If you are a freelancer or startup you need to learn about sales. If you don’t know how to effectively and consistently sell your services to a hungry market, you won’t be in business for long.
Back in June, my good friend, Robin Gerhart (she is the person to talk to about mobile marketing), gifted me with a ticket to the Ohio Growth Summit, sponsored by the Ohio Small Business Development Center at Columbus State College. I was happy to have the ticket but wasn’t sure what I would experience. I thought it would perhaps be a good place to network and make new connections.
I was right about networking, but I ended up getting much more in return with one presentation in particular. The opening keynote was presented by [themecolor]Anthony Iannarino[/themecolor] – who is quite simply, a one-man sales juggernaut.
The Most Vital Part of Every Business
There was no way that Anthony was going to let us out of that room without understanding the most important thing in any business is getting sales. Without sales, you have no business. Period.
He said there were four ways to get clients: A sales force, channel partners, wholesalers, and independent agents. If you are freelancer, I would say that channel partners are likely your best way to get introduced to prospects. Either that or you are your own sales force.
One way or the other, we’re intimately involved in sales. We’re all trying to change people’s minds about something but the important thing is to get intentional about getting new clients.
The “Big Ball of Wax” Called Sales
Copywriting is “salesmanship-in-print.”
In your copy, you must identify your prospect’s key pain points and then position your product or service as the cure. But copywriting is just one part of your sales efforts. There is also creating a target list, qualifying your prospects, identifying needs and developing solution-oriented messaging, presentation, acquisition, closing sales, and post-sale servicing.
Many small businesses get caught up with product development yet forget to check the market to see if there is actually a need for what they have to sell. Business truly begins and ends with the customer in mind. And that’s where I’m headed with this.
What Does Your Client Need?
How are you answering your customer’s need? Are you communicating it in a clear, persuasive way that catches your prospect’s attention? What more can you do to increase your sales for the next six months?
My father, who was a successful manufacturer’s sales rep, told me long ago that to be a great sale rep, you had to really believe in your product. This is often a weak area for those in professional services. There is no “product” per se, but a service. You probably have already noticed that many services, just like products, have been commoditized. How can you stand out?
Define Your Differentiators
Believe in your service and know your differentiators. When you know your service is better than your competitor’s, you need to communicate that in all of your marketing assets: web copy, marketing collateral like case studies, sell sheets, and white papers, and in your customer front-facing activities.
Once you determine your offering, everything else is about selling it. And there are two major influencers for a prospect. Either a product or service helps them save money, or make money. With the added pressure of a slow economic recovery, companies across the board are even more focused on those influencers.
So fall in love with sales. Realize you truly are helping your prospect. You’re making life easier for them and perhaps, richer, by doing what you do.
I’ll be talking often about sales because in the midst of discussions about social media, branding, and marketing – it’s really sales that will keep your business afloat. It’s time to put sales back on top.