A Top Down Sales Process for Freelancers

When you boil down the sales process, no matter what the business, there are 3 steps.

  • Step One: Find Potential Clients (aka prospects)
  • Step Two: Nurture/Close Clients
  • Step Three: Onboard Clients

For freelancers, a lapse in any of these stages can be detrimental to your business. However, most sales content is solely based around step two — closing the deal.

In this post, I’m going to cover all three evenly.

Here goes.

Step One: Find Potential Clients

If you find the right prospects to pitch, your services will be more attractive. If you’re a medical copywriter, your current client base and samples will be a huge sales tool, making closing the deal that much easier when pitching those in the medical arena.

But you need to find medical facilities who need copy. And finding healthcare clients already using services like yours would be helpful, right?

This makes, in my opinion, finding the right prospects more important than closing them (although, it’s still important).

So, how do you find them? It starts with data.

The Four Key Things to Look for in Potential Clients

I’m going to be using the LeadFuze app to show the four different attributes to look for when finding your perfect clients.

1. Find the Right Person

You want to talk to the person in charge, often called the “decision maker”. If your targets are smaller businesses, you’ll probably want to talk the the owner. But once an organization reaches a certain size, there could be another person with the purse strings.

I’ve already mentioned a copywriter in the health/medical field, so we’ll keep with that throughout.

Many practices or rehab centers are going to be smaller, but to cover my bases I’m going to search for both the owner and a marketing role.

See it done in the LeadFuze app in this gif.

Notice that the app filters out titles that you wouldn’t want contact data for, like “assistant” or “intern”.

Other than the app, you can find most of this information on LinkedIn, but first, you’ll need to narrow that market down.

2. Find the Right Markets

Give your current clients a good search through. Notice anything?

Our example is a health copywriter (or maybe a content writer). If our fictitious person looked at his/her client list, there were hypothetically a lot of medical customers. These clients paid on time, they were friendly and forgiving.

When you look at your current list, do you have customer you really like to work with?

How about those certain clients in your inbox and you cringe?

Find out which industries (and other factors) those clients work in and replicate those customers.

One of the best ways to do this is to choose the industries or markets.

Here’s LeadFuze (gif below) pulling all of the companies in the “Hospital & Healthcare” as well as other health companies.

Once you have the markets and the roles you want to target, you’ll have to start finding those decision makers in the companies within your target niche.

Once you have a name (and probably a LinkedIn profile), you’ll need to use a tool to find those emails.

3. Find the Right-Sized Businesses

You have the who and the where, but now we’ll need to see the how…big. How big is the right company.

LeadFuze allows you to choose between small, mid-sized and large businesses. You can also filter each further once selected (see gif below).

Doing this on LinkedIn is possible. You can find the company’s page and notice the number of people who have claimed to work there currently.

4. Find Out if They’re Interested

One of the coolest and effective ways of finding a potential client is whether or not they are currently using things that you use to do your job.

For a copywriter, this could mean landing page software or other marketing tools. Or, for other content, it could be a blog.

With the LeadFuze app, you can choose to pull companies that use, or don’t use, just about any tech on the market. Optionally, you can even choose to only see companies who are actively hiring certain roles.

Unfortunately, there’s not a great way to do this without using other paid tools.

Using the app, you can scroll down and click “Start Searching”. It seems that these filters brought up 2,640 different matches.

Now you have closer to 3000 different emails of people who likely have purchasing power at companies who are using tools that indicate they may want a copywriter.

Nice.

Step Two: Nurturing/Closing Clients

With LeadFuze, you can save this search and automatically pull a number of leads each and every day.

You don’t just want to send 2,640 emails in a week.

It will put you on the spam list and you won’t be able to test and see which offers help you get clients.

The leads will still be there and LeadFuze offers an unlimited lead plan to help you never run out.

Of course, just having the emails and names won’t help you. You’ll have to do outreach.

For this:

  • You can cold call
  • Do email outreach
  • Add them on LinkedIn

I’m not a fan of cold calls, but love email outreach. And adding the contact on LinkedIn can be a helpful tool, depending on the industry.

LeadFuze offers two deep, powerful integrations with Mailshake and Orca.

So, you can take those 25-50 leads that you gather every day and send them to Mailshake. In Mailshake, you can automatically send a sequence of emails to your leads getting them to open up and pay attention to you.

With Orca, you can send those same leads and Orca will view their profile and even request to connect automatically.

Here’s what that looks like:

Day One: 30 contact are sent to Mailshake and receive a cold email.

Day Two: 30 different contacts are sent to Mailshake and the 30 from the previous day are sent to Orca.

And so on.

What to Send Leads

You should NOT just send a blind, direct pitch for your services.

If a copywriter sends a forward email that says who they are, what they do and what they want — said copywriter is just talking about themselves.

Instead, you’ll want to find an enticing way to show how your services can improve their main objectives.

Keeping that health copy example, you could send something like this:

Hi {Name},

Want to know how other rehabilitation centers, just like {Business Name}, are attracting more patients?

I’m {Your Name} and have been talking with dozens of office managers just like you, {Lead Name}.

If you’d like detailed report I’ve put together showing how all of these rehab centers doubled performance, let me know!

Best,

{Your Name}

P.S. If you’re not interested, let me know and I’ll stop emailing.

Why You Need Automation

This automation is powerful and vital for freelancers and those working solo. Delivering on your promises to clients can take up a lot of time. Getting new clients can also be a full-time job.

Using the right tools in finding and closing clients can help you continue growing your business and setting forecastable revenue targets.

But that’s not all.

Step Three: Onboarding Clients

When you do close those perfect clients, you can still mess it up. This is where onboarding comes into play.

Getting a client to say “yes” or “send me a proposal” is awesome. But keeping clients and getting referrals comes down to two things:

  1. Setting the Right Expectations
  2. Meeting or Exceeding Those Expectations

You can set the right expectation by;

  • Having a call or personal meeting: This goes a long way toward setting timelines and specific numbers clients can expect to see. Without this, they may not be impressed.
  • Sending a well-crafted proposal: This is something InvoiceNinja knows a lot about 🙂
  • Keeping In Touch: Sending an invoice shouldn’t be the only communication past the sale. Keep your clients up-to-date with regular reporting.

Meeting and exceeding those expectations is up to you. It’s wildly based on what you do and how you do it. Of course, setting the expectations is the number one way to ensure that you can meet them.

Using Tools Makes Things Easier

There are people who tear down houses using martial arts. It’s a novelty, but it’s not effective.

Finding your clients used to be pulling out a phonebook and a phone. Nurturing used to be, well sending real mail (which still works if you do it right) or calling again and again. Invoicing clients used to be via Excel or some software you bought at Staples.

Now, most of those sales tools are novelties. Use tools and grow your business.

Author:
Justin McGill is the Founder of LeadFuze, B2B lead generation software that allows you to find anyone’s contact information in your target market with unlimited access. Entire lead lists built for you.