Here’s the struggle…
You got yourself an appointment, either through word-of-mouth or some form of marketing you’ve done. The question is…
What should you do next to increase the odds that you’ll walk away with the project safely in the bag?
Before I break down the exact steps any aspiring successful entrepreneur need to do… we first need to understand why most sales presentation or appointment fall flat.
The thing is… most entrepreneurs and freelancers were never trained in sales.
Most believed that if they had a good product, if they offered great services, customers will come flocking to them.
It all sounds nice and dainty… until reality hits. Their customers feel that they are too expensive, especially those who are just starting out. Which leaves them in this terrible merry-go-round chase – they need projects to get experience but they can only gain experience by securing projects.
Here’s the thing…
You Don’t Have To Wait Years Before Charging More For Your Services
Most people will tell you that you should offer services for free first to get “experience”. This will let you charge higher prices on your next projects.
But the question is…
How many projects should you be giving away before you’ve gotten enough experience? (Pro-bono style)
This is why I prefer to focus on exchanging value for premium pricing.
It doesn’t matter even if you are completely green, so long as you learn how to break down the biggest sales resistance your prospects have.
Whether you are brand new (mint-condition out of the packaging) or a well-seasoned veteran in your industry, there is always the issue of trust.
As long as you know how to gain the trust of your prospects, you’ll be able to easily justify your prices. (Hint: win-win)
In my years of working with business owners, I’ve use a simple 3-step process that help me gain my client’s trust and win bigger projects.
This process works best in the Harvesting Phase of business marketing after you’ve set the right foundation for your business.
Step 1: HARBINGER – Announce Your Authority
What do you do when you secure an appointment?
Most freelancers I’ve spoken to would send out an email or a SMS to thank them for the appointment and fix a date to meet up. If you are already doing this… great.
But don’t stop there.
This is the opportune time for you to show them your authority. This is how you enter each appointment as an expert instead of being another solution provider.
And believe you me… you never want to go to an appointment as a solution provider.
So how DO you announce your authority?
The simplest and fastest way is to let your authority website do it for you. Simply put… have a series of web pages to show your prospects why they have to listen to YOU.
Whenever you’ve secured an appointment, include a simple line in your message that leads them to your website so they can learn more about you.
E.g. Before I meet you, here’s a link to my Branding Through Story website where you can get a greater understanding of the work I do.
There are a few other things you can do before the appointment but for now, focus on how you can establish your authority.
Next comes the actual sales presentation.
Step 2: HOOK – Become Their Only Choice
Nothing beats knowledge.
Let’s establish that first. Because while some gurus will tell you to “fake it till you make it”, you do need to have some substance for your appointment.
But does that mean you need to know everything about your industry?
You just need to know enough about your niche. (Which is the whole purpose of proper positioning)
Remember, your prospects are looking to you to solve a problem they’re facing. They want answers from you, not more questions they’re confused about.
E.g. if you’re an I.T. specialist, your prospects want you to tell them which software or hardware to use. Not more questions on the type of infrastructure they have (most of which they wouldn’t know anyway).
The goal here is to show them you’re the expert they need throughout your entire presentation. Impress them to the point they know there is no other option.
And the best way to do that is to become a true expert in your niche. (In the branding challenge series, I’ll share a simple way to become an expert fast)
Step 3: Heighten – Enhance Your Authority
Let’s face the facts…
In most sales presentation, you will not close your prospect right there and then. More often than not, you’ll need to go back to draft out a proposal for them.
This is by far the most crucial point of the entire sales process. Get it wrong and you may let a golden opportunity slip past your fingers.
Most first-time freelancers make the terrible mistake of taking their own sweet time drafting this proposal that by the time they do send it out… their prospect have either decided to go with someone else or not go ahead with the project.
This is why within the same day, you have to send out another email or SMS to thank them for the appointment.
At the same time, go through some of the key points raised during the appointment and what are the expected action steps to move forward.
I cannot stress how important this step is.
By getting them to commit to your action steps, your sales proposal will be much more effective. (As explained by Dr. Robert Cialdini in his book, Influence)
At the same time, YOU are still fresh on your prospects’ minds. They are still awed and impressed (which they should if you’ve done step 2 right) from your presentation.
However you need to push out your proposal fast to secure the project. Remember, the deal is never completed until cash has changed hands, but that’s a separate topic.
And that is how the 3Hs of Sales Authority comes together.
The key to focus on is how you build up your authority and gain trust fast.
But more importantly…
How you can and should start winning much bigger ticket projects.