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Example sales conversations for freelancers

Identifying your hot leads

For example, if you’re a journalist specialising in health, your hot leads (who you’ll want to contact first and directly) might include:

  • The editor of a health publication: you’ve written articles for the title previously but haven’t been in touch for some time.
  • The editor of a health publication that you’ve read is about to launch online.
  • A global pharmaceutical organisation which is looking to re-launch its website (you heard this in an interview with one of the directors who was talking about the company’s expansion and mentioned the re-launch in passing).
  • A local health charity that a colleague has told you might be looking for someone to write its press releases.

As you explore the potential of each lead, your priorities will change. You might find that the online launch isn’t going to take place for six months.

This means that it’ll drop down your priority list to a warm lead – worth diarising to contact in a few months but not an imminent potential commission.

Likewise, you might find that the local health charity has hired a full time PR person and won’t be commissioning in the near future making this a cool / cold lead – worth keeping in touch with via Twitter for the moment.

However, you did find out that a sister organisation of the charity is about to launch a marketing campaign so you’ll now add this contact to you list of hot lead and so on…

Whatever your profession, e.g., journalist, actor, writer or musician, you can use the example above to help you think about who is really worth contacting and when.

There will be some obvious leads that perhaps you know you could and should contact but have been delaying doing so for whatever reason. If this is the case, remember that if you are not proactive you might miss the perfect opportunity.

So make a commitment to yourself, schedule some time in your diary and get into the habit of contacting people on a regular basis.

You may see immediate results and you’ll find that targeted, consistent efforts over time are likely to bring rewards on an ongoing basis.

Identifying client needs

For example:

Scenario 1

You’ve phoned a documentary maker several times. She’s recently made a documentary series about historical buildings and you’ve heard that there might be another in the offing.

You’ve done TV work along the same lines so, when you make contact, you launch into a description of what you’ve done and suggest that it might be worth meeting up to discuss it further.

The documentary maker says that she hasn’t got time currently but will call you back at some point.

Scenario 2

Exactly the same scenario as above but here, you identify client needs before telling them about yourself as follows:

You: Hi. My name is Bob Monkhouse, I’ve worked on a number of different documentaries. I really enjoyed your last series and was wondering what you would be doing next?

Answer: We’re going to some sort of post-Olympic special that looