Selling your freelancing services is an example of high-touch sales. Unlike low-touch sales (like, a $29 ebook), there’s a lot of gray area between “not a customer” and “customer.” Realizing your company exists, investigating your portfolio and work history, first contact, asking for a quote, loads of meetings, contract negotiation – these are steps that usually take place before someone converts to being customer.
Rarely is selling your services a binary operation. It’s not visitor today, customer tomorrow.
A Carrot is a tool that helps bridge that gap for you. Done right, a Carrot will 1) get you more business and 2) make closing a deal significantly easier.
What a Carrot is not:
- A sales pitch
- All about you
- A waste of time
A great Carrot is no-pressure, free nugget of information that establishes yourself as an authority in a certain subject matter. At the end of reading, listening, or watching your Carrot, no one should ever think, “Wow, I got nothing out of that.”
Carrots come in all shapes and sizes. You might want to put together a 7-day email course on SEO (example). Or if you’re a Rails developer, maybe a whitepaper that can help educate a potential client about your framework of choice (example).
It could be a monthly or weekly newsletter.
Or a podcast, a series of videos on YouTube, or an MP3 download.
Carrots help you sell without making clients feel like they’re being sold to.
Anyone can promote their programming abilities on their website, but if you give something away for free to a potential client that explains how you can help increase their bottom line, you’ll:
- Reassure them that you know what they want (more profitability)
- Reassure them that you have what it takes (solving their problems through programming)
- Establish a foundation in the mind of your clients about how hiring for the type of services you provide works – with you as the benchmark.
…And this is done outside of a sales meeting, which is an unnatural environment where people can’t help but put up their guard and distrust most things you say.
Finally, your Carrot needs to move someone closer toward being a customer. This could be an explicit call-to-action (“Call us today and let’s see how we can help you get more customers through a personalized SEO strategy” on the last page of your free report), or your Carrot could just be a piece of a much larger strategy.
What kind of Carrot could you create?
Creating a successful Carrot means coming to terms with who you are and what you’re selling, or what I like to call defining your Persona. A Persona is the sum of three things: a value offering, a theme, and a target. “We hand craft community-centered online stores [value offering] for green companies [target] from our off-the-grid office nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains [theme].”
Once you have defined your Persona you can reverse engineer a Carrot and begin to educate and pre-sell your target audience based on what you know will educate them.
You know your audience – the kind of client you typically work with, the kind of client your website targets. You know what they need.
I’d start small… what questions does your typical prospective client have for you? Is there something common that almost every client needs to learn about or asks about? And what do you say or do that helps educate your clients and empower them?
Get started today.
Can you package this information into something downloadable? Can you create a low pressure, completely automated way of getting this package into the hands of someone you’ve possibly never met?
I bet you can. We’re all authorities on something to somebody. If you come up with a killer Carrot and want to share, sound off in the comments!