Selling You Online
Freelancers and solopreneurs are essentially selling themselves and their expertise, here’s a quick list of useful things to do to help people get the “YOU”.
Remember you may never meet or even call many of your clients, so you need to establish a level of trust over the internet. This is how I do it.
Let Them See You
The human animal reads people’s faces, we like to look at people, see their facial impressions. A talking head video is an excellent way to let them see you.
Check out my sales page at ibraininc.com I have a quick video of me talking into a web cam explaining how my services work.
It just proves I’m a real person, I have a face, a voice and a bizarre english accent. Putting a face to a person helps to build trust and confidence.
You don’t need excellent quality video, no high quality production values, just talk into a web cam and record it.
If It’s Only You, Don’t Act Big
Don’t talk in the third person about yourself on your sales page, be yourself say I not we if there is only you. People are buying your expertise, don’t pretend to be bigger than you are. Don’t fall into the nonsense that people will only hire big companies.
People want a personal services, and solopreneurs are ideally positioned to give that service, act as you not a we. If they wanted a big firm rather than a reliable freelancer they would hire one.
Take The Risks
Take the risks instead of the client. Allow them to pay upon completion of the project or in stages, when it is finished to their satisfaction. Offer a no fix no fee service or warranties on your work.
I offer a risk sharing system with 50% up front, the rest on completion with a no fix no fee guarantee. If I cannot solve a technical problem I refund the deposit. This way my cash flow is still good and my clients get a better feeling that I will not disappear into the void.
I do all of these and I have been stiffed only twice in all my years – you know who you are shoddy legal firm trying to organise a class action suit for Hooters employees and that piss poor on-line magazine in Arizona. Not that I am bitter.
Taking the risk helps people to cross that online divide and bring you onboard.
Collect testimonials and show them to people. You can see mine here ibraininc.com/testimonials
Testimonials show that you are a decent person to work with, that you can do your job and that you are not a nightmare service provider from hell.
Don’t be scared to ask for testimonials, if you have done a good job, people are often very happy to write you up. It helps if you are giving back links from your site too. I have an automated request for a testimonial in my final invoice email. It’s a great time to ask for their recommendation right after the work is done to their satisfaction.
Show Them You Understand Their Problems
Potential clients want to know that you understand their problems and that you will take that problem and own it till you have a solution.
Think about that in your sales copy, make them comfortable, they don’t want you they want a solution to their problem. This is what I use to sell WordPress services
I can take any issue you are having with your WordPress site and turn it around into a solution as painlessly as possible for you, be it a problem with plugins, trauma with themes or dilemma with databases.
You don’t need to explain it in any technical detail, I will do that for you, just tell me what you need and I can solve that problem.
Let Them Know You Have Done This Before
People will not want to hire you or buy your products if you have no track record.
Why not write up a series of case studies on your blog or as a pdf download so that they can see you have done this before for other clients. If people can see social proof that you have solved a problem like their’s it help to sell “YOU”.
Create a course showing how to do this via video. A great example of this is my hack recovery course. If I know enough to create an info product, I am more than good enough to provide that service.
They May Not Have Hired Anyone to do X
Treat everyone as a Noob, they may not have hired someone to what you do for them before.
You may take it from granted that you need these passwords and access to the database to do your thing, but they aren’t to know, spell it out to them how working with you works.
I remember the first time I hired a graphical designer to build a custom theme, I had no idea how it worked, but he had a brilliant step by step questionnaire to extract the information he needed , it is these types of flourishes that make working with someone a pleasure not a chore and will bring repeat business.
Check out They’ve Probably Never Hired For What You Do for more on this point.
Don’t Make Them Feel Stupid
This goes hand in hand with the previous point. They are hiring you as the expert, don’t make them feel stupid due to their lack of knowledge, that is what they are buying.
I was working with a hosting company and the control panel was down. Their reply was something like this:
“As a courtesy we have rebooted the server, this is a dedicated server, you should take full responsibly for the management of the services”
How the feck was I to know, you made me feel like an idiot, I’m not in a good place about you anymore I will probably not use you again.
Standardise The ProcessHave a standard way of replying to leads, be consistent and it show that you have done this before. This all goes back to my policy or A.R.S automate, reduce, systemised. If you have a standard tested way of brining new clients onboard, it give people a feeling of trust about “YOU” the service provider at the end of an email conversation.
I have a set of canned responses that I send out to people, spelling out things and what I need from them.
Wrap UpAll of these techniques have come from trial and error over the years and I have found they increase client confidence in me.
How are you selling yourself, is there a particular technique you find helps to bridge that online gap. Replies in the comments if you have please.
Image by carbonnyc