S01 E02 – How to know if your leads will pay you

 

In the last episode, you learned how to really know where your clients come from. And I know that you took that next step and worked out those 4 questions to help define who it is that you are serving and what your solution is.

So the obvious next question is “how do I know that these clients will pay for my solution?”

This is easy to answer, because if you have clients already, then you know there are people willing to pay you for your services.

It’s time to outright ask them.

That’s right, you should be having regular calls with your clients anyway, but work in from time to time a question that is targeted to give you an answer that you can use for your own marketing.

In this episode, you’ll get the steps in order to do this effectively and guarantee results.

Episode Take Away

Pick out 3 clients
Send a quick email (no more than 5 minutes to write)asking for 15 minutes to chat next week
Ask them 3 or 4 questions from the resource below.

 

Important Mentions in the Episode

Client Call Questions

Transcript

The normal concern of you as a freelancer is how to convert a lead into a client, right? Which really boils down to how do you know that the lead will pay your price. Have you done enough to convince that lead that you are good at what you do and can solve their problem? In this episode of Live In The Feast, you’ll learn that when you can really identify with the root cause of your client, maybe even find the most important aspect of their life that’s important to them and be able to echo that back to them. You’ll know that they’ll pay you.

In the last episode I spoke about where your client comes from. I know that you took that next step and worked out those 4 questions to help define who it is that you are serving and what your solution is.

The obvious next question that you are probably asking yourself is “how do I know that these clients will pay for my solution?”

Before I dive a bit deeper into that, I’d like you to think a little bit about how you are charging. Are you charging hourly, project based, fixed bid?

Also, where are you coming up with your rate? Are you looking to your market and other folks in your space to define your prices? Or are you looking to your clients and figuring out your prices around the value of your solution in regards to your client?

These are all questions that need answers to and I’ll touch upon them in this episode of Live In The Feast so that you can be certain that when it comes time for your lead to sign that dotted line and hand over that first payment, you are confident that they will.

Without going into a deep hole about hourly vs value based pricing, for the sake of the rest of this show let’s just say you are charging value based pricing.

If you aren’t charging that way, then you need to go get Jonathan Stark’s Hourly Billing Is Nuts. It’s an awesome book and goes into the many reasons why you should immediately get off hourly billing today.

With that out of the way, the question remains, how do I know that clients will pay?

The answer to this question lies in how deep you’ve gone into finding out the root cause of their problem.

Online marketplaces for freelance gigs like Upwork and other job boards are havens for freelancers. Most of which are racing to the bottom and competing on price. Sure there are some success stories in there, but for the vast majority competing against their neighbors for the general task posted there, it’s a no-win scenario.

Here’s why…Marketplaces like that want to put everyone at the same level. So if you are a web developer with a skill set that includes PHP, Javascript and E-Commerce. There’s nothing to help you standout that you’ve built a custom API for a client that now allows them to publish their magazine to hundreds of thousands of subscribers across one platform that controls 25 websites.

You are lumped into the same bucket as the developer who wrote his or her first line of code yesterday. Sure, there are spots to share how long you’ve been at it, or have testimonials written by clients of projects that you won bids on through that website. But when it comes right down to it, a potential client just sees you who looks like everyone else that has a lower rate than you.

There’s nothing unique about you. But in reality, that’s what it all comes down to. As a freelancer, better yet, as a business owner, as much as your skills are valuable to your clients, it’s your experience, personality, and how you conduct yourself as a professional that your client values as well.

You don’t want to lump yourself in amongst the crowd, right? That’s why you have your own site, own marketing, own process, your own way of doing business.

So let me ask you, why do you look to all those other people for what you charge your clients? Why do you ask other developers what they charge per hour? per project?

You should be concentrating on the value that your service brings to your clients and charge based around that.

Ever gone to a printer to make custom shirts or a banner or some sort of swag for your business before and they have you submit a request for a quote?

They want to know everything about your logo or materials before they can give you a price. Maybe your colors aren’t quite right, maybe they need to work on something with your logo, who knows, but the idea here is that they can’t base your project off of someone else’s order because your logos and colors are completely different than everyone else.

The printer isn’t comparing what they charge you with what other printers charge, they are charging based around the requirements of your project and giving you a custom product of value in return.

But that’s no guarantee that the printer will land you as a client right?

What if you have a meet up or an event that’s coming up in a week and you need this stuff made pronto? So there’s really no time to shop around to too many different printers. There’s definitely not enough time to order online.

Say the printer was able to fulfill your order in 3 days, leaving you enough time to review the swag and maybe even make one simple change?

Now you’d be more inclined to buy, right? Because the printer has dug just a bit deeper to find out how fast you need the product.

Maybe there’s a rush fee involved too, but honestly as long as it’s within reason, do you care? Money really isn’t the issue, it’s time.

Time in this case is essentially your biggest pain point.

When you dig deep enough into your client’s root issue, then you’ll be able to know if they will pay you. This is because you as a vendor have really understood the need and the problem and are able to solve it.

