Freelance With a Foundation
Spilkin says his nickname “Spillly” with three L’s is all due to his name not being available on Twitter. Serendipitously, this has actually become a trademark of his brand.
In the MAC (media, advertising, and communications) sphere, Spilkin spends time working with various clients, from one-man businesses (including myself!) all the way to large corporations.
After spending significant time in the advertising community, he saw a need for freelancers and agencies to work together more effectively. His new book “What the Freelance” provides freelancers with the foundational tools they need to manage their business so they can be more successful. But before you try to purchase it, you should know it actually can’t be purchased on its own. Only once you’ve enrolled in the online course “What the Freelance” will you receive the book.
The Sales Strategy:
Whether you’re a freelancer or small business, you probably have the creative chops, but the business side is often the sticking point. To create a strong sales strategy, Spilkin says you should have realistic goals and expectations. Pro tip: he says rather than court big projects with small businesses, focus on pursuing small projects from clients with a large budget.
You Should Know:
1. What is the project?
2. What makes you special?
3. Who is the client you want to secure?
4. How do you reach them?
5. What are you saying in the sales meeting?
It is important to remember that not every meeting will end in a sale, and that’s okay.
Once you figure out what your sales process looks like, only then can you figure out the marketing strategy to support that. For a small business, direct sales is the most important, then the marketing and the public relations.
Securing the Meeting:
While Spilkin says a cold call is your best bet, and a warm email is second to that, the most important thing you should have set up before beginning your sales process is a strong web presence and online profile. Now, you’re probably thinking, “Wait! You just said direct sales is the most important, then the marketing?” However, you need to show that you’re an authentic business.
After that, your script, whether by phone or email should be short, to the point, and request 20 minutes of the potential client’s time. Again, the end goal should be the meeting, not the sale.
To actually secure the meeting, Spilkin has one sure-fire suggestion.
“The single best way to get a meeting ever, has got to be an internal referral.”
He recommends utilizing Facebook as a powerful tool to secure that intro, by searching your target audience and asking mutual friends or contacts to make the connection.
Tailoring your Touchpoint:
Facebook also acts as a window into your personal life and there can be a benefit to friending professional contacts. He says it allows the sales process to move faster since you show an authentic, personal side to your business.
On the flip side, once you are connected you can find out information about your potential client and send a tailored gift to their taste or thoughtful piece of branded content that reflects your business. This acts as an attention-grabbing introduction and boosts your likelihood percentage of securing a reply or a meeting.
Timing in sales is crucial. While you may not convert every meeting into a sale, that doesn’t mean you’ve lost that potential client. It was simply the wrong time, and you should continue marketing to them after the fact. That way, when it is the right time, you’re top of mind.
“Until someone says stop contacting me, I’m saying be fairly relentless.”
And remember, if you’re sharing content with them, you don’t want to share stuff that applies to you, but share stuff that applies to them.
Open, probe, support, close.
“Open up the conversation, you probe what the problems are, you support them with your service and you try to close the deal.”
Spilkin says that most people are afraid to talk about the price in the room, but this is a mistake. Close with, “This is the price, this is the product and how likely are you to buy from us?” Don’t slow down the process by sending a follow-up email with a proposal.
“You should be getting push back on a regular basis for price, because then you know you’re pushing boundaries for the right sort of price… Know your value, know your price, know your minimums.”
If your client can’t afford your minimum, then you know when to say no.
At the end of the day, even if you’ve got the world’s greatest product, you still have to be good at sales, close a deal, and extract the most amount of money possible.
As Howard Mann says, “You can’t read the label from inside the bottle.”
Spilkin highlights the importance of having mentors, forums, and sources of objective feedback to keep your business on track.
“It’s hugely helpful to have other people look at your business, and give you a fresh perspective on what you’re doing and where you’re making money, and where you’re not making money, and where there are billing opportunities that you’re not seeing.”
Spilkin also points out that reading the right books at the right times makes a huge difference. For example, you should read “The E-Myth” by Michael E. Gerber before reading “The 4-Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferris, because you need to have a roadmap before you reach your destination.
Push yourself to be uncomfortable!