Great List! I would think that increased accountability is also a reason why clients use freelancers
10 Reasons Clients Buy from Freelancers
Whether you’re offering your services or a product such as an eBook or WordPress theme, if you can’t sell then you won’t get any clients. So, every freelancer should learn more about sales.
In this post, we’ll talk specifically about the reasons that many clients decide to make a purchase. We’ll also talk about how you can use the information you learn about your clients to become better at sales.
10 Reasons Clients Buy
What causes a client to make a purchase decision?
Surprisingly, while need may drive a client to shop, need rarely closes a sale. That’s because for nearly everything that a potential client might need there are usually multiple freelancers to choose from.
If need doesn’t cause a client to make a final purchase decision, what does?
Here are ten sales motivators that every freelancer needs to know and understand:
- Price–I put this sales motivator on the list, not because it is the most important, but because it is out there. There are, in fact, clients who make their purchase decisions based primarily on price. However, if you’re serious about earning a living as a freelancer, this should not be the group that you target.
- Prestige–It is true that some people purchase a product or service for the prestige of it. For most freelancers, however, this will not be the sales motivation for your clients. Even extremely well known freelancers find that they are not so well known outside of freelancing circles. However, if you happen to be famous…
- Convenience–This is a huge motivator for many clients. If a client perceives that you have made the purchase easier for them, they are more likely to buy from you. Remember, that there is also a convenience factor tied to getting repeat business. It is often easier for a client to work with a freelancer that they already know.
- Reputation–A freelancer’s reputation is a crucial asset that needs to be protected. A good freelancing reputation is priceless, while a bad freelancing reputation can sink a business. This is why I always advise freelancers to be careful about what they do and say online.
- Fear–Fear can be a powerful motivator. A prospect may be afraid for many reasons. They may be afraid to use your services. Or, they may be afraid not to use your services. If you think fear is affecting one of your clients, it’s a good idea to discover the root of their fear.
- Expectations–To some extent, building expectations is what sales is all about. If your client expects great things from you, then they are more likely to buy from you. Just make sure that you can actually live up to their high expectations, or you may ultimately have an unhappy client on your hands.
- Trust–Most business relationships are based on trust, but this is especially true for those freelancers who do their work online. This is because many clients don’t get to meet their freelancers face-to-face. If a potential client doesn’t believe that you will deliver they will not buy.
- Relationship–Relationship is linked to trust. If you can build a strong relationship with a potential client, they are more likely to hire you when they are looking for someone with your skillset. People prefer to do business with those who they know and are comfortable with.
- Value–Over and over again I’ve stressed that value needs to be a big part of any freelancer’s marketing program. If you can’t provide real value to your clients nearly all of the other motivators will be negatively impacted.
- Add-ons–Everybody loves a bargain. Or, at least, almost everybody does. Bundling services and products together can help push an undecided prospect towards becoming a client. This is especially true if they believe that they are getting a good deal. What can you add on to your services to make them irresistable?
What to Do Now
Take a look at this list of sales motivators. How are you selling your freelancing business?
If you’re using a negative motivator, such as price or fear, try to switch your marketing so that you’re motivating your clients in a more positive way. Try focusing on value and trust instead.
If you didn’t recognize any of these motivators, it may be time to talk to your clients. Find out what factor really caused them to buy.
Finally, after reviewing the list, you may be able to discover a new marketing direction for your freelancing business.
Did I forget any sales motivators? Which ones?
Which motivator causes most of your clients to make a purchase from you?
Share your answers in the comments.
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February 15th, 2012 at 12:48 pm
February 15th, 2012 at 2:57 pm
Thanks Suzanne. That’s a great addition to the list.
February 15th, 2012 at 8:06 pm
Thanks for the list. Value is probably the best one for me to focus on right now while attracting new clients.
February 16th, 2012 at 9:51 am
I’m always struck by the thoroughness of your lists, Laura, because they really illustrate just how much variability there can be within freelancer business approaches.
For me, everything revolves around and/or falls into place with the relationship, augmented by trust and reputation. Convenience is a key retention tool, not necessarily an initial sales one.
Price and add-ons are tricky. If anything, I use price as a way for potential clients to self-select OUT of wanting to hire me!
February 16th, 2012 at 11:34 am
Nice list, however I think there are numerous factors that can play a role in acquiring clients. For example, Economy, competition, downtime Seasons, etc…
I am not big on providing value or add-ons, Just because everyone else is doing it, that does not make me want to join them. At the start of my business, I catered to small low budget clients but now most of my clients are high paying ones, this did not happen over time. Most of the factors you have mentioned above did play a part but I never tried to undersell my services. You want to be remembered by your high end services not by how cheap or affordable you were.
February 16th, 2012 at 11:54 am
Thanks Web Design London :)
Dr. Freelance aka Jake Poinier, I know that some people look down on lists. I actually put a lot of time and thought into mine. I’m glad the effort is paying off.
DesignFacet–Of course there are many variables, but often one factor outweighs the others. Have you ever asked your clients why they choose to do business with you? If you have, that’s your answer.
February 17th, 2012 at 5:18 pm
To be honest, I believe trust and relationship have the most to do with converting the sale. Definitely true that need alone will never make the sale. But it’s just been my experience that the more a client feels like they can trust you, and the more you foster that good relationship, the more likely they will buy from you when it’s their time to buy. This really ties into value as well. Providing value is essential, especially outside the sale. If you give clients real value before even trying to close, they will really trust you and value the relationship. And once you’re ready to move in for the actual sale the job is (most of the time) already half done. Just my two cents :)
February 21st, 2012 at 8:47 am
Control. There are clients that want to control the project. With an agency it is harder, because they are not in touch with the designer. I have had a few prospects wanting to take on the front seat driver role, I choose not to work with them. This is the extreme case where the client wants control of every pixel, knowing they can get away with it with (sadly with some freelancers).
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