How will sales will help your freelance business?

There are many reasons why permanent employees go freelancing, and the move to freelancing can be extremely rewarding.

Freelancers have more control over their career direction, typically earn more, and have more holiday flexibility than permanent employees.

The keys to achieving the financial rewards are:
  • keeping your skills updated to ensure you are marketable.
  • minimising downtime between projects.
  • maximising your revenues.
As a freelancer you will be sold to and also need to become a salesperson yourself to sell your product – you!
The importance of a professional sales approach cannot be stressed enough, and this sales guide for freelancers will give you a good grounding for the skills you will need to help you reap the rewards from your freelancing career.

Sales Facts about the Freelance Market

As a freelancer you will be sold to and also need to become a salesperson to sell your yourself.
Some things to consider:
  • Having the top skills will not guarantee a project or the top rates: Keeping your skills current and updated will certainly ensure you can potentially command the highest premiums, but it certainly doesn’t mean you will earn the highest premiums. Neither does it ensure you will always be in work.
  • Bad candidates often beat better ones: The freelancers who win the projects are the ones who know best about finding a project, and not necessarily the ones who are best candidates for the projects. There are plenty of exceptional freelancers out of work, or working for less than they are worth simply because they are unable to successfully sell their product – themselves.
  • Market demand is not the main driver to success: Their is both seasonal demand for freelancers, and longer supply/demand fluctuations similar to the stock market. When demand is high even freelancers with the worst sales approach find themselves gaining projects with agents often fighting over them. When demand falls, the freelancers with little or no sales knowledge find themselves unable to secure projects and often head back to permanent employment, or worse, no employment. However, the ones who are best at selling themselves snap up the available project positions.
  • Price is not the issue: Freelancers with little or no sales experience often wrongly believe that competitive pricing is the sole key to securing business. This is untrue. Clients will expect to pay market price for the goods they receive. Price is rarely the main issue. As Alan Sugar stated in The Apprentice, “…any fool can stand on the street and sell ten pound notes all day for eight quid.”
  • Bad negotiation means lower income: A failure to negotiate your project rate well will minimise your income from projects and simply line the pockets of an agent via a large agency margin, which is of course their goal.

How Sales Will Help Your Freelance Business

To maximise your financial rewards you need to learn and apply good professional sales techniques.
Your expertise is the product you are selling, and despite what some people say, even the best products do not sell themselves.
A good grounding in sales will help you in the following areas:
  • Freelance Portfolio Preparation – the sales brochure about you
  • Finding projects & obtaining interviews.
  • Interview Technique.
  • Project Negotiation.
The most successful freelancers acknowledge the importance of a professional sales approach, and learn and apply good sales technique and process throughout their career.

Learning Sales

This guide to sales for freelancers aims to dispel some of the myths and provide you with some insights into sales.
To fully master sales can take a lifetime, but as with so many things, to grasp a basic understanding is utterly achievable.
This basic understanding can drastically improve your freelancing career and put you ahead of the rest.
It will also provide you with an understanding of a critical part of any business, often ignored (at their peril) by freelancers not working directly in sales.

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