If you’re a graphic designer, or any other creative professional, you probably don’t think of yourself as a salesperson. Like so many creative folks, you may even hate sales.

Yet, if you’re freelancing, sales are necessary to keep your business going.

In this post, I share seven simple sales tips that are relatively pain free if you happen to be uncomfortable with sales. If you liked this post, you may also enjoy Sales Tips for Shy People and 7 Ways to Identify and Market the Uniqueness of Your Freelance Business.

Tip #1. Make Yourself Visible

Selling is so much easier when you are talking to someone who is already familiar with your work. Being visible also means that you have some place to point prospective clients to if they have any questions about your past work. Here are some ideas for gaining visibility:

  • Have a blog or website with published samples of your work
  • Participate regularly in social media (be sure your profile is filled out)
  • Join an association of professionals in your field
  • Take part in local groups for business owners (such as the chamber of commerce)
  • Send art, articles, or photos to be published in your local newspaper

If you are visible enough, many prospective clients will find you.

Tip #2. Don’t Be Afraid to Reach Out

Just because you have achieved a high visibility doesn’t mean that you should wait for clients to find you. They will come, but often your best clients are the ones that you find yourself. Don’t be afraid to contact companies that can use your services.

Remember, that the best way to sell is to form a relationship. People are more comfortable doing business with someone that they know. So, the more people you get to know the more clients you will eventually find yourself with.

Don’t be too shy about letting people know what you do for a living either. Even if they can’t use your services at the moment, they may be able to use them in the future. Or, they may know someone else who is interested in hiring you.

Tip #3. Listen to What Makes Their Business Special

While you want people to know about your freelance design business, the best sales people are good listeners. Once you find a prospect who is interested in your services (or that prospect finds you), let them talk about their needs.

Most people love to talk about themselves and about what they are doing (their business). Chances are that they will tell you most of what you need to know. Listen carefully, so that you can ask a few questions to find out the rest of what you need to know.

Tip #4. Talk About What Makes Your Business Special

When you do talk, be sure to mention that things about your business that you are especially proud of. These are the things that make your business unique. (This is sometimes also called your unique selling proposition.)

Your unique selling proposition is important because it sets you apart from others who are offering the same service as you. This is important, because it helps the prospect understand why they should hire you instead of your competition.

If you don’t know what your unique selling proposition is, take a minute right now to jot down a few things that you do very, very well.

Tip #5.  Be Honest, Not Pushy

No one really likes a pushy salesperson. That’s especially true if you make promises you can’t keep.

Instead of being pushy, try being you. Be honest about what you can do for the client. Make sure that you live up to any commitments that you make.

Being honest and true will automatically set you apart from other online business people who don’t have your high standards. And, that’s a good thing.

Tip #6.  Don’t Take Rejection Personally

As you start to interact with prospective clients more, you’ll find that many of them turn down your proposals. Remember, if they say “no” to your business, it’s not personal. There are a number of reasons why a business that seems to need your services might not hire you:

  • They have already made a commitment to another freelancer
  • They don’t have the budget to hire you right now
  • They aren’t sure of what they really need
  • They are too busy to hire you right now

Remember, sometimes “no” really means, “not now.” If you’re turned down for business, make a note to follow up with the prospect in a few months.

Tip #7.  Don’t Stop Selling

As a freelancing creative, it’s important that you continue to go through these steps–even when you are busy. Too many freelancers follow these steps for a while, then quit when they start to work.

If you want to have a continuous flow of steady work coming into your freelancing business, you will need to continuously apply the sales tips found in this post. Fortunately, most freelance should find following these steps to be relatively pain free.

Your Turn

How do you approach sales as a creative professional? Share your answers in the comments.

Image by Valerie Everett

Posted by Laura Spencer

Laura Spencer is a freelance writer from North Central Texas with over 20 years of professional business writing experience. If you liked this post, then you may also enjoy Laura’s blog about her freelance writing experiences, WritingThoughts. Laura is also on Google+.

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