I hate sales work. It is intimidating, I am not good with pushing for that sale, and overall I would rather not do it. However, being in business for myself (and unable/unwilling to afford to hire someone to do the sales for me) I have to do at least some sales. There are some steps that make the sale a little easier. It all boils down to how much you prepare to pitch a potential client. The more work you do beforehand, the better your chances are to land the contract.
Ramit’s Briefcase Technique
Something that I have tried to incorporate into many areas of my life is Ramit Sethi’s briefcase technique. The idea is simple: you go in to talk to a potential client about your services, and you will pick up on the clues of whether or not they are buying what you’re selling. Before you go, you reach into your briefcase and pull out a sheet of paper that lists all the aspects where you could help them improve. Much of the time they have not even realized that these areas need improvement.
By doing work for them, even before they are your client, you have provided a lot of value. Now they are left with a choice: they can take the information with them and attempt to solve the problems that you have listed out. Likely those working for them won’t care, or won’t know how to do that. But more often than not they will look at the work you have done, and realize they could pay you to do the work, and their bottom line would be better off because of it.
How I Prepare to Pitch a Potential Client
I love to get referred to people. It is so much easier to go in with a lead than to go in cold calling. So this method has worked when people are already aware of what I do and what I am going to talk to them about. However, if you can get an appointment, there is no reason this should not work with someone that you are meeting for the first time.
When I prepare to pitch a client, the first thing I do is go to their website and spend about 10 minutes browsing around. I take little mental notes of what I like, what is confusing, and what I don’t like. This gives me a great feel for what I can offer to do for them.
After learning about their site, I do an SEO analysis. I check their backlinks, their page rank, I look into their Alexa ranking, and then I do various Google searches to find out which page they actually come up on. I understand that in and of themselves page rank, Alexa ranking, and the like are really not that important, but they give me a feel for where the potential client’s online presence already sits.
I then type up a report. It takes about a page, and this is one area that I need to become more efficient. It doesn’t take long, but I find myself entering the same information for everyone. One of my next projects is to build a template that I can use. The report is straightforward and simple: I show them where they are, I talk about what they should change on their site, and I talk about how I can do that for them. I always state my going rate, and then I state my discounted rate that I use when they sign a 6+ month contract. At the end I discuss how this works in the real life by showing them how it has worked with my own website.
The end result when I go to pitch a potential client is always the same: I get hired. Some will give me a budget and I will tell them what I can do with that budget; others will just go with whatever I suggest to do. The bottom line is that nobody has ever said “no, I don’t need this.”
Get Out and Pitch a Potential Client
The worst that can happen is that they will say no. The best that can happen is that they will accept what you are offering, and you will have a new client that pays you consistently for months on end. As a writer in Billings, Montana I love seeing people rise through the Google ranks. If you are reading this and you need someone to help bring you up in the ranks, email me, or call me at 406.860.4407, to learn more about what I can do for you.