You could even go so far as figuring out your client’s ROI, or return on investment, and base your price around that.

By this I mean, if you are able to bring in $100,000 of revenue to your client over the next 12 months, wouldn’t it make it a no brainer for them to hire you for $10k, $20k, even $50k?

You want to dig as deep as you can. If you’ve listened to the previous episode and gone ahead to really focus in on a specific type of client or solution, then digging deep is a matter of exercise.

To put this into context, Brian Casel, founder of Audience Ops, also founded (and then sold) Restaurant Engine.

He set out to rid the world of crappy restaurant websites. I don’t know if that was his goal, but that’s how I translated it anyway.

He set out to build a website builder specifically designed so that restaurant owners could purchase and build out nicely designed and highly functional website.

After a bit of time he noticed something that he didn’t expect. He noticed that he was getting asked lots of questions around how to do this. How to use the builder to build a website quickly.

He reached out and spoke with several customers and asked them what they needed from Restaurant Engine.

They told him that they really didn’t have the time to spend on building out a proper site, but loved the idea and asked him if he could just do it for them.

So that’s exactly what he pivoted Restaurant Engine towards. A done-for-you service, with premium pricing, to create websites for restaurant owners that just didn’t have the time to do it themselves.

I’d like to point a couple of things out here.

In Brian’s case he did 2 things.

He started to notice a pattern with his customers. That pattern was based on support requests. Instead of hiring support staff or building out videos and FAQs on the website, he went back to the source, his customers, and asked them “what’s up?”

He didn’t spin his wheels in guessing why there were so many questions around this, he just took some time and dug deeper with clients to find out their root cause.

Pattern recognition is something that I don’t hear spoken about often enough, but is a skill that takes some practice.

In a conversation that I had with Justin Jackson, that you can get inside of Feast as a bonus to the Marketing module, he stated “Freelancer’s are in the most privileged position ever! If you learn & build this muscle of listening, empathy and pattern recognition, you are at ground level for seeing what kind of things people are willing to pay money for.”

Now Justin is a product marketer. He is a host of a few different podcasts, and made products of his own. But when he boils everything down, he describes himself as someone “who wants to help you reach more people with the things you create”.

He works with Saas companies, startups, individual product owners, and other folks from all walks of life. So he has a keen insight into all types of businesses. Yet he says that we, freelancers, are in the most privileged position ever.

I love this quote because as freelancers we times go to potential client sites or attend events and have the opportunity to see the surroundings of our potential clients and figure out from that what is most important to them.

If you goto a client’s office, look at what’s on the desk or the shelves behind the desk, or on the walls even. Are there photos of family? Are there books? Do they have memorabilia of their favorite sports team? Is it awards that the company received? All of these things provide insight into what is most important to this person.

If you goto events where there are people listening to speakers, take a few minutes to stand in the back and look at what’s up on their computer screens and tablets? What websites do they frequent? Listen to folks as they talk to each other in the hall during and after the talks.

By taking a few minutes and looking around, you start to really get into the heads of your potential clients.

If they have family photos all over their desk, then time with them is extremely important. Focusing on creating blog posts on the website to get more leads, maybe isn’t quite as important.

If they have awards that the company won, then the quick execution of the new innovative feature in their app is important. Where maybe negotiation of price isn’t as important.

By using this information within your pitch or even before that, you make an instant connection with that person.

You touch them in a way that someone on the other side of the planet can’t.

You can even make a lasting impression with them by sending them a small gift related to their likes for them taking the meeting. Doesn’t have to be expensive, but the gesture will go a long way at making that impression.

So as your action steps from this show, I’d love for you to email your best clients and ask them if they would be available for a quick 15 minute phone call.

In this call give them the opportunity to speak freely about you, your service, and their business. Trust me, they’ll be happy to talk about their business.

But what I want you to do is to ask them at least this one question: What is it that you need from me that I can do better on?

Word it in your language obviously, like when I do this with my clients I say “How could I be more awesome?” but that’s just me and how I am with my clients.

Take that question and make it your own.

Jot down what your clients say and then read over the responses and see if there’s a pattern that emerges.

The reason I say to do this with your best clients is because your not-so-best clients will probably take this as an opportunity to add to your to-do list. Not to mention the secondary purpose of this exercise is to work with more clients like your best ones.

You want to really get to the root of the problem you are solving for them. So that you can know that leads with this same problem will pay you to solve it for them as well.

So go ahead, pick out 3 clients and spend 5 minutes to shoot off a quick email asking for 15 minutes to chat in the next week.

I guarantee you that you’ll get 100% response, and if you don’t, please let me know, because I’ll be more than happy to refund you the money that you paid for this podcast.

All joking aside, if you do this exercise, and yes it can be awkward at first, you’ll elevate yourself as a professional, but you’ll also be able to really hone in on what it is your current clients will pay for. This results in making it a no brainer for leads to buy from you as well.

It’s your time to Live In The Feast.