Most freelancers or consultants, like yourself, start out by grinding out weekends and nights. Then when you make the jump to full-time, you are so in the weeds with client work, you forget that you still have to sell in order to make money.
This episode will dive deep into the tools you need to have an effective sales team at work for you, while you are doing the actual client work.
Yes, sales team!
Your website and your emails.
It’s one thing to have a gorgeous site, but it’s another to have it actually do some work for you.
In this episode, you’ll learn what you need and exactly what to address in order to have your website be a well-oiled sales team.
EPISODE TAKE AWAY
If you don’t have 3 blog posts, then pick from the list of ideas in the show and create 3.
If you have 3 already, then take your best performing posts and define what the next step for the reader is and offer bonus content in exchange for an email address.
Important Mentions in the Episode
In this episode, you are going to learn the tools you need to setup your sales team.
There are 2 kinds of people coming to you, a shopper and customer and your sales team should cater to each one effectively.
In this episode, you’ll learn how important both your site and emails are to your sales. Also how to have them continue to work for you effectively so that you can continue to do client work, while you still get sales.
You are a freelancer, not a corporation. You are one person, not a huge team. You are a business.
Which means that you need sales. Sales is always the hot topic for any business. This is the food for a business. Without sales, the business dies.
As a freelancer sales often times comes by word of mouth. Once you get that first project, and it’s successful, then that client may refer you more work.
Another avenue is that during this first project, you have colleagues that you have spoken to that understand the work that you do and hear of other projects that you are a good fit for.
Getting more sales comes not just by way of having leads knock at your door. But it’s also about how those leads interact with you, how they are treated, and ultimately if the project is a fit, if you and that other person are a fit as well.
I mention tools alot on this show, but I want you to pay attention to the methods rather than the tools. The tools will only help you if your process is solid. You can have the most expensive, polished, award winning tool, but if you don’t have the process in place for that tool to support, it’s just a waste of money.
You will learn what you need to capture leads, nurture the leads, and ultimately make them into clients
Ever walk into a store and the sales person comes right up to you and says “Can I help you with anything?” even before you step 2 feet into the store? And then that sales person shadows you if you say “no thank you.”
It’s annoying at times right? Sometimes you just want to take a look around before you make a purchase. Sometimes you just are killing time and never even intend on buying anything.
Then there are the other times when you know exactly what you want to buy and need a sales person to get it for you and there isn’t one to be found anywhere?
Now how annoying is that?
Even just 30 or 45 seconds of looking for someone seems like you’ve been looking for an hour. If it wasn’t for your need to buy it, you’d just walk out.
Both these situations cater to only one type of customer. The first caters to the customer that needs help, but not to the customer who’s just looking around. The second situation is the opposite.
These may be businesses that are highly successful and long lasting companies. But the experience of sales for their customers could be better.
The sad reality is that freelancers often fall into one of these. Rarely do you find a freelancer that is great at both.
I want to share with you first the way in which you can cater to the types of folks who are just shopping around.
You undoubtedly have a website, right? But are you blogging regularly? Do you have a products or services page? Are you providing shoppers with a window into your products and services that answer the questions they have?
So the first tool you need for your sales team is a website.
Not just one that has what you do and a contact form, but one that speaks to the potential customer. One that answers some questions they have. One that allows them to reach out to you when they are ready to buy, which will get into here in a minute.
As a part of that website, you need to have articles and testimonials that speak to answering questions your shopper has.
Think about what you do when you want to buy something that is a bit more than the price of dinner. Say for example a TV, SLR camera, or a car even. What do you do?
You ask your friends for suggestions, what they bought, why they bought. You’ll look online for reviews, post a few questions on Facebook, really just try and learn all you can so that you can make the right decision.
You should make your website the hub for all things you and your business.
Include on your site testimonials from current and past clients. Video would be best, but if not a few sentences will do just fine.
In these testimonials, if you can have them address concerns they had when they first started with you, that would even be best.
You should be writing articles on a regular basis. I get told all the time from freelancers that they don’t have anything to write about.
Which then I say, well I’m going to give you a few right now, and I don’t even know what your business is.
Address the top 3/5/10 questions about the problem you are solving.
Write about a real life scenario in which you were presented a problem and solved it. (Leave out identities if need be and make up names).
Use stats from reliable polls and surveys to validate the problem.
Use your solution against a real world example/brand.
Why your service may be wrong for someone.
THe Story of your Service (but connect it to your audience).
FAQ about your service
Interview folks in your space
Look at Buzzsumo and plug a competitor’s or vendors website and see what they are writing about and fill in the gaps.
