The sales process can be a drag
Selling your services is the most significant sticking point for many freelancers, consultants, and agencies.
Like it or hate it - to thrive as an expert service provider, you need to master the art of selling.
You can be the BEST at your craft, but if you can't master the art of selling your services, then you're stuck with pulling down “gig jobs” from Upwork, Fiverr or other platforms that treat your skills as a commodity.
You know that a steady flow of inbound leads is better for growing your agency business, but your inbox isn’t exactly overflowing with prospects.
You know that developing and executing a sales process will be the engine of revenue growth in the future, but you have never been tasked with sales before. You’ve always been the subject matter expert, not the salesperson.
For many people in your position, selling is a chore. A necessary evil, something that has to be done.
As freelancers, consultants, and agencies, we just want to do the work. We don’t want to worry about sales.
It’s easy to view selling and the art of sales as dishonest, sleazy, and slimy activity.
Sales is manipulative at best, right?
Not if you can sell your services from a position of strength, integrity, and transparency.
Why We Distrust, Dislike, and Disavow Sales People
Whenever we hear the word sales, most of us think about a used car salesman. Right?
That slick, sleazy, and slimy person who is going to lie to us, manipulate the truth, and "close" us on buying a car at the highest price possible without our best interests at heart.
We think to ourselves, "What's this salesperson hiding? Am I being taken for a ride? Is this deal too good to be true?”
Guess what? Your prospects think the same thing.
This is the EXACT same thought process that your prospective clients go through when they think you are pitching them a service they don’t need.
Decades of unscrupulous selling tactics have created a generation of professionals who distrust, dislike, and disavow selling in any form. That dislike is present in both your personal preferences and those of your prospective clients.
Even if a salesperson is completely honest, we’re naturally suspicious of anyone who is overtly trying to sell us something.
We’ve been conditioned to be skeptical of anyone who sells because we expect to be lied to, manipulated, and pressured into buying. We’ve heard stories of high-pressure, manipulative, and unethical "closing" tactics cajoling people into buying something they don’t need.
Assumptive close? Ben Franklin Close? Wolf of Wall Street close?
Unethical sales tactics from dishonest vulture-like salespeople have ruined selling for EVERYONE.
Especially freelancers, consultants, and agencies who work in the services economy. Honest people like you, who are looking to build a sustainable business that scales from six-figures to seven-figures in annual revenue and beyond.
Selling services feels like an uphill battle because our clients (and ourselves) are constantly exposed to unethical sales practices that don't work anymore in the 21st-century.
The most cringe-worthy sales practice? One that doesn't work anymore, even though Hollywood has placed it on a pedestal as the gold standard of sales proverbs.
You know which one I’m talking about.
“Always Be Closing.”
That acronym should be replaced with something more accurate.
As in “Trying to close clients with high-pressure sales tactics is complete Bullshit.”
Old School Sales Tactics Don’t Work Anymore To Sell Services
The image of the ideal salesperson is an extroverted, talkative, and likable person who has ONE GOAL, to CLOSE. CLOSE. CLOSE.
"Always Be Closing"
That’s the mantra of salespeople around the world. Either the client buys, or they buy.
The goal is to close deals and close them FAST, regardless of the outcome for the client.
Closing is so sacred that according to Wikipedia there are 13 different types of closing tactics… and guess what?
They don’t work anymore.
But did you know that all those closing tactics were created before the invention of the Internet?
Closing tactics are a relic of the 20th century. A time when prospective customers and clients had little to no access to information.
We’re in the 21st-century now. Using the sales tactics of the pre-Internet age is like trying to start a fire with a piece of flint and some logs. Sure it might work, but why not use the fire making technology readily available?
Selling services needs a 21st-century upgrade
Our prospective clients are smart. They are inundated with hundreds of emails a week trying to sell them using tactics that stopped working ten years ago.
After spending three months capturing all the cold emails I received from service providers, I started to notice a pattern: Most cold outreach emails feel like jumping into a time machine. Or an alternate universe where weak-ass formulaic messages actually drew a positive result.
These emails still have me cringing today.
Here’s the deal: It makes ZERO sense to use sales techniques, tactics, and strategies from the past when the present is radically different.
The good news is that the core foundation of selling services hasn’t changed in a hundred years. The underlying premise behind selling professional services remains the same.
Selling is about connecting, and anyone can do it with the right process.
Behind The Revenue Growth of My Agency
The proof is in the pudding.
If you’ve been receiving my emails, you’ll know that I mentioned Mr.D, the mysterious IBM and Oracle salesperson who taught me about sales.
