Finally... A Battle-Tested Sales System for Freelancers, Consultants, and Agencies
Created by someone who has ACTUALLY sold services using these techniques BOTH as a one-person consultant AND as a partner in a 50-person agency business
Hi, I'm Jeff Sauer a partner in a 5-time Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Agency in the United States.
I'm also an adjunct professor at the University of St. Thomas, and a Top 25 Most Influential PPC Expert.
Today I want to talk to you about my Sales Jumpstart program for Freelancers, Consultants and Agencies.
A Relationship-Based Approach to selling services
Imagine it’s the last Friday of the month. You look at your list of client proposals and contracts still pending approval - 12 of 14 still need signatures to get started. Not good.
If you could only "close" a few deals today, then you'd hit your revenue goal for next month. But that’s not looking likely. For some deals, it's been MONTHS since you've heard back from your prospective client.
So, you pick up the phone and call one of your prospects that still has not signed their contract.
RING. RING. RING.
Almost immediately, your call is sent to voicemail, as if it was intentional. It’s clear your prospect doesn't want to talk to you. You think, "Was I just sent to voicemail on purpose?"
The voicemail message seems innocent enough: "Hi, this is John from Acme Inc. Please leave a message, and I'll get back to you as soon as possible."
But you know John isn’t really going to get back to you. Not anytime soon. You think to yourself; it's pointless to leave yet another message.
Two months ago when you pitched John’s company, you thought the meeting went perfectly. Not only was John optimistic about getting the project done, but he also kept on asking how soon you could start.
John asked for a proposal right away, and you delivered a hastily drawn up agreement a day later. Now eight weeks have passed, and this guy is harder to get a hold of than ground control trying to reach Major Tom.
You contemplate going to his house in the suburbs with a boombox in hand to win his business. You’ll Say Anything to get back on his good side.
What went wrong? That sale was supposed to be a sure thing!
In your head you begin to question how this could happen:
"Was my pricing too high?"
"Did I not sell John on my capabilities?"
"How many other agencies did they interview? Was their presentation better or did they undercut me on price?"
Sales is starting to feel like a four-letter word.
Hi, I'm Jeff Sauer
I’m a Partner at Three Deep Marketing, 5-time Inc. 5000 award recipient and Inc. Hall of Fame inductee. I’m also Founder of Jeffalytics and creator of popular PPC and Analytics certification courses with over 10,000 students enrolled. You may have seen my work featured on:
I have sold over ten million dollars in professional services since 2005, but sales didn’t come easy for me. In fact, I was so scared of selling my services that for years I struggled to find a system that worked.
The conventional sales advice didn’t work for me. I didn’t want to pressure people into buying or use artificial closing tactics. I just wanted to sell my services to clients who valued my work, and get paid well for it.
It took me years to discover a methodology to selling services that worked, and when I did…
The sales floodgate opened and my service-based business changed overnight.
Today I reveal my unique methodology, The Clients For Decades Model, to selling services without using artificial sales tactics, pressure, or manipulation.
If you’re a freelancer, consultant, or agency who sells services for a living, and you’ve been struggling to sell your services because the conventional sales advice isn’t working, then continue reading...
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.
Introducing Sales Jumpstart
The Most Time-Efficient Course on Selling Services for Busy Freelancers, Consultants, and Agencies
Sales Jumpstart is a 12-lesson, no B.S. online training program that teaches you how to implement the Clients For Decades Sales Model to identify, attract, and work with the clients of your choice.
Clients who respect your work, pay you on-time, and continue working with you for decades.
Say goodbye to using freelancer platforms that commoditize your services, and instead discover a PROVEN ethical, transparent, and easy to use model for selling your services the right way.
No artificial pressure.
No closing tactics.
Just high-quality relationships.
Sales Jumpstart pulls together the best lessons I learned over 13 years of selling services both as a one-person freelancer/consultant AND an Inc. 5000 agency owner. I know both sides of the coin, and I can tell you this - the process works for BOTH solo freelancers/consultants AND agencies.
Sales Jumpstart includes:
Here’s what you’ll discover in each lesson:
Phase 1 - The Qualification Phase
Lesson 1: Where do you go to get leads?
Lesson 2: Working inbound leads
Lesson 3: Outbound lead generation
Lesson 4: Outreach – The good, the bad and the ugly
Lesson 5: Keeping track of your leads
Lesson 6: Transitioning leads to sales
Phase 2 - The Advisor Phase
Lesson 7: Your pitch deck
Lesson 8: Pitch deck template
Lesson 9: Pitching your services
Lesson 10: Jeff’s first sales pitch
Phase 3 - The Follow Up Phase
Lesson 11: Creating estimates and proposals
Lesson 12: Sales follow-up strategy
Not Just Another Course You Won’t Finish
Most online courses are designed so that students NEVER complete the materials. Think about how many classes you’ve purchased but never finished?
