Like it or not, sales is a necessary part of your freelance writing business. Strong closers get more business. Weak closers don’t.
To close more sales, you need a follow-up strategy.
What do you do when a prospective writing client says “I’m interested” but doesn’t pull the trigger? You gently wrestle them to the ground and wrangle a “yes” or a “no” from them.
Here are three strategies you can use to turn a “maybe” into a “yes” or a “no.”
1. Some prospective writing clients aren’t worth it
Sales is a numbers game. The more prospects you touch the more likely you’ll get a “yes”. That’s why follow ups are overrated. Some freelancers just don’t do it.
You have to ask yourself, is your time better spent chasing maybes around the mulberry bush or finding a prospect who is actively seeking a writer like you? As hard as it may seem, there are prospects waiting for a writer like you to make the right offer. Your job is to find them.
2. Stay in touch (in a non-salesy way)
If you’re like me, you believe there are only two answers—yes or no. Maybe you shouldn’t take “maybe” as an answer. In that case, if the client isn’t ready to say “yes,” wait them out. But stay in touch.
One way is to send periodic updates. Once a month or so, without being a nuisance, send the prospect something interesting. Here are four nonthreatening ways to do that:
- Run a Google Alert on their name. When they win an award or earned media attention, congratulate them.
- Follow them on social media and share their content.
- E-mail them a link to an article about changes going on in their industry.
- If you write something relevant to their niche, tag them on Twitter or send them the link through their preferred medium.
3. Get them to ask you to follow up
To win at sales, you have to overcome objections.
A “maybe” is a “yes” at a later date. When a prospect says “not at this time,” be gentle, but press in.
Ask a question such as, “What would it take for you to say ‘yes’ to my proposal?” or “Mr. Prospect, level with me, what is the real reason you’re not ready to do business right now?” This is usually where prospects will either say they aren’t interested or will ask for a call back.
If a prospect asks for a follow up, be sure to do so in the requested time frame, then revert to Strategy 2. If the client says they’ve lost interest or you sense they’re stringing you along, employ Strategy 1.
There are no maybes — only yeses and nos.
Allen Taylor is the author of E-book Publishing: Create Your Own Brand of Digital Books and curates The Content Letter. In a former life, he was a telesales professional who never took “maybe” for an answer.