The Best Advice I’ve Ever Heard About Sales.
Well, the first chapter of my blog is written and published. Now, what’s next? That is the question of the 64 thousand lochas*. What do I do now? Normally with proper planning, there would be no need to ask this question. Why? Because any organized person would have had a list of topics to be developed in sequential order and proper established priorities. That’s it. Problem solved! Remember, being organized is the key to achieving efficiency.
Too bad they do not teach it at school. I learned that from the university of life.
Such things also happen with work when you’re a freelancer. You may have already begun to take your first steps. If you try to establish yourself as an announcer, logic says that you need the equipment to record, study and you need some training too. You need an easy list of tasks of where to start and what to do to continue. If your goal is to be a writer, then it is a little easier, you need a computer, or at least a typewriter (providing you still have one from 40 years ago) and a lot of inspiration (for the purposes of this article, it is assumed that if you want to be a writer you already know how to use the language, if not, you also have to learn); or maybe you want to be a designer for which you need a quite powerful computer, design software, as well as the training to use it and the knowledge on how to design.
This is where the problems of freelancers begin, and the problems of anyone who ever studied any career or degree and suddenly found himself in a dead end street.
I WANT TO WORK BUT I DON’T KNOW…
WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO TO GET WORK?
WHERE DO I GET WORK?
HOW DO I GET WORK?
When I was in high school, I clearly remember that I had not the faintest idea of what I wanted to do in life. One day I asked my father, who, at that time, was a kind of friend and father at the same time. I was going through the stage in which hormones do crazy things with our personality and every day I argued with my poor mom for whatever reason. There really was not much communication between us. (Today it is radically the opposite) I remember asking my dad about what he thought was the best career to study and with his slow look, his quiet talk and a half smile told me: – “Management and sales.” – and then he fell silent. I imagine that if I had seen myself in a mirror, at that moment, I would have looked like a puppy twisting his head to one side because my brain did not process that madness. Sales, Me? No, Siree! Begging people to buy is not my thing…
Then with his gentle patience, he explained something about life that I later corroborated over the years.
Everything we do in life is a sale. When you want to convince someone of something, you are basically doing a sales job, selling the idea. Sales are an exchange of one thing for another. Whether it’s ideas, goods, properties or services, exchanged for money, favors, permits or anything else that represents something of value to the recipient. Whoever learns to sell, to convince, can achieve everything in life. My dad, who never liked sales, then sold me the idea of sales. My husband always says: “nothing happens until somebody sells something”.
In 2006, Canadian blogger Kyle MacDonald managed to barter a clip in exchange for a house in 14 operations on eBay. Essentially there was never an exchange of money. The entire exchange consisted of material goods, a formidable sales job. The years that I worked as a musician I learned that lesson. The best way of finding work was by selling the idea. First, you had to convince the person responsible of hiring musicians to listen the band’s demo, or even harder, you had to convince them to go to a place where we were playing and then we had to negotiate a fair price to play. If you didn’t have the right words and the right reasons to convince the owner of the place, or the one responsible, there was no work.
In essence, my Dad’s message was that we are all sellers, whether we want it or not, and no matter what we study. We all end up having to sell what we offer, at the risk of not being able to survive in today’s competitive job market, either as a freelancer or as an employee.
If you are a freelancer, work will not fall from the sky, you will have to look for it yourself. If you are not willing to do it, better prepare your CV and register on Linkedin. If, on the contrary, you want to go with everything and launch yourself into the wonderful world of work on your own, here are some tips from my own experience for you to start.
10 Tips To Establish Your Business As A Freelancer.
- Prepare your image: This is the equivalent of a good resume. Establish your website and your image on social networks and keep it up to date.
- Establish rates for your services. Investigate the market and get at the right level, do not work for free.
- Stay up to date with all the marketing and advertising trends: Thanks to the digital era, marketing and advertising are going through a period of radical and important changes, keep up-to-date to find opportunities.
- Use a CRM (Customer Relations Manager). It is an application to manage your customers. There are many options out there. I use Hubspot, it’s free and also has a marketing and sales academy with incredible resources to keep you up to date.
- Make a list of likely customers in your region or locality
- Organize a system to make new contacts using your CRM
- Investigate your potential clients and focus on those that you feel offer more possibilities to work with you because your work fits in their organization, but do not neglect the rest. Opportunity knocks when you least expect it.
- Socialize first with potential customers, either through social networks or in person.
- Offer samples of your work (samples, not free work).
- Be reliable. If you get a job, do it “yesterday”, as soon as possible and always deliver it before the deadline. Guarantee your work 100%
This is the starting list. After the workflow starts, everything changes again and you have to do maintenance work. So all of the above must be kept solid in your work scheme in order to be successful in your marketing campaign.
In future installments, we will talk in a little more depth about each of the points on the list and what comes next.
These days, my dad has dementia and now I have to teach him back what he taught me with so much love for many years. Memory is a serious thing, and what is not practiced is forgotten. So do not waste another minute, get organized and see you in the next article.
* The lochas existed many years ago in my country of origin, Venezuela. One locha was 12.5 cents of a Bolívar, the local currency and the phrase came from a show in the 50’s that would have a final question worth 8,000 Bolivars or 64,000 lochas. Kind of like a vintage Latin American version of “Who wants to be a millionaire?”.