by Pete Savage, co-author, The Wealthy Freelancer
“If you’re selling a professional service, you need a five-step process. I don’t care what you’re selling, your buyer needs to know that when they do business with YOU, they’re in the hands of someone who’s done this before.”
I learned this from Jim, a former Executive Vice President at the largest bank in Canada. As a bank exec big shot, Jim was a seasoned and discerning buyer of professional services from solo consultants and firms. When he offered free advice like this, I listened.
I promptly created my own five-step process for my freelance copywriting practice. And sure enough, I promptly began closing more business.
Over the years, I’ve honed my five-step process into what is truly a “battle-tested” version that helps me land clients. (I like the description “battle-tested”, which I thieved from Kyle’s recent blog post Starting a Consulting Business.)
Why This 5-Step Process Works Like a Charm
Why does the 5-Step Process work so well? Well just listen to how it sounds…
You’re on the phone with a new prospect. He has just recited to you the requirements for a project and is now preparing to shut off his brain and hang up. His ears are about to toggle over to half-listening mode, as he expects you to say, “Well thank you, I’ll be in touch very shortly with a quote,” just like every other freelancer always does.
But you don’t say that.
Instead, you say, “Well this sounds great, and I have a five-step process that’s designed to get this project started off on the right track AND limit your time involvement to critical items only.”
You’ve just woken him back up! This is music to every client’s ears. In my experience, upon hearing this, 8 out of 10 clients will then ask to hear your five steps.
You’ve just set yourself up to end the call on a high note. Not only that, you’re very likely the only freelancer he’s talked to in recent history who’s said anything remotely like this. Points to you. Big points.
Get Your Pen Out. Anyone Can Do This.
Every freelancer, consultant or other type of professional service provider can communicate what they do in five steps. Try this yourself:
On a pad of paper, write down all the different steps you go through when servicing your client.
You may come up with 13, or 113, at first. That’s fine, on your first pass. But then you must do whatever you can to group, categorize, push, pull or force all of these pieces into five main steps.
Five is the magic number because a four-step process appears to lack substance and a six-step process gets too cumbersome to explain concisely.
When you have your five steps named, write a one-to-three sentence description for each step.
And you’re done.
The next step, is to use your five-step process on every call, with every new prospect. Hone it, perfect it, battle-test it, until rolls off your tongue like a verse from Killer Queen.
Now you’ve now got a powerful and succinct script that will help you differentiate yourself and win the confidence of prospective clients on your very first call.
Pete Savage is co-author of The Wealthy Freelancer: 12 Secrets to a Great Income and an Enviable Lifestyle. Order Pete’s book this week from Amazon.com and get up to $300 in free instructional materials to help you attract more clients and better paying projects. Click here for more info…