Who knew sales would play such a big part in your independent business?
Love it or hate it, the sales cycle is something freelancers must learn to take control of in order to build a steady and streamlined business. According to these experienced entrepreneurs with tried and true methods, here are five ways to speed up your sales cycle and close more business.
Maintain a constant pipeline of prospects
We’ve all been there — you land an exciting new client or project and immediately get to work. Once it wraps up, you’re ready for your next project but realize there’s nothing lined up so you quickly conduct outreach to let people know you’re available for work. You finally land another client and the cycle repeats itself. While this process may work for a while, it isn’t sustainable, especially if you want to scale your business.
Instead of waiting until your current project is completed before looking for more work, the key to landing more business is to simultaneously be conducting outreach.
Take a cue from Ashley Williams, VP of Strategic Partnerships at Visionary Rising, who always has a pipeline of prospective clients in the works.
“I like to scroll through Twitter and look for new clients and just actively look at new opportunities for outreach,” says Ashley. “For outreach, I like to start off with 6-10 prospective clients. Maybe 4 of them won’t get back to you, then you have 3 that engage with you, and then a solid 2-3 that you actually work with.”
Focus on one main service
It’s not uncommon for freelancers to offer a wide range of services in hopes of booking more clients, especially when you’re just starting out. But doing so can actually slow down the sales cycle.
Instead, Halli Herzog, owner and brand designer at Herland Brand Studio suggests narrowing down your offerings to speed up the process and stack your client pipeline.
“When I limited my services, I always had a base of where to start from,” says Halli. “I knew how to go about executing it and pricing it. This saved me so much time and energy. Once you get that one service streamlined, you can always expand from there.”
Say no to clients who aren’t a good fit
The quickest way to speed up the sales cycle? Don’t waste your time with prospective clients who aren’t a good fit. A lot of time and energy goes into the pitching process, so if you spot a red flag early on, don’t ignore it.
Develop a process for vetting potential clients before you hop on a discovery call. Once you’re on a call, pay attention to any red flags that may show that this may not be a good fit with your values, your budget, or the services you offer.
According to Ashley of Visionary Rising, this shouldn’t take long to identify. “I can tell within the first 20 minutes if you have funds and if you’re really ready to have an actual partnership.”
Lead with value-driven results
When talking to a prospective client, you can have a well-thought-out pitch prepared, but according to creative studio founder, Brittany Wilson, results speak volumes over anything else.
“You can be as confident as you want. But let me tell you something. Everything is about building trust with the customer,” says Brittany. “If you are telling me you charge twenty thousand dollars, but you’re not capable of showing the work that you’ve done that looks like it’s worth that much money, then that’s a problem. And you need to show that your value is there.”
Streamline your process
If you typically offer the same services and packages for most of your proposals, using a template is one of the fastest ways to speed up the sales cycle. When you use a scope of work template like the ones found in the Wethos Services Library, you can speed up the time between discovery call and proposal with potential clients.
According to LaTecia Johnson, founder of Visionary Rising, using Wethos helped her team optimize the proposal process by decreasing their average pitch time from 2 weeks to 3 days.
Plus, our Services Library helped them bring in more revenue once they saw that they had been undercharging.
“My team completed an audit of our past services utilizing the Wethos Services Library. In the 3 years of business, we’d undervalued our services by at least 50%, costing nearly $250K in potential revenue,” says LaTecia.