“Is this prospect qualified to work with me? Am I qualified to work with them?”
These are just two of the questions Nick Weynand prompted freelancers to ask themselves at our July Freelance Austin meeting. Weynand, who is the founder, president and strategy director at TradeMark Media, was armed with fascinating, field-proven insights on Selling Yourself: Persuasive Communications for the Freelancer.
His theme centered around two rules of engagement for winning new clients:
- First, stop selling and start understanding.
- Second, have a process.
The audience was captivated by his candor in describing what has and hasn’t worked for him while prospecting clients over the years. What’s more, we were thrilled he brought with him some of Trademark Media’s actual proposals.
Some of his top tips:
- Separate formal requests for proposals (RFPs) from other prospects in the sales process. Government agencies and other large organizations will often send out RFPs for specific projects or engagements. They aren’t the same animal as regular client prospecting.
- It’s important to become likeable. Take a step back and connect with prospects on a personal level.
- Be honest when talking to prospects. Along with asking yourself the two questions we featured at the start of this piece, you may want to explain to the prospect that you’re not the right fit for everyone or every project. If you find that’s the case, speak up and expect them to do the same.
- Act exclusive: Don’t transmit a desperate vibe (even if you are).
- Test a prospect’s level of commitment by asking, “Is this something you’d like to have or is it something that you need?”
- Find out how realistic the budget is by asking questions like, “When you invested in this type of project in the past, how much did you spend?”
- Never answer a question unless you know why it’s being asked.
- Move quickly but don’t be pushy. Ask things like, “Is there any reason why we can’t move forward on this?” Or, after the sale,don’t be afraid to ask, “Are you sure?”
You can access Weynand’s full presentation deck on Prezi. Join us August 10 for our next meeting on Freelance Editing: Forging a Career With Style and Good Grammar.
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