You have your website up. You’re collecting emails + building your list. You have your packages up… and yet, nobody is buying your thing. WTF!
You are soooooo ready to rock this freelance biz thing… but what’s the problem here?
Problem is… well, there could be a number of problems. And like any recovery program, admitting you have one is the first step.
So now that we know there’s a problem, let’s take a look at the usual suspects.
THE “WHO… ME?” PROBLEM
If your ideal client reads your sales page or offer + doesn’t immediately feel like this is THE perfect thing for THEM…
➡️ THIS IS YOUR PROBLEM!
An even bigger problem? If you aren’t super-clear about who your ideal client is, what they want, what they need, how they talk about their problems + what their biggest issues are. Your ability to create really effective sales copy (translation:: gets leads to hit the BUY NOW button) depends on how well you know + are able to address their pain-points in print.
Every time a freelancer quits being generic, a PayPal account grows wings.
The best advice I ever heard about getting specific about selling came from Halley Grey. Her game-changing insight was to forget creating client avatars + instead, think of a real person who is your ideal client. Think of someone you’ve worked with in the past that you see as the type of person you want to help. (If you haven’t worked with anyone yet, your past self can act as a stand-in.)
What is your ideal client’s name?
How does their average workday roll out?
What drives them to do what they do?
When they come to you, what solution are they looking to you for?
What frustrates them?
How much time do they have?
What is their biggest challenge?
Having your finger on those specific hopes, fears, dreams + preferences for one specific person is may-jah! Why? Because it becomes insanely easy to create packages that inspire that feeling of “OMG, is this person living INSIDE my brain because they TOTALLY get me!”
And do you know what people who feel like that do? They hit the BUY NOW button!
ACTION ITEM :: Focus on that ONE SINGLE PERSON whose name you know + whose struggle is real (literally!).
Then – and only then! – you will create packages + write sales pages as if it was a personal letter, meant just for them. It’ll make all the difference between being the person who sells support… and the person who sells the support THEY NEED.
Will targeting a smaller market cost you sales? That depends… are you making that many sales?
Because if you currently are not making sales, then the answer is :: no, no it will not cost you the sales you aren’t making.
And if you ARE making sales, ask yourself if you’re making as many sales as you’d like to be making. Getting inside a specific person’s head + needs can be the difference between making decent sales + having a wait list for your sold out services.
But I get your hesitation. If you’re really nervous about cutting out a segment of potential buyers, here’s a solution you can implement to prove to yourself which approach will work best for you ::
Create 2 sales pages…
➡️ One with all that generic copy you hesitate giving up; and
➡️ A second one with laser-focus, “I’m writing this for you” type of copy.
Then… split-test these two sales pages + see which one gets you the best results.
However you slice it, it’s YOUR job to communicate why your ideal client needs you + package the solution accordingly.
THE “WTF?!? UGH!” PROBLEM
Ever start doing something… only to decide it’s way too effing complicated + just give up?
Yeah, your potential clients may be doing the same thing if you don’t have a super-smooth client on-boarding process!
If you’re selling services, you need to streamline that process as much as possible!
And how do you do that? Well, I’m not going to lie + say it’s a quick fix to set-up – it’s not!
But the good news is that this is a set-it-and-forget-it kind of thing. Once you’ve put the work in up-front to automate your processes, your super-smooth process will do all that heavy-lifting for you. I’m talking tracking your deadlines, scheduling on your behalf, even handling the paperwork like your contracts, invoices + questionnaires.
Everything that isn’t your zone of genius? Put that ish on auto-pilot!
Auto-pilot means there’s never a risk of you forgetting anything.
Credibility? Up the wazoo!
Every one of your leads get ushered through the same red-carpet treatment as they sign on for your services. This means if you have your head down in some work, you don’t get distracted by that inquiry – you have it on auto-pilot! You don’t have to remember to send that thing or follow-up with that other thing – it’s all on auto-pilot! While you’re focused on doing the work that matters, leads are wow-ed into clients because you really have your act together!
And you do have your act together!… You just don’t do it manually every time. You have it on auto-pilot!
Aight so how do you make this magic happen? The essential steps to setting up your client on-boarding process are as follows ::
👉 Establish a workflow.
Is this tedious to do? I’m not going to pee in your ear + tell you it’s raining. It absolutely is a pain-in-the-ass to initially do.
But the operative word here is “initially”.
Once you have this in place? You’re living in a set-it-and-forget-it world where on-boarding your clients + more is done automagically.
And what is this “and more” I speak of? Well, you would typical divide the workflow of selling services into 3 sections.
THE PRE-SALE PHASE :: This is when you’re on-boarding a lead that hasn’t yet become a client. You should be able to automate most of the steps in this phase as this is what I call “status quo” work. Your genius isn’t required here, only the paperwork that dots all the usual i’s like contracts + invoicing.
THE PROJECT PHASE :: This is where your genius comes in. This is the phase of the project that people hire you for. It is a good idea to list out all of the steps – in its proper order – of what goes into seeing through the actual work that is expected of you. This way, you won’t miss a beat or forget a step – you’ve mapped it out (even if it typically can’t be automated.)
THE POST-SALE PHASE :: Referrals, repeat customers, great testimonials – these all come from how you set up your post-sale phase to go down. Again, your genius generally isn’t a huge factor here + you will be able to automate things like post-sale questionnaires + follow-up emails.