Your website shouldn’t be about you, it should be about your customers.
Megan Gray, of houseofgrays.com, helped me clearly define my brand and helped me along with the design of it and my website.
When she told me this I didn’t really understand it, until she put me through an exercise to create the content on my site.
It was a small shift in thinking from what features I was offering to clients towards the benefits that my clients get from me.
That simple shift in thinking allowed leads to come to my site and be converted to clients before I even had a chance to talk with them.
I get more leads filling out their Project Brief than filling out the quick contact form in the footer of my website.
This is what a “sales person” does, right? They help to educate someone, answer questions, concerns, and in turn convert them into a customer.
The second part to this is having that person be able to reach out when they are ready.
I talk a lot about having a proper email system in place. I personally love and use Drip. I’ll get into some of the reasons here in a bit.
But above all the bells and whistles that all these email providers give to you, you want to be able to track, segment, and most importantly have leads and customers receive your emails.
I’ve used MailChimp, Constant Contact and others over the years, the reason I like Drip is because of the way it segments subscribers.
Instead of using lists to segment people, it uses a tagging system. I know some providers out there are also starting to move in this direction, but what Drip has on top of tags that helps define segments are events.
These events are timestamped on a persons record in Drip. So you know exactly when a person becomes a lead, a client, or anything that you can think of. For example, say you want to send out an email to everyone that’s visited your services page in the past 30 days, this is nice and easy to do in Drip.
Bottom line is to have something in place so that you know your leads and customers are getting to you when they want.
Leverage the leads’ interest in a topic by offering them more content in exchange for their email address.
You don’t always have to get someone’s contact information through a contact form. Blog posts are great ways to figure out what someone is interested in. Once they read your post or services page, offer them something as their next step. It can be a free email course or bonus content or something else that’s fitting.
This is essentially your call center. You’ve had a customer reach out to you in someway, in fact, they’ve reached out to you with interest in something you have. Now deliver that to them.
Have a process in place to make sure that the person who’s interacting with you feel important. Once you deliver on that promise, then continue to nurture them.
If they’ve download a piece of bonus content, then over the next couple of weeks, send them links to other articles on your site that are in the same category.
Cater to their needs and only offer them what they are asking for. Remember, you don’t want to be that salesperson in the store hovering over someone just as they walked in.
After a few emails, you can slowly pitch your services to them. I mean you can obviously do it at any time, but what I’ve found that works best is that most folks don’t want the pitch until they’ve had some level of interaction with you to build up that trust factor.
Reach out to them to have them pick the best time for a quick chat, or send them off a link to request your services. Make it obvious that they would be buying your services, but no need to set up a sign with flashing lights and an arrow pointing at you.
It should be the natural progression of things and guaranteed you’ll increase your lead to client conversions.
Each of these processes I mention you can do manually at first, but then quickly change them into bits of automation in your business. Allow you email automation system handle the heavy lifting. You just tell it what and where to send the emails.
By having your website be the hub that folks can go to for your business to get information about you and your services without the pressure of being sold to goes a long way in earning a potential clients’ trust.
When a potential client is ready to reach out, make it super simple, but more importantly, super beneficial for them to reach out. Make it their next step in the process.
Now your website caters to those who are just shopping around but also those that are ready to get more from you.
Not only do they get this from your website, but you’ve also taken that next step and are in their inbox directing them back to your website with their next steps.
The action steps for this show are pretty simple. If you have less than 10 blog posts, I want you to create 3 blog posts picking from the list I mentioned earlier in the show.
Pick one of those posts and offer up bonus content in exchange for an email address. The easiest way to do this is if you have a Top 10 list article, make it the Top 8 and give up the last 2 for an email address.
If you have more than 10 blog posts, then I want you to look at your 3 most popular. Figure out what you can offer the reader as the next step. This is where maybe there’s an email course to offer, or maybe it’s a bonus piece of content.
You want to leverage the traffic that’s coming to your site. Especially if these high trafficked pages don’t offer any next steps but is answering some questions for folks.
Your website and your email system is your sales team. Best part is, that as you continue to give more and more to your site and emails, the better and better it does at selling.
There are always 2 types of people in business, shoppers and customers. You want your sales team to know the difference between the 2, cater to each effectively and transition between them.
By leveraging your site and email system you can then as a solo business owner, know that even if you are working on the client stuff, that your sales team is still working to get you leads and convert those leads into clients. This makes you sustainable as a business.
In the next episode, Laura Elizabeth joins in on the discussion and she shares with us how she creates memorable experiences for all her clients to get more and more business.
Until then, it’s your time to Live In The Feast.