Freelancers: What You Can Do to Immediately Increase Your Sales Leads
Increasing your sales leads is the one thing you can do to ensure a healthy and consistent revenue backlog to sustain a successful freelancing career. Here’s what Business-Minded Freelancers can do to greatly increase their chances of increasing your sales leads generation by applying the work that designers take in their design process.
So you’re a Freelancer, Independent Contractor, Solopreneur or Start-Up Entrepreneur. You’ve made the leap, started your own thing, took that initiative. You started your business on the backs of those early clients, early adopters and your core fans of your product or service. Now you are thinking of how you can keep this pace up and also how to make sure you have the same successful you’ve had in the past.
Your Core Clients
It goes without saying that it wouldn’t have been possible without the early clients you had. They were the most vocal clients, giving you feedback while investing their time and energy in you as you bring your product and service available for your launch. You might not have had a launch but that’s besides the point — all product and services have your diehard fans.
So the key is to understand what those core clients can do and to do a in-depth review of who is truly buying your service. In order to do this, take the guesswork out of this sales leads generation process by seeing what we can learn from the design world.
Designers are the first product creators
We can argue about this point, but anything you create anything you have to start from an idea or a drawing board. In many ways, we are all designers in that we consider what the clients and end-users want and create a way to give it to them. That simple — we are all designers by nature.
Designers often use a process called creating Personas to support them in determining their intended audience. As a designer myself, I’m fascinated by the psychology of the people using the products and services we create, but more importantly I find that the formal way of using personas is lacking when solopreneurs and entrepreneurs are involved.
What putting on a “Designer” hat helps to do, is to ensure we get out of the way of ourselves and at least try to put on the shoes of your clients / users so that we can better serve them and the we are clearly defining the problem we have a solution for.
As mentioned, one of the simplest tools a designer uses to help ground themselves in create a design FOR an audience is through the use of ‘personas’.
How Designers Use Personas
Let first define what a persona is and is not. A persona is really short for a client persona or a user persona. A persona is not equivalent to a profile — like a profile you’ll encounter on LinkedIn for example. The profile is a list of things the person has done or a description of what they do, but it doesn’t tell us things deep enough.
A user persona is defined according to a Wikipedia is a “Personas are useful in considering the goals, desires, and limitations of brand buyers and users in order to help to guide decisions about a service, product or interaction space such as features, interactions, and visual design of a website.”
The key part of the definition is that personas are grounded in the following 3 aspects:
- Goals (of the person)
- Desires (of the person)
- Limitations (of the person)
These 3 key pieces of information helps unlock the potential of understanding your core business clients and in turn help drive warmer sales leads.
Story Of Your Clients
This is how I bootstrapped my own software business. I asked questions, did in-depth interviews with whomever would talk to me. And one of the best questions to use and one of the most effective questions is to ask your clients or prospects: Please walk me through a typical (business) day of yours?
This helps many ways, one it’s helps the client be grounded in the actual day she’s having instead of whatever problem she’s concerned with at the moment.
Two, this is a great question to help you start from the beginning, and to hone in one things that you can drill down on later.
The key to unlocking the goals, desires and limitations is through this “day-in-life-of” snapshot of the person’s life.
Once you’ve collected a number of personas you can start weaving the thread of what’s common with the people you spoke with or the clients you already know. Documenting this in a formal way is the key to success — oftentimes freelancers and solopreneurs think they “know” their clients, but instead it’s not formalized. Documenting it and give a fictitious name, background to this persona will help anchor your ideal and core client base.
Go to Where It Hurts The Most
Lastly, every persona should be anchored in a pain-point of your clients in order to successfully translate these people into effective sales leads. In the ‘limitations’ aspect of Personas mentioned above, doing that “day-in-the-life” of walkthrough will help support understanding what challenges your clients.
Go to where the sore point is — this will help uncover what it is the client needs most. Think about where you’re client are hurting most — why have clients come to you to solve this problem of theirs. There is a methodology for thinking about this and it’s called JTBD (Jobs-to-be-done).
JTBD thinking means you base your personas on what is the client hiring you for. What is it that need help with and how does your product and service achieve their goals (again #1 aspect of a persona).
Key take away and things to take action on Today!
- Use existing interviews or future interviews with clients create Personas
- Ask clients to walk you through a typical day or a specific day they had in the past to uncover their persona traits.
- Ensure Personas are written down (you can iterate it later) and includes clear client goals, desires and limitations.
- Do a test run of this persona document (doesn’t have to be long) by thinking through a JTBD (Jobs-to-be-done) framework.
- The Persona(s) you have will be your IDEAL CLIENT. Use this as a basis for thinking what blogpost topics to write, what marketing campaigns to run, what copy you create and how to angle your sales conversation with clients. The idea is that once you have this your sales funnel and your sales leads will be that much warmer, that much more of a fit for your product or service.