His name is Dan. Dan is the co-founder of my agency, Three Deep Marketing. Dan taught me 80% of what I know about sales, based on his experience as a top performer at IBM and Oracle, selling enterprise-grade products and services.
Over the past 13 years, I’ve taken what I’ve learned from Dan and adapted it into a model for freelancers, consultants, and agencies who sell services.
The result is the Clients For Decades sales model.
This model of establishing and maintaining client relationships is the exact sales approach that my agency has taken to develop our book of business over time.
The result? Our agency became one of the fastest growing agencies in the United States according to Inc. magazine. We are also a Hall of Fame Inc. 5000 agency inductee and 5-time Inc. 5000 award winner.
Our growth was not by accident.
Client relationships that last for decades. That is the secret sauce to our revenue growth. Without our enduring long-term client relationships to stabilize our business, our agency would not have grown nearly as fast.
If you are a professional service provider, clients for decades is the key to profits for your service business.
But it doesn’t only apply to big agencies. For the past 25 years, I have watched my Dad, who operates a one-person consulting practice, perfect the clients for decades model, too.
It’s been the secret to an enduring six-figure income for his business, even while working less than 20 hours a week the past ten years.
Here's the best part about the clients for decades sales model:
Anyone can do it.
You don’t have to be an extrovert.
You don't need to have to put pressure on prospects to buy.
You don't need to manipulate prospects with closing tactics.
You only need to be open to implementing a step-by-step process and doing what is right for your clients - always acting as their trusted advisor throughout the process.
NEW: The Clients for Decades Sales Model for Service-Based Businesses
How would you like to connect with prospects that develop into client relationships lasting DECADES?
How would you like to forge a relationship that generates predictable revenue and is wildly profitable each year?
Long-term client relationships are the ultimate driver of profits for ANY service-based business.
Here’s a breakdown of how the model works:
Phase 1 - The Qualification Phase
The Clients for Decades Model starts with identifying whether a business contact is a qualified lead.
You do this by selectively filtering contacts based on your Ideal Client Criteria to weed out potential clients who are not a good fit for your business model. And of course, you do it gracefully without being an a-hole about it.
You avoid prospects who will end up wasting your time, energy, and money.
You identify key stakeholders, and influencers to determine who you need to speak to and when.
Phase 2 - The Advisor Phase
After the qualification phase, you transition unqualified leads into qualified leads that have the potential to convert into a long-lasting client. Most leads aren’t worth your time, so you have already weeded unqualified leads out by this point.
For the leads worth pursuing, you start to deeply understand your prospective client’s needs.
But here’s the game changer; you are prepared to invest five free hours of consulting time to build a roadmap of where this opportunity will lead if you end up working together.
Jeff, are you crazy?
If you have a well-qualified lead on your hands, you show them a gesture of goodwill to build a relationship and earn trust.
Listen here to my friend Dan Shure's take on his SEO consulting process - from the Jumpstart Podcast.
The goal of the Clients For Decades Model is to establish trust when you first meet with prospective clients. You do this by deeply understanding your prospects needs, and establishing authority during the sales meeting with a Rock Solid Sales Presentation.
Your sales presentation conveys your credibility and communicates the solution you aim to provide.
Through this technique, you act as the trusted advisor to your prospective clients, even before money exchanges hands.
Phase 3 - The Follow Up Phase
In the final phase, you draft a proposal based on what you discovered during your roadmapping session, sales meetings, and conversations with your prospective client.
You loop in all the contacts and key decision makers to understand any obstacles, challenges, or threats to your proposed project proposal.
You use the Balance Beam Follow Up Strategy to stay in front of prospective clients, without being pushy. Your approach is not to close your prospect but to educate them and help them make an informed, intelligent, and sound decision.
Selling is about getting prospects intellectually and emotionally invested in the positive outcomes that you can provide for them.
In the old sales model, the seller did what was in THEIR best interest. They didn’t care about their prospective client’s needs; they relied on high-pressure tactics that provided the quickest path to the transaction. It was all about the short-term sales commissions vs. long-term relationships.
In the Clients For Decades model, you are THE trusted advisor to your clients. You recommend what is in their best interests, not yours. You pinpoint real problems and propose solutions that will have an impact on your prospect’s business growth and their professional standing.
This is the same sales process that I’ve been using for over a decade. That’s right, I’ve retained some of my best clients for over ten years!
Now I’ve decided to unveil my proven sales process to help one-person freelancers, consultants, and agencies develop long-term client relationships that last for decades because I’m sick of all the B.S. sales advice out there that I know doesn’t work anymore.
I want to help you build the foundation of your service-based businesses revenue growth - no matter how big it is.