Many freelancers and small business owners don’t think of themselves as “salespeople”, but unless your company is big enough to have a dedicated sales team, you are the “sales team”. The old adage: “Nothing happens until something is sold” is still true today. Before you can close the deal and sign the contract, you have to move people from prospects, to leads, to opportunities.
Ed Gandia, the co-author of The Wealthy Freelancer, and founder of the International Freelancers’ Academy, encourages solo practitioners and freelancers to understand the difference between the levels of people who may one day (hopefully soon) buy your products or services:
- prospect: a person you have identified as a target for your marketing efforts and activities. This is your largest group of people; you should pre-set your criteria for prospects so that you are not just scattering your marketing to the wind or anyone who is breathing.
- lead: a prospect who has indicated a certain level of interest in your products or services. These are people who have signed up for your e-newsletter, or “Liked” your Facebook Page, or joined your LinkedIn Group, given approval to be on your blog post distribution list, or otherwise expressed interest in keeping abreast of you and your company.
- opportunity: a lead who is ready to give you a chance to present your services, to discuss up potential project, or submit a formal quote for your products and services.
It is important that you develop a system to keep up with your prospects, leads, and especially with your opportunities. Once “opportunities” award you the project (and signs the contract!), then and only then do they become clients and now “it’s a deal”! Congratulations!
If you are a freelancer or VSB (very small business), how do you manage your sales opportunities? Let us know in the comments!