The idea of being in sales may bring to mind images of men in plaid sports coats pressuring the poor, hapless customer into buying something that they don’t want or need. The reality is that if you are offering a product or a service, you need to be able to present it to the potential customer or client, give them the information they need to make a decision, and overcome any objections they may have about hiring you. That is selling.
The Freelancer as a Problem Solver
I used to think that I got hired to write. That is partly true, but it’s not the whole story. I am someone who gets hired to solve a problem. The “problem” in question may be that the client wants to have interesting content to drive repeat visitors to their web site. They may need copy written to tell potential customers about their business and how they can help to solve their customers’ problems by providing a product or a service.
When you are approaching a potential client or answering an ad that you find on Freelance Writing Jobs, why don’t you tailor your response to include something about how you can help to solve that particular client’s problem? Of course you want to tell them something about your experience and areas of expertise (otherwise they won’t know how terrific you are at what you do!), but don’t forget to explain to them how hiring you will benefit them.
You could include something like, “As a site owner, you appreciate that having high quality content will improve your search engine rankings and bring repeat visitors to your site….” Then you go on to explain how your web content is well-researched, accurate, and relevant to that client’s niche market.
When you show potential clients that you are interested enough in their business to consider their needs along with the assignment they are trying to find someone to complete, you have a much better chance of being hired. By being a problem solver, you have made a sale. No plaid jacket required.
Hey Jodee – some good books that are inspirational and give tips for making sales are “The One Minute Salesman” and “Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude.” There are others, but these are two of my favorites and they show you the importance of thinking about the customer and not the paycheck!
Thanks for bringing this up. I honestly hadn’t thought about the idea of me being a salesman – or woman ;). It changes how I will be doing several things and has given me a great deal to think on.
James Chartrand - Men with Pens says
Hot topic these days with freelancers, Jodee, so good, timely post.
Sales and marketing are part of what freelancers have to do. There’s no choice in the matter. It’s *HOW* you do it that makes the difference between being a pushy sleaze and using questionable tactics and being a pro selling your stuff.
@ Kathryn and James: Thank you for taking the time to comment. Thinking about what you can do for your clients (and then delivering it) is always a good strategy.
Great post Jodee, thanks for the reminders. I’ve been applying for freelance jobs for several weeks now with no success, and have just started tweaking my emails to show more of my “problem-solving” skills & nature to see how that works.