The Violent Truth Of Freelance Sales

You Can Do It - SalesSuccessful freelancers sell.

While there are any number of things that will kill a freelance business, the inability to convince anyone to hire your services is right up toward the top.

Yet, somehow, many freelancers are intimidated by the idea of the sale. Why all this trepidation? Maybe you see your competitors, for example, charging atrociously low rates, and you fear your rates are too high. It could be you’re afraid of the rejection that comes with a failed pitch. In some cases, maybe you just don’t like dealing with people.

You’ll never make it as a freelancer if you don’t get over your fears, get out of your comfort zone and knock on some doors. Your writing does no one service if it sits on your computer alone.

There’s hope, though. There are things you can do to push your sales game to the next level. Keep these five truths in mind when you set out to sell:

Your Service Has Value

If you’re a freelancer, you work in an area with tremendous demand. Like I’ve said before, there is plenty of work out there to find. You just have to go get it. People want to buy what you have.

Beyond that, though, your USP – your unique selling proposition – adds value to that service. Don’t ever be ashamed or afraid of telling someone about the value of your service.

Your Client Needs The Value Your Service Provides

I know some brilliant folks who can’t write their way out of a paper bag. Likewise, my design skills suck. No one in small business can do it all. Clients need us to do the things they can’t do, so they can focus on their areas of expertise.

Sometimes, You’ve Got To Point Out The Client’s Need

Not every client knows they need you, however. Some clients truly believe that their banner looks just fine the way it is, or that their attempt at a landing page is sufficient. Yet, they scratch their head wondering why their product isn’t selling.

It’s up to you to tell your client why he needs you.

Not Every Pitch Results In A Sale

Look, I get that some freelance folks just don’t have the sales bug. You want to design, write or do whatever you do. That’s grand. The reality of the situation is, though, that you’re in business for yourself. You have to sell, and you have to do it well if you’re going to succeed as a freelancer.

Every Pitch Does Produce Results

Sometimes, you’ll spend an hour on the phone with a client and follow it up with four different proposals only to have the client flake. Sometimes, you just flub up your pitch. In either case, there’s a lesson to be learned. Don’t spend an hour on the phone. Don’t give more than two proposals to an untested client.

If the problem is with your pitch, see it an opportunity to learn. Read (or reread) Zig Ziglar’s Secrets of Closing the Sale. Spend some time reading about sales tactics, or polishing your standard sales letter. Heck, follow your own advice and hire a freelance copywriter to write your sales letter for you.

Why This Truth Is A Violent Truth?

At Freelance Folder, I write about Violent Truths. What is a violent truth? Simply put, it is truth with power. It is truth that has power enough to shatter false idols and myths, but it is also truth that has the power to reconstruct reality around itself.

The truth of freelance sales is this: The service you offer meets a client’s felt need. Your work increases their bottom line and betters their business. To be a successful freelancer, you’ve got to knock on some doors, sell yourself, and learn from your failures along the way.

Bob Younce

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About the author: Bob Younce is a full-time Internet writer and writing mentor living in Linwood, Michigan. He is dedicated to helping Internet writers to achieve their dreams. Visit Bob at The Writing Journey or follow him on Twitter.

Comments

  1. says

    I agree – Sales seems to find it’s way into any setting which has to do with persuasion or selection. I’ve heard from several high paid freelancers that they believe they are not much different in skill level then others, just they are much better at selling themselves.

    Good Post.

  2. Ivan says

    It seems to me that I have problem with selling my skills and work to clients, I’ve always felt like I just can’t do it and couldn’t get it past beyond written proposal through e-mail.
    I should try to raise my self confidence.

  3. says

    I think your comments are doubly important at the moment, considering the slow marketplace that many small businesses are in. People really need to hear a great reason for updating their site or redesigning or whatever their need is. Otherwise they’ll just sit on it and not make a move.

    The freelancer has got to be the sales person, simple as that. Ivan above mentions self-confidence, which that part is definitely important. The sales pitch is all the more powerful when you have believe in your work, have confidence in it, and believe in yourself.

  4. says

    Excellent post. I have to truly agree with every part of it, sales are the key to a successful business. I see so many businesses out there fail just because they lack the necessary skills to sell their services.

  5. says

    Awesome post, AMEN!

    The point about how much work there is to be had is so true. In the course of a day, think about how many times you encounter examples of sloppy writing, horrid design, or amateur programming. Get out there and fix it! The key is to demonstrate in terms the client understands and spell out how it will benefit them.

    @Joe – Very true, I’m noticing that more and more as I get more experience.

    @Ivan – If your anxiety is really bad, you might take Bob’s advice about partnering and join up with a part-time sales person.

    Terrific post, Dugg & submitted to Mixx.

  6. says

    Bob, great article. I think copywriters have it easier than most: the pitch is their skill, their currency, their career, so if they can’t pitch to clients, they don’t deserve the gig.

  7. says

    Your point about every pitch producing results is so true. I’ve landed numerous clients because I gave a clear, concise pitch the client remembered. Though I didn’t land that particular job, those clients came back to me later when the provider they chose didn’t work out.

    Keep up the good posts.

  8. Kris Bradley says

    I am thinking of starting my own independent/freelance sales business and forming strategic partners to sell for, all in the web world (development & design, SEO, Social Media, ect) and in my area (Lancaster, Pa), there is a huge need for these services.

    I just started searching freelance sales and your blog was the first that I read, good job. Self confidence is everything. Knowing what you are worth is also very important. If they don’t want to pay what you are asking, go to their competitor and make them regret being cheap with you later.

  9. Santhosh says

    Hi

    We have a popular online testing service @ unbeatable price and quality, to test websites, games, mobile apps, software at unbeatable prices & quality. We are focusing our testing around functional, usability and performance testing and everything would be managed online through our website with phenomenal turn around time.

    We were looking out for sales partners like you to help us market and get some traction for us in your geography and worldwide . The sales team would be rewarded with good commissions and would get paid not just for getting a business for us but also get paid everytime that business comes back to us.

    We are excited to partner with you and can assure a win-win situation, with great rewards to your company. Please let us know how we can take this forward?

    Thanks
    Santhosh

  10. says

    Hi Bob,

    Very valid points shared by yourself !

    What I feel is that having good technical knowledge is only the start of a freelance career. The biggest thing that helps us to promote ourselves is to have good selling skills. I’ve tried to collate my observations on my personal blog: http://tiny.cc/f1gujw

    Would be happy to receive any of your thoughts.

    Regards,

    Mike

  11. says

    I believe that building a freelance sales team should be a vital part of any business! I would also argue that a company should run a freelance team even if they have existing sales employees.

    The problem is a lack of understanding. I think all too often people see freelancers as cheap labour. This is very much not the case!

    You have to understand the A). That a freelance sales agent CHOOSES to work as a freelancer and B). The benefits that they will bring to your company.

    I have written an article about understanding what it takes to build a freelance sales team which is based on my own personal experiences. You can read it here: http://www.commissiononlysalesjobs.co.uk/freelance-sales-agents-how-to-build-a-solid-freelance-sales-team/

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