorities are and then sell to those priorities. What will give a prospective client the confidence to offer you a contract?
Learning that involves listening skills and that means it’s wise to let the prospective client do most of the talking during your meeting. All we have to do is listen and respond in kind. George W. Dudley, Chairman of the Behavioral Sciences Research Press in Dallas, TX, recommends that to seal the deal, it’s imperative to structure your sales pitch to cater to the trigger that will give you the green light. Here are three common agendas that clients will have in mind as they evaluate whether or not they’d like to do business with you:
I. Just the facts
If your prospect is detail oriented, then tightly focus on what your product or service will do for him/her. Think features and benefits plus credible third party support. This type does not enjoy small talk or being asked a series of questions, unless they serve to refine the needs and objectives of the project. He/she has a very good grasp of the project scope and the expertise required for successful execution. He/she has a high regard for quantifiable data and has probably researched not only you, but also your competitors. This person doesn’t want to be your buddy, he/she just wants to get the job done by whomever can demonstrate a solid track record of results.
II. Be an adviser
At the opposite end of the spectrum, there are those prospects who don’t quite know what they’re looking for. In that case, you have the opportunity to educate. Ask lots of questions about the scope of the project and show the client how you can apply your expertise to ensure that objectives are achieved. As you help this prospect to make a decision, you may be able to up-sell.
III. Make it personal
Some clients prefer to establish a relationship with their Freelancers. Here is where you lay the groundwork for repeat business, which is a beautiful thing. Solid interpersonal skills are required and it may take some time to build trust and get your foot in the door. It will be necessary to demonstrate that you care about the organization and that you’re willing to spend time on customer service, answering questions, training staff, etc. You must be attentive and not just in it for a quick sale.
More next week and thanks for reading,