After a recent article that I wrote for The Everygirl on preparing financially to start your own business, I received a number of emails from readers looking advice on freelancing or starting their own businesses. Most of them I could answer in a quick email, but one question in particular stood out to me:
I feel like a lot of people are interested in my services, but they never seem to hire me. I don’t think my prices are too high, but I know there are people who charge less. How do I convince people to go from “interested” to “buying”? Is there something I’m missing?
Landing clients is probably the toughest thing about running your own business. Because no matter how awesome your services are, if no one is buying them, you’re in trouble. So how do you convince customers to commit?
It’s easy to focus on price as the main thing customers look for, but that’s a race to the bottom. There will always be someone willing to charge less than you, and accepting pennies for your work is not a sustainable business model.
If you really want to close the deal and land new clients, don’t focus on price. Instead, focus on how you can help. Every potential client is coming to you with a problem to solve — it’s your job to show them why you’re the best person to fix it.
1. Offer More Value Than The Other Guy
This may seem like an impossible tip to actually follow. After all, you don’t know who you’re up against — so how can you know if you’re offering more value than the other people your potential client is talking to?
I’ve found, though, that the trick really lies in offering even more value than your client is asking for. Most people — whether they’re writers, coaches, planners, photographers, craftsman, or whatever service niche your business falls into — offer their best version of what the client is asking for. That is, if the client is looking for a price quote on 8 hours of wedding photography, they give their best rate for that amount of time.
But what if you offer your best quote for 8 hours of time, an initial consultation, two large prints of their choice, and a wedding album? Suddenly, you’re offering a package that gives them what they’re asking for plus a whole lot more.
2. Explain The Value Of What You’Re Offering
Of course, if you just offer more things, that won’t go over well. It’ll look like you’re just trying to up-sell them, which makes you look grabby, which puts people off.
So instead of just listing things that you can offer them, explain why the extra services you’re offering will benefit them. Will it save them time? Make their website rank better? Improve their customer service? Show exactly what benefit you are offering. And do it with confidence, because you’re not just trying to sell them more things, you’re trying to genuinely help them out.
To put it another way, clients are interested in hiring you because you are an expert. You have knowledge and skills that they do not have. Give them the full benefit of that expertise.
3. Answer The Questions They Didn’T Know To Ask
When I got married, we didn’t have a wedding planner, but we did have a day-of coordinator. I didn’t think this was really necessary — until my fiance and I sat down with her the day before the wedding to go over the schedule.
As she went over where she would be and what she would do, I realized how much she was taking off our plates: overseeing tent and table set up, checking in with the caterer, making sure guests had directions to the reception… even taking charge of the cake knife we were using, a family antique, to make sure it got back to my parents house and didn’t get mixed up with the caterer’s supplies. I would not have thought of half the things she handled that day , but she expected them all and had a plan for everything.
You need to be that day-of coordinator.
The best way to show potential clients that you really are the expert you claim to be is to answer questions they didn’t even know they needed to ask. Tell them your plan to improve things that they hadn’t yet realized needed improvement. Make sure they understand exactly how you work, what you will deliver, and what they can expect from your services. You will look pulled-together, professional, and unbelievably competent.