I won’t attest that I am an expert in sales, but I have gone out and asked my friends in the real estate and other industries: “What do you do when it comes selling and closing sales with clients?” I know it’s not rocket science, but it’s frustrating when you have the talent and ability, yet you’re not getting the work.
I think a little sales knowledge can take a freelance writer a long way. Here are some of the answers I found:
Forget About the Money
This piece of advice was given to me in the context that money is not the first issue for most people when it comes to purchasing. The most important thing is creating value and trust. If someone knows that what is being offered will meet their needs, it’s a given that they will consider buying.
As money should not be your main focus, don’t start the conversation talking about price. Would you buy a new car before knowing the features and benefits? Let your client learn about you first and get warmed up.
Create YES Responses
I hadn’t realized this before, but the more you can get someone to say “yes,” the more likely they’ll keep saying yes. I practiced this with a friend who was pretending to sell me a house. He purposely asked me questions that would elicit a “yes” response. When we got the end of the discussion, I admit that it would have been easy and natural to say “yes” to him because I’d been nodding my head the whole time.
Sales Isn’t Sleezy
If you are like me, you might have this notion that salespeople are like snake oil salesmanóand yes, this is true in some cases. But when you are a talented writer with something valuable to offer, selling is your best friend, not your enemy.
You’re basically offering a gift. You’re creating a win-win situation where you and your client both benefit from the service. You have to really believe in what you are offering and have a great attitude. When you really believe in something, other people will, too, so think of your sales like the wrapping paper on a gift.
Let the Client Talk
While you do want to guide the conversation with questions, give the client space to talk. We are all so eager to be heard but this is the time to really listen. You are there to encourage and ask questions, but the client needs to have the realization that you have the solution.
The Price is Right
When it comes to negotiating price, try to get the client to share their desired price with you. If you can’t get an answer, go ahead and tell them your cost. At this point, if the client tries to negotiate, this is actually a good sign because it means they are already interested.
If you feel your price is right, stick with it. This is where I’ve heard great things about staying quiet. While it might feel more natural to speak and fill up the silence, many great jobs have been negotiated with a little (or a lot) of silence.
Again, it’s important to stay quiet and not talk anyone out of working with you. If you’ve done everything right, the close might actually be the easiest part. It happens naturally. There is no need to wait for a decision because it has already been made.
By the way, sales people LOVE to talk about sales, just like writers love to discuss writing. If you know someone in the sales field, ask them how they do it. You might be surprised at the answers you find.
Lindsay Woolman specializes in ghostwriting, copywriting, and article writing. She is seeking a publisher for her first young adult novel and is represented by Prospect Agency. Learn more here: http://www.boisefreelancewriter.com.