You won another client. Another project to work on. A step closer to make your freelancing activities a self-sustainable business. Success, however, doesn’t come without pain. It can be stressful to manage multiple projects or clients, following up on requests and keeping track of what to deliver and when. In all this, you still need to successfully track sales activities to make ensure new business comes in.
For most of those who are not familiar with sales, successfully tracking sales activities can seem like a scary task to tackle.
What’s the best way to keep track of everything while ensuring you keep working smoothly on existing clients? How to make sure you don’t miss new opportunities?
The answer is simple. You need to work on a client relationship management tool. There are different options in the market, free CRM tools are also an option. However, if you feel like you are not there yet, there is an even easier alternative. Creating your own “CRM” to track sales activities is the first and smartest thing you can do as a freelancer.
Before we get into creating your own CRM or just signing up somewhere, it’s important that you don’t understand why you need to do this.
It’s Not Impossible To Behave Like A Sales Pro
First things first. Like it or not, sales is going to be part of your day-to-day activities.
Do you want to make enough money to sustain your freelance practice? You need to do sales.
Are you willing to scale the number of projects you are handling to afford perhaps that nomadic lifestyle that everyone is talking about? You need to do sales.
Sales doesn’t need to be scary. There are ways to get around a few initial mental barriers. First of all, you will need to identify your potential clients. Then, you will need to send the first “cold-emails” and then, yes, close your first paying client. Once you have done that, you will need to create a process to replicate that successful journey you took the first paying client over and over again.
Being Organized Is The Key To Success
Successful salespeople will unlikely reveal what’s their secret to overachieve their quota. I have been in sales for over 10 years now and I can tell you that, together with some luck and the right understanding of what sales is about, what makes the difference is how you organize your work.
How well do you track new potential clients you start talking with?
Have you identified which source bring the most interested clients?
Do you have a way to track when was last time you reached out to those potential clients?
How do you make sure to follow up at the right time?
All these questions will help you stay on top of the communication you have with the client. Timing is everything in sales. You can have the best solution or service for a potential client, but if he doesn’t need it now (or he doesn’t understand why he needs it now), why are you even wasting your time?
Sales Is Not What You Think
How many times have you bought from someone who you thought was trying to be sneaky or too pushy? ZERO!
Sales is about understanding your clients, their needs and how you can help them solve whatever problem they are facing. How can you do that? It’s really simple.
Track your sales activities constantly and in an organized way. Be on top of the communication by knowing what to ask and provide the right answers at the right time.
Yes, you will still have to ask for next action or even to slightly “push” for closing that client, but that’s not everything and surely not the way you should sell.
Let’s Start Closing More Clients
I have seen too many freelancers asking themselves how to take their business to the next level or listening to “experts” promising to give them THE answer they need while talking about abstract marketing topics.
The answer you are looking for is in tracking sales activities in a proper way, constantly and creating a process that is easy for you to follow.
For this reason, I have created a Sales Growth Framework for all freelancers. Easy to use, not complicated and with everything you need.
The Sales Growth Framework For Freelancers
This framework aims at giving you a basic “DIY CRM” version that you can start using today.
It has four main sections (or tabs).
- Pipeline Stages: This tab will help you add all contact details of potential clients, with some additional information to keep track of your sales activities. For example, deal size (i.e. what’s the size of the contract you are talking about), the status of the deal (i.e. where is the conversation at). As you will download the Sales Growth Framework, you will see that some cells are automatically filled in as you input some data. Lastly, you can also change the stage names in the “Instructions” tab.
- Funnel Analysis: This tab is completely automated and it’s based on the Pipeline Stages tab. This is mainly for your own consideration in understanding how well you are doing with all the potential clients you are talking with.
- Activity Management: This is an extra tab for you to give yourself some targets and stick to the plan. You don’t have to use it, however, I highly recommend to do so especially at the beginning. It will give you some structure to follow. Remember that being organized is what makes you successful.
- Finance: This tab is self-explanatory. It will help you track the finance coming in from the clients you are working with.
Sales is a number game. You need to contact potential clients, the right ones. Get a good understanding of what to offer them as well as being consultative. Lastly, you need to be organized, keep track of your sales activities and stick to the plan you set for yourself.
In all those years in sales, I have realized that successful salespeople have a plan to follow and track what they do constantly. You can now do the same with the Sales Growth Framework.