We tell ourselves a lot of things when it comes to sales. While it’s true that sales can be intimidating, sometimes I think we put it off by telling ourselves it’s a lot more complicated than it really is. In this article, I’m going to break down the five absolute must-haves that every freelance writer needs in order to close paid clients.
Only five? Yes, these five things are all it takes to start landing freelance writing projects that will pay you and put money in your bank account.
Sales is a Core Function of Any Business
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been talking about the core functions every freelance writing business needs in order to grow and scale. We’ve already talked about visibility and lead generation. Now it’s time to turn our attention to the next step in the process.
As you read that, did an ominous tune play in the background of your head? If so, you’re not alone. Sales tends to be the function of a business that gives us the most trouble when it comes to our mindsets, not to mention our bottom lines. If you cannot master sales, your business will not survive.
You know what I think? I think that we build it up so big in our minds that we fail to see how simple sales can be. It does not require all the bells and whistles. Selling your services really only requires five things.
A List of Services
The first thing you must have in order to sell your services is an idea what services you want to sell. That’s right, I’m not even talking about having a physical list to give to prospects. I’m simply telling you that before you hop on a call with a prospect, you need to have an idea of what you will offer them.
Being clear about what services you do and don’t provide is important for you AND the client. Let me give you an example of what I mean from my own experience. When I first started out I approached every sales call like I was a buffet. The client would ask me if I did blogs, and I would say yes. They’d ask me if I wrote social media captions, and I would say yes. Anything they asked me to do, I said yes.
It probably felt to them like they were walking into a buffet and just picking up whatever they wanted. Now I’m a Midwest girl, and I like a good buffet as much as anybody, but buffets are not known for fine dining. It’s hard to find chef’s that are good at making hundreds of items at a time, and the food quality suffers.
That’s what happened to the quality of my services too. By not being clear about what I did want to offer, I ended up being stuck providing a bunch of services I did not enjoy. Not only that, but because I was offering everything, I wasn’t able to devote the time and energy to really getting good at the services I did enjoy providing.
It wasn’t until I got really clear about the services I would and would not offer that I was able to develop a level of excellence when it came to my services and charge high ticket rates. Not only did it save time and energy for me to just be upfront about what I could do for my clients, they actually got much better results.
I get it though. When you’re first starting out, you’re building what I call your revenue runway. You’re taking on clients so that you can pay the bills, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But I encourage you to develop your signature services and specialize or niche down as soon as you can.
The second thing you need in order to be able to sell your services is an idea of what you will charge. There’s nothing worse than being unprepared for the question you know every single prospect is going to ask.
How much is it going to cost?
Believe me, I had to learn this the hard way when I first started raising my rates. I found that if I didn’t go into a call with my prices firmly fixed in my mind, I would lowball myself every single time. I’d end up writing a project for much less than it was worth and kick myself the whole time.
For me, having set rates helps me stand firm when it comes to my pricing. If you struggle with rates and knowing what to charge, join me for my FREE 5-day Client Attraction Crash Course, where I’ll give you my Freelance Writer’s Ultimate Rate Calculator and show you how to use it. It’s a great resource, and it takes the emotion out of pricing.
If pricing is an issue for you, practice saying your pricing over and over in your head. That way when the client asks how much it will be, you can give an automatic answer. This keeps you from freezing up and underpricing yourself.
A Call Scheduler
The third thing you need in order to start closing clients is a call scheduler. Is an automated schedule an absolute necessity? No, but trust me it will save you time and energy. Without a scheduler like Calendly or Acuity, guess who is manually setting up all of those discovery calls?
That’s right, you. An automated scheduler is a lot cheaper than hiring an assistant or VA. Plus there are so many Integrations you can set up to go along with it. Most automated schedulers will send a notification straight to your Google or iCalendar for you so you don’t have to put it in yourself.
One thing I love about my scheduler is that I can block off time. This saves me from double booking myself or having people schedule calls during my off-hours. Trust me, you want a scheduler.
A Mobile Phone
The fourth thing you need to start closing sales is simply something to take sales calls on. Yes, there are fancy software systems and video messaging systems that you can subscribe to, but really all you need is a smartphone.
Simple really is better when you’re just starting out. If you don’t want your prospects to have your cell number, download the free Zoom or Google Meetings app so you can do video chat instead of actual phone calls. This helps to protect your privacy.
I do all of my sales calls on Zoom. I love Zoom because it allows you to record the calls, which is especially helpful if you want to make sure you don’t miss any details when you put together the proposal. Zoom also can be hooked up with your Integrations to send notifications to the client and your G calendar.
The final thing you need in order to start selling your services is probably the most important one. Confidence.
You can struggle with the rest of the areas and still make sales. Without confidence, however, it doesn’t matter how fancy your scheduler is or how attractive your rates are. You will have a hard time making sales.
Why is confidence so important? Remember, the client isn’t buying your services. They’re buying the result your services will give them. And if you can’t show up on the call with confidence that your services get results, they won’t believe it either. So do what you have to do to show up with confidence.
Maybe that means wearing something that makes you feel like you look good. Maybe you take a walk before sales calls to clear your head and practice gratitude. Or maybe you phone a friend who’s always your best hype man to get you pumped up and ready to go. Whatever it is that helps, do it. You deserve to be able to show up with confidence when you’re selling your services.
But What About …
You might be thinking that I have forgotten some very important pieces here. What about a website? What about a fancy web camera? What about a designer backdrop for live calls?
Nope. I didn’t forget about those things. It’s just that you don’t absolutely need them. You don’t need a website to get clients. I’ve only had my big girl website for a year. Before that time I used a simple Weebly template site that I built myself. And honestly, nobody ever went there anyway. My webcam is still wonky, and I take calls in my home office where there’s not a designer backdrop in sight.
Just work with what you’ve got. I promise it’s enough.
There is one thing that you may want to have, although it’s not absolutely necessary, and that’s a portfolio. The good news is even if you don’t have work samples from clients yet, you can still create work samples from the information you find for free online. Don’t let the lack of a portfolio stop you from getting yourself out there and taking sales calls. A business is built as you take action, and these five items are enough to help you get out there and start landing paid writing projects.
More From Christa Nichols
I teach exactly how to create a portfolio of work samples based on free information you can find online – and more! – in my Write for Revenue Bootcamp, a live two-day event where I walk you step-by-step through how to build a portfolio, conquer sales calls, and onboard clients. Click here to learn more about Write for Revenue Bootcamp