Unlike other courses that give you the login and that's it, I want to make sure you complete the lessons and implement them.
That’s why every week we will email you concise reminders to complete a given lesson.
Also, as an extra incentive, every student who finishes the Sales Jumpstart program and submits an honest review of the course will get a special discount for our flagship Agency Jumpstart program.
After you complete Sales Jumpstart, you’ll probably be ready to purchase our full Agency Course program. Good news - we will be rolling back the prices on Agency Jumpstart to 2017 pricing for Sales Jumpstart alumni. If you decide to purchase Agency Jumpstart for the grandfathered rate, Sales Jumpstart is virtually free!
But here’s the catch: I’m only doing this for those of you who complete the Sales Jumpstart course. You have to complete every single module and leave a review of your course experience to qualify.
Don’t worry, my team and I will nudge you to take action, so you can complete the course and overcome any procrastination on your end.
Everyone Has A Sales Process - But is it the Right One?
We all have a sales process. Sometimes it works, and that’s great!
But what do you do when your sales process doesn't bring in the revenue you expect?
When things don’t go right, it’s easy to blame it on external factors, like our prospective customer. It’s their fault. They don’t know what they're talking about. We did everything right.
It’s always someone else, right? It’s never us.
I’m sorry, but I need to call BS on that one.
Even though it's human nature to blame others, the evolved business owner recognizes that bringing in results is their responsibility.
When you follow a proven sales process, the guesswork goes away. You recognize and repair the leaks in your sales process that allow qualified prospects to slip away.
For example, you need a defined follow-up process
After you submit a proposal, do you follow-up with your prospects? If so, how many times do you follow up? How many times should you follow up?
Do you reveal your pricing before or after your sales meeting?
Do you establish and convey the value of your services at every step of the sales process?
Selling your services is a process, just like building a home is a process.
If you skip or forget a step when building a house? It crumbles. Or it won’t even pass inspection.
The same goes for selling your services. If you skip a step, your opportunity will crumble as well.
But with the right sales process in place, you’ll have a step-by-step system that allows you to identify, attract, and work with the clients of your choosing. So you don't have to settle for the unqualified prospects that come your way.
The Sales Jumpstart methodology is a proven sales process that works.
Already Have TOO MANY Clients? Eliminate Overwhelm By Sharpening Your Post-Sales Process
On the other end of the sales spectrum, I hear this one from time to time…
“Jeff, I am overwhelmed with clients right now. If I start increasing my sales, the business will spin out of control."
Good for you! No, seriously, having too much revenue is rarely a bad thing.
But being overwhelmed isn’t an excuse to stop selling.
There is only one reason why service providers get overwhelmed with their clients.
It’s because you are doing too much work for each client, don’t have processes in place for service delivery, and your profits are tied to how many hours you work each week.
Even though you are overwhelmed by a lack of process, your problem starts and ends with sales.
If you don’t set the right expectations with clients during both the sales and post-sales process, you have set yourself up for an overwhelming disaster of a business.
I did this early in my career as a freelancer/consultant and then again as an agency owner. It sucked. It would have gone on forever if I hadn’t discovered the Clients for Decades sales model.
If you’re working 50-80 hours a week to turn a profit, then you need to take a step back and rethink the way you do business. No one starts an agency business to work that much.
And it’s not a good long-term business if you have to earn profits by burning the midnight oil. Nobody would buy a business that relies so much on the Herculean efforts of one individual.
The dream? To work twenty hours per week and earn a mid-six-figure income!
But that’s not going to happen by chance.
You need a process to accurately scope out client projects in a way that provides value to clients, profits to your business, and brings satisfaction from doing the work that you love!
In Sales Jumpstart, I’ll show you a process for how to scope out client projects the right way so that you eliminate client overwhelm for good and don’t get burned out.
The Sales Jumpstart Methodology Works Independent of Culture
Selling is about connecting.
No matter what country you live in or seek to do business in, your clients want to do business with service providers who they know, like, and trust.
Sales Jumpstart isn’t about using manipulative tactics. Instead, it’s a process to help you execute a sales system based on trust, results, and relationships with your clients, wherever you are in the world.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have scholarships available for Sales Jumpstart?
No. There is no scholarship program for Sales Jumpstart right now.
How can you guarantee that sales training will make me better at sales?
