Which sort of freelancer will sell more? What do you think? Which freelancer is best positioned to make the sale and get the customer’s business?
The answer is simple: the customer choses the one they like… The one who has created a good impression. The majority of clients rely on their personal emotional preferences when making a decision. This makes the first impression the most important element of the sales process. The key to increasing the number of deals is to make your customer feel appreciated and happy from the first moment forward.
Keep reading for an insider’s view of sales based on information collected by my friends and colleagues through their decades of sales experience. Here’s what I learned. There are 7 vital components freelancers should use to connect with potential clients, maintaining contact, and to gaining their trust and sincere interest during the whole sales process. Are you ready? Let’s start!
If you’re not in the mood to connect, the client won’t be interested in connecting with you. When you make the first contact with a customer, exude confidence in your abilities and in the quality of the product or service you provide. Broadcast positive emotions and you’ll win the client’s goodwill with ease.
Smile (Also When on the Phone)
A simple smile can help you gain any person’s interest. Consider this, if you smile to a mere stranger in the street you are likely to receive a smile in response. Don’t believe us? Try it out for yourself: Smile to ten or twenty different people when you’re in public and observe their reactions. You’ll see that very few, if at all, will roll their eyes or grimace. In fact, most people will respond to your smile with a reciprocal smile.
Here’s the key point. When we’re talking and smiling simultaneously, the cadence and inflection of our voice changes and it allows our customers to perceive positive intonations and inflection. Simply put, the client “hears” your smile on the phone. Of course, the more positive the atmosphere, the easier it’ll be for you to sell your goods or services.
Say Your Client’s Name
You already know this: people like it when you call them by their name! It’s the sweetest word in the world to our subconscious. That’s why it’s important to call your client by name at least three times during the initial conversation. You should also use the client’s name at key points of the discussion, and at the moments when you need to emphasize something especially important and draw the client’s full attention. Of course, don’t over do it.
If you don’t know the person’s name, then ask them politely at the beginning of the call, “May I get your name?” Don’t be shy.
Adjust Your Rate of Speech
According to the rate of speech there are 3 categories of people:
- “Fast speech rate” These clients are really talkative; they talk constantly and change subjects fast. You can’t stop their flow of words for anything at times.
- “Medium speech rate” Includes customers with “normal” conversation manner whose speech rate isn’t too fast or too slow. The majority of clients belong to this category.
- “Slow speech rate” Such people often pause quite a bit during the conversation and can have drawn-out discussions describing their thoughts and ideas for what might seem like hours. They might also tend to repeat or rephrase their sentences over and over again.
If, on the contrary, the client is a fast talker, try to increase your speech rate. The congruence of speech is the catalyst to good conversational chemistry.
If the two people engaged in conversation have conflicting types – for example “fast” and “slow” speech rates – then their sales discussion will die in agony after two minutes. You may have even experienced such cases. So, try your best to adjust your rate of speech to match that of the customer’s. If the customer speaks slowly and makes frequent pauses, you’d better pause as well to ensure that the person you’re speak with understands everything. If, on the contrary, the client is a fast talker, try to increase your speech rate. The congruence of speech is the catalyst to good conversation chemistry.
If the conversation takes long it’s recommended that you defuse the situation by applying the following techniques:
- Change your speech rate from fast to medium to draw client’s attention to one or particular detail or another.
- Alter the volume level of your speech. A slightly louder voice (don’t yell at them!) also helps to attract attention.
- Make logical pauses and emphasize the main stages of the conversation.
- Use your sense of humor! Humor is a great asset to deploy when your client is fatigued from a long discussion.
- Ask questions that might seem unexpected. They could help enliven the conversation or help with a necessary gear change.
A compliment is another simple method of gaining a person’s interest and reducing psychological distance during the conversation. Types of the compliments that are the easiest to make include:
- Direct compliment – mention any trait you notice in your client that could be is worth complimenting. The most important thing here is not to stop your speech to estimate the customer’s reaction – that makes your compliment sound forced and insincere. Just pepper your pitch with a subtle complement, such as:
- “I like your voice”
- “Your argument is good”
- “Your idea is original”
- “I like _______” – tell your customers what you like about them. It’s a simple, but powerful compliment. Try these on for size:
- “You have a great sense of humor”
- “You’ve got great taste”
- “Your approach is impressive”
We know – some of these might sound cheesy, but trust us, they work.
Use Active Listening
It’s not enough to simply listen to your customers, you should also show them you understand, appreciate and are internalizing what they’re saying.
A lot of people have difficulties with this component of connecting with clients. It’s not enough to simply listen to your customers, you should also show them you understand, appreciate and are internalizing what they’re saying. A freelancer may often only put on a show of listening to the client, while in fact, their mind is occupied with the next part of their pitch, with the fear of refusal, or even with thoughts and feelings that are entirely un-related the conversation. As a result, the freelancer might miss crucial information needed to make the sale.
The following reinforcement words will help to give your client the impression that you’re not only listening, but also internalizing:
- Of course…
- You’re right…
- I agree…
- That’s true…
This component is altogether more important than the others, combined. The previous six skills will become second nature with time (you’ll notice that if you’ve recently paid attention to any lawyers or politicians). But sincerity is hard to fake. Sincerity is full connectedness between the things a person says and does and their inner thoughts and values. It’s obvious that you can’t gain this from mere practice. However, you can become more sincere if you change your way of thinking. Consider these facets of sincerity:
- Be honest – even if it makes you feel uneasy
- If you can’t deliver something, admit to it, but confess that a workaround you have in mind might be a worthy alternative
- Respect your clients
- Take pride in your products
- Have confidence in your abilities and professional skills
Use these simple tools to make your negotiations successful! And remember, establishing first contact with a client is often the most important part of a deal. Focus on setting the tone with the potential client in the first 30 seconds of your conversation and the rest should be smooth sailing.