In order to run any business, you need to have a good understanding of sales and a sales funnel. Unfortunately, there is no “build it and they will come” business and freelancing is no exception.
Instead, you need to learn how to move prospects and leads through a sales funnel that eventually gets you paid. For those of you who may be confused as to how this all works, this blog will lay it all out for you with a very simple example all us online entrepreneurs can relate to.
Step #1: Attracting or Finding The Lead
The first step in a sales funnel is when the lead either finds you or you find them. In the beginning stages there may be a whole lot more of actively pursuing leads, but eventually you’ll find ways to have more coming to you. For sake of clarity, I’m going to show an example of both instances.
Attracting the Lead: The most obvious example here is the use of online content. Let’s say you have a blog with awesome content. This gets picked up by Google. This means that when someone searches a term your content will show up in the results and they will go to your website. This could also happen by being mentioned on other sites, social media, etc.
Finding The Lead: One example of actively pursuing leads is when you send a pitch or query to a job posting you see on a job board. Or maybe you meet someone at an event and invite them to a consultation of some kind.
Step #2: The Freebie
The next step in a sales funnel is the freebie. In the case of a website, perhaps they opt-in to your email list because they want a free gift that you are offering. Or, as I mentioned above, perhaps you invite someone to a free consultation.
The point here is to give a taste of what it’s like to work with you for free. Why for free? Because you need to serve before you can receive.
A quick note about free consultations, give yourself room to experiement here. I’ve moved from free consultations to paid one and then back to free with an application process to qualify leads. It’s up to you to decide what works best for you and your business.
Step #3: The Ask
No one is going to pay you unless you ask them for money. Period. Point blank. This is the part of the sales funnel where you ask for the sale. Now, this part tends to trip people up, so I suggest brushing up on your skills by reading books such as Book Yourself Solid, Getting to Yes and To Sell Is Human.
Step #4: The Follow-Up
As much as you may want to someone to say “Heck yes!” to working with you right away, that doesn’t always happen. That’s why it’s up to you to set up a solid follow-up system so that you remain in touch with prospects.
Remember, just because it’s a “no” now doesn’t mean it’s a no forever. I’ve had people sign on to be writing or coaching clients months after initially meeting them. They simply weren’t ready when I first met them and that’s okay.
That’s it! That’s a basic sales funnel that you can start implementing in your business immediately. Of course, there are other things to keep in mind here for later on, such as how to use online marketing and leveraging systems, but this is a good place to start.