So yes, there are a lot of little tedious steps to account for. Which makes it all the more important for you to map out, once + for all.
All the time + energy you are currently dedicating to remembering all of these things… wouldn’t you rather use that elsewhere?
Want 4 swipe-worthy samples of how a workflow can work (hella hard!) for you?
👉 Create your documents.
Once you have the steps of your workflow sorted out, it is easy to see what documents you need. Simply go through – step by step – to make note of all the emails + forms you will need to create.
I recommend you figure all of this out BEFORE technology comes into play. Why? Because playing jazz with your systems will result in a lot of back-and-forth + re-doing things you could have done right the first time. That’s why we’re doing things in this order :: we’re doing it right the first time!
Once you have your required emails + documents collected, we will use the tech to auto-populate these copies. This way, you won’t have to re-invent the wheel every time you sign a new lead on as a client. The documents you’ll typically want to include are ::
- Client Welcome Package +/or Questionnaire
Welcome Packages help give potential clients more details about your services + how everything goes down before they purchase.
Meanwhile, there are instances when you want to include a Questionnaire to get more details from your client before you commit to the project +/or make sure this is a “right fit”;
Before you start any work whatsoever, you MUST have a contract in place. Whether you are working on a single service, on a retainer, hourly or an ongoing hourly retainer, you need the appropriate contract in place. Not only does this protect your asss-ets but it helps put you + your client on the same page in terms of what should be expected (+ not to be expected!) from your work relationship.
Seriously. You need this. Totally non-negotiable. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. No exceptions.
Because I’m guessing that sending payment reminders is right up there with root canals + cleaning garbage cans – ew! And yet it has to be done… but not necessarily by you! Most CRMs will handle this for you.
👉 Select a Client Relationship Manager (or a Customer Response Manager), aka CRM.
A CRM is software designed to help you manage your clients + services more effectively. They’re used to capture leads, manage projects, handle documents – the whole nine!
You will copy + paste your emails + forms into your shiny new CRM. Once you’ve done that, you will set the workflow to which your emails + forms are associated. Because yes, it’s nice to have everything organized in one place. But what’s better? Being able to automate a ton of the time-sucking tasks that are currently cluttering your brain + that you’re having to do manually. *insert sigh of relief here*
Wanna read more about your CRM options? I have a post on that here.
👉 Automate the whole she-bang.
Because you probably don’t need to review an invoice – once it’s paid, it’s paid! You also can safely automate a contract to go out as soon as you receive that payment, without further input from you.
Likewise, you don’t have to go back + forth with emails to figure out a time that works. Especially when that too could be automated using a link to a client booking tool/scheduler synced to your other calendars.
But let’s say you have a questionnaire that you would like to review prior to sending the invoice.
You can automate a reminder for you to review the questionnaire as soon as your client has completed it. Just because you automate your processes doesn’t mean you can’t be integrated into those processes. You certainly can punctuate your workflow to account for your feedback before the next automation takes place.
You can automate some areas to roll out on their own. Other areas may require your time. But by differentiating the two, you’re setting yourself + your clients up for maximum efficiency.
ACTION ITEM :: Set up your smooth-as-buttah client on-boarding process.
Yes, setting this up can seem time-consuming… at first!
But if you’re selling services, this is the single biggest return-on-investment you can get for your time + money.
You don’t need a virtual assistant to manage your clients for you. You don’t have to be kept awake wondering if you remembered to follow-up with that one thing anymore. It’s all taken care of on auto-pilot… because you set it up that way.
THE “HUH?” PROBLEM
Your mission – should you choose to accept it! – is to ease whatever problem your client is dealing with.
They’re coming to you because they feel overwhelmed. They’re reaching out for help out of frustration. They want a solution to their pain point + they want YOU to provide them with that.
What they don’t want is an a la carte menu of services to further overwhelm them. IT’S UP TO YOU to create the packages that will provide the solution they’re looking for.
Your clients don’t want choices. They want solutions!
Another problem with offering a la carte type of services is that you’re generally describing WHAT you do. No offense, but nobody cares about what you do. They only care about WHICH RESULTS you’re delivering + what’s in for them.
For instance, nobody is looking for someone to “post 15 tweets” for them… but a week’s worth of targeted content that increases their social engagement? Oooh, baby!
There aren’t a whole lot of people searching for “a weekly workout program”… but I know a lot of people who want to look better naked with every passing week.
And you probably won’t find a lot of people who want to “publish 2 Facebook ads”… but there’s a sweet spot for someone who can use Facebook ads to grow an email list with targeted leads that turn into future favorite clients.
See the difference? It’s not about WHAT you do but about the RESULTS you deliver.
ACTION ITEM :: As a service provider, there are two things that it is your job to do :: provide the solution to your clients problems + then, package them accordingly.
Nobody wants to come to your website only to find themselves with another decision to make or to have something else to figure out… that’s on you to swoop in like a Fairy Godmother + make right!
When services don’t sell, it’s generally because of one of these three things :: either
1) you aren’t making direct targets of your ideal clients; or
2) your on-boarding process isn’t on-point + it has your clients (+ you!) wondering if you know what you’re doing; or
3) your offers aren’t packaged as solutions.
Because you have enough challenges to deal with as a service provider! Get these 3 key areas of your operations on lock-down + turn your sales into total non-issue for your biz.