According to client acquisition coach and best-selling author Brian Hilliard (Networking Like A Pro  with David Alexander and Ivan Misner), the most vital task for B2B service providers is to organize and articulate your company’s services in a way that makes it easy for prospective clients to understand what you do. As the in-house marketing and sales expert, the Freelancer must create marketing messages and sales pitches that enable prospects to figure out how and when to work with you.
Yet the unfortunate tendency is for Freelancers to present their services as all things to all people, preventing prospects from getting a handle on what you can do for them (and I’ve done this, BTW). Casting a wide net may seem like a winning strategy, but in reality it often results in a bewildered and frustrated prospect who doesn’t know how to use your expertise—so they don’t. It’s essential to help prospects see solutions in your services if you expect to make sales and build a client list. Getting specific is the way to do it, Hilliard says:
- Promote your services to prospects with the motive and money to do business
- Define your services using terminology and selling points that the prospect will understand
- Demonstrate that you can deliver requested services and ensure desired outcomes
- Price at a level that clients accept and also generates a good profit for you
In your next prospect meeting, when you’re asked “Tell me more about what you do?” give an example of how you’d implement the basic option and the premium option of a service that fits with what s/he might need. Since you will have become specific, you can expect that your prospect will then become comfortable enough to reveal specifics about his/her reason for speaking with you. When you hear the details, you can then provide more precisely tailored versions of your basic and premium options.
Next, although it will take both courage and discipline, stop talking and let the prospect ask questions or provide feedback on your proposed solutions. Expect to be asked if you’re able to further customize a solution and of course you’ll gladly do so. Whatever you can do to add value will increase your chance of getting the sale.
Finally, there will be the price negotiation. Ask for the amount of the project budget, to increase the chance that you’ll present an acceptable (verbal) estimate for your services. If it seems to you that in order to provide the requested services your estimate might somewhat exceed the client’s budget, be willing to negotiate. When you’ve shown the prospect that you can speak to and address what s/he needs, you’ll probably sign a contract and a new client will join your roster.
Thanks for reading,
Image: Isidor Kaufmann (1853-1921, Austro-Hungarian) A Business Secret, 1917 private collection