I will present my workshop “Become Your Own Boss:Effective Business Plan Writing” on Wednesday evenings October 10, 17 & 24 5:30 PM-7:30 PM at Boston Center for Adult Education. If you’ve been percolating a business idea that you’d like to launch, or would like to position for success the business you’re already operating, please register at http://bit.ly/RnyIBP .
It should come as no surprise that professional services clients approach buying, in this case hiring a Freelance consultant, with their own agenda. They are no different than you and me when we shop for a product or service. Sometimes we know exactly what we want and other times we need guidance. Some of us shop for designer labels that give us prestige when we flash the logo (Prada, Jaguar). Others like to get to know the owner and counter help at our favorite coffee shop and that relationship keeps us going back.
Jeff Tanner, professor of sales and marketing at the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor University in Waco, TX, recommends that you tailor your selling style to dovetail with the buying style of your prospect. “We all have our preferred selling style…..(but) I don’t always see entrepreneurs trying to understand the need from the buyer’s perspective”.
Here are three more ways to successfully win a sale by tuning in to what motivates your prospect:
IV. Tout your A-list clients
As William Shakespeare noted in “Othello”, reputation matters. Your reputation with other clients can make or break some deals. If and when you get the chance to work with a prestige client, be sure to get a testimonial. That will be your springboard to the next prestige client.
Many, if not most, large companies will not hire a Freelancer who has only worked with small organizations. They fear that the person does not have the capacity to adequately fulfill the job requirements. No client wants to have egg on their face for hiring the wrong consultant. Do what you can to leapfrog up the ladder by starting with small prestige clients and use those names as entree to the bigger fish.
V. When service matters
For some clients, it’s all about the quality of service. What happens after project completion may be a concern. Depending on your specialty, it could be good business to devise some post-sale service packages that give clients some support as they implement or utilize what has been developed (like a new website).
Project deadlines can also be an issue and producing a fast turn-around time may be especially important in winning an assignment. Speedy response to post-sale questions may be at top of mind for certain clients. To reassure those clients, the guarantee of completing a project within a specified time frame, or the guarantee of a response time, may be written into the project contract or retainer agreement.
VI. Close the deal now
Pay attention to your prospect’s body language to gauge whether he/she wants fast action. If the prospect seems anxious to move forward, by all means get on with it and cut to the chase. Wrap up final details by confirming your duties, the client’s expectations and any deadlines and get a verbal commitment to proceed that includes the project fee or hourly rate and start date. Ask your newest client to send the contract ASAP and you may even offer to sign one immediately, as soon as the mutually agreed-upon particulars have been added.
Thanks for reading,