I’ve always loved working. Before I started thinking of my own sales tips for my business, I babysat regularly for neighbors starting around age 11, and then had my first official taxable part-time job at the age of 14. I always liked showing up for my job, receiving my tasks and then getting a paycheck at the end of the period. Looking back, I realize that I always liked working for other people — having them dictate my tasks, praise me for a job well done and pay me reasonably.
|Photo via kateevangelistarandr.blogspot.com|
When I went into business for myself two summers ago, I underestimated how much I liked working a normal, consistent job. The idea of working whenever I wanted, accepting whatever work I wanted and having (hypothetically) unlimited earning potential made me a little starry-eyed. Those things are all pretty awesome, but I had never had to depend so much on myself to make things happen. I had to get more organized quickly and more ambitious too.
One area where I really had to ramp up my skills was sales. I’m a freelance writer, so sales is not exactly in my job description but when you are one of 100 writers bidding on a particular project, you have to view yourself as a commodity. It is not enough to be a good writer (unfortunately!). If you want to make money, you have to be a good salesperson too.
If you struggle with the traditional side of sales but want to use some of those tactics to better your own business, whatever it may be, take a look at these sales tips for non-salespeople that I have learned on my own journey.
Sales Tips for Non-Sales Business Owners
Remember that you are the best. Have you ever bought a product that claimed to be second best? Probably not. The same is true when you are selling your business to others. So maybe you have not written as many blog posts, or painted as many homes, as your competitors. Numbers aren’t everything. Find the angles of your business that are uniquely you and can benefit your customers and clients. Highlight those when you are selling your business. I have very loyal clients who are always willing to give me a reference, so I mention that in my job bids. I let potential clients know that I can back up my claims of professionalism, and will.
Ask for referrals. Those happy clients I mention in the last point? I give them quality work at reasonable prices, and in return, I often ask them to help me build my business through referrals. People who work in direct sales know the power of referrals and the time they save versus cold calling. Instead of always approaching strangers, ask the people you know professionally to pass your name along or give you an introduction.
Provide stellar service. I have found that it is not enough to land one job, one time. The real money starts to roll in when you have repeat customers. Perhaps a client only has a small project for you. Pretend that client has millions more dollars of work waiting for you and give it all you’ve got. My most consistent work has been from small businesses and individuals who appreciate my hard work and try to find more for me to do. Case in point: I started doing one blog post per month for a client at the beginning of 2013. That same client now represents one-third of my monthly income because over time, he has given me more and more work to complete. If I had scoffed at the small work order and half-assed it, I would not have been sought out for more opportunities. Instead of wasting time always trying to track down new leads, take care of the people who already know and hire you. That’s where you will find the most lucrative opportunities.
And above all, have confidence. I struggle with self-doubt as much as the next person but sometimes you have to just buck up and put your own feelings about yourself to the side. What you have to offer is amazing, whatever it is, so just remember that and selling it to others will become much easier.
What sales tips would you add?
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Read all of the posts in our Freelance Friday series, designed for small business owners.
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