No one can make you a guarantee like that because most people who take training do not apply the information. The average person does not take action. However, if you complete the Sales Jumpstart program, and you complete all the worksheets, and templates and don't get results then you can submit a refund within 60 days of your purchase.
Will this course work if you aren't giving me specific information for my exact business niche?
Yes. The sales process covered in Sales Jumpstart is meant for service-based businesses regardless of the industry.
Why should I take this course instead of reading the top 5 books on Amazon for selling?
You should read every resource you can handle because knowledge is power. That includes Sales Jumpstart, which is a proven A-Z sales process complete with templates and checklists to help you execute and take action. Nothing is held back.
What are the exact technologies you recommend and how much do they cost?
Sales Jumpstart focuses primarily on executing a relationship-first sales process that works with any technology stack you choose.
We do cover specific software like PipeDrive CRM in the course, but the sales process outlined in Sales Jumpstart works with your current set of sales tools as well.
Will your templates and techniques work with my systems?
Do I still need a lawyer to draft my statements of work or do you give me the answers in this course?
We recommend that all students consultant a legal professional regarding any contractual issues that might arise during the sales process. Though we do teach you how to draft a client proposal it doesn’t replace the advice of a legal professional for your specific situation.
You wrote a post once saying that you don't need an outbound sales strategy if you are under $1 Million in revenue. I never plan on being more than $1 million in revenue, so I don't need this course, right?
Regardless of your revenue goal, the sales process outlined in the Sales Jumpstart course will help you whether you are a one-person consultant who wants to stay that way or an employee-staffed agency. The principles of ethical selling are universal regardless of your revenue goal.
Should I take this course or should I just hire a salesperson?
It’s better to have a proven process in place before hiring a classically trained salesperson. Why? Because not all salespeople know how to execute a relationship-first sales process covered in Sales Jumpstart. Few career salespeople can do this well from my experience.
Most salespeople were exposed to the ABC model of “closing” clients, which leads to client dissatisfaction and lost contracts.
Sales Jumpstart teaches a process that keeps clients happy for decades after the sale, so it will require some retraining for anyone with a short-term outlook on business development.
Do I still need a lawyer to draft my statements of work or do you give me the answers in this course?
We recommend that all students consult legal counsel when drafting and agreeing to contracts. While we do cover specific tips for the client proposal process, the course is not designed to be a substitute for professional legal advice.
Does this course cover various techniques for selling different types of services - e.g., AdWords retainer vs. on-off project for on-site SEO?
The sales process covered in Sales Jumpstart is meant for service-based businesses regardless of the industry. For now, the course does not cover how to sell specific services. If you ever have ANY question while taking the course, you can always email email@example.com and my team, and I will be more than happy to point you in the right direction.
I am an agency owner. Should I take the Sales Jumpstart course or just my salesperson?
I recommend that both you and your salesperson go through the training program. It’s likely that you were exposed to some bad sales tactics in the past, and Sales Jumpstart will help you adjust. Concepts like the ABC model of selling don’t work anymore. The course teaches a 21st-century approach to sell services based on my experience as both an agency owner and one-person consultant.
Can we hire you as a sales consultant and have you tell us how to do everything and how to set these things up?
No. Right now the only way to learn my proven sales process for selling services is through Sales Jumpstart.
Sales Jumpstart is NOT for you if…
Sales Jumpstart IS for you if…
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Try Sales Jumpstart for a full 60-Days, 100% Risk-Free
Do the work and complete the course. If you show me you did all the lessons and worksheets, and it didn't work for you then let us know within 60-days, and we’ll issue you a full refund. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Are you satisfied with where your sales processes are now?
No hard closing here, just my two cents on satisfaction and success.
Maybe you're satisfied where you are right now from a sales perspective. You probably have your hands full with your current clients, and you might not be looking to scale.
Perhaps things are going well for you, and you’re earning six-figures as a one-person consultant, or your agency business is hitting its sales goal at 100%.
But if that’s the case, you probably wouldn’t be reading this far. You are reading this page because you know that you can never learn too much about sales.
You can take ten courses about sales and learn ten new approaches. Maybe you’ll borrow a little here, and a little there to form your own sales methodology, but it will take time.
Even if you are satisfied with your sales process, even one nugget of information will pay for this course 10-100x over.
Even if you take two years to finish the course, the knowledge is yours forever. And the clients? They could still be around in a decade.
So that’s my “hard close” - you will become better at sales as a result of this course, no matter where you are right now in your business. And at this price point? It will only take one sale to make your money back.
Talk about a no-brainer.
If you have ANY question regarding Sales Jumpstart, email us at email@example.com, and I’ll personally reply to your question. I read every email.
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