The successful freelancer in the wild is also a successful salesperson. Being able to convince clients to commit to a project and part with their money to fund it. Some clients might have deep seated and painful issues with commitment as a result of a dark and mysterious past.
Sell your skills, services and information. But first sell yourself
But Batman your average client is not, they will however, often have problems with money, not really knowing what they actually want and my all-time favourite: nebulous “concerns”. That last one tends to be code for “I don’t agree with your asking price, and I’m pretty sure if I hold out, something better will appear because magic“.
Regardless of what ever mystical force of evil is in the way, if you want clients to pay, you need to be able to make them commit. The longer they take to commit, the longer you’ll have go unpaid on this potentially “none-project”. As such, the ability to close a deal down becomes an imperative not only for your career progression, but the financial stability of said career as well.
Other people can be a pain, but they have the potential of money
You need to become a “people” person, comfortable with conversation as well as sales technique. Oddly enough, a big part of this is to know when to cut your losses and back off from a project. 99% of clients are worth going the extra mile to potentially get them to commit, but every now and then you’ll come across a potential client who’ll potentially never commit.
Adding to the damages of potentially never committing prospects is that they have a tendency to become potentially unpleasable clients. This can lead to stress, you must not stress, stress is the mind killer, stress is the little death that bring total mental oblivion (hurray for Dune references).
But jokes aside, freelancing means “no paid sick days” so your health is of the upmost importance in terms of running your business successfully, and let’s face it, stress does not help your health.
So in the interest of helpful bullet point lists, here is one:
- A lot of setbacks and objections are often actually requests for information. Answer this objection honestly and with as much helpful information as possible after making the objection clear to both parties.
- Keep your pitch informative but focused and to the point, don’t waste yours or your potential client’s time.
- Openly ask for commitment, don’t expect it to be offered freely. Always aim for the close.
- Go into detail, make your rates and exactly what you’re going to do for them absolutely clear.
- Engage your potential clients. Ask them questions, listen and understand their answers. Remember that the sales process is fundamentally about showing your ability to understand and meet your clients’ needs.
Commit to your clients, if you want commitment in return
To summarise, the old adage of “if nothing is being sold, YOU are the product” is entirely fitting for freelancers. Selling yourself is just as important as selling the service and skills you provide, identify your client’s needs, concerns and potential problems and address them all in a clear and professional manner and you can’t go wrong.
Least until you meet Batman, nothing is ever good enough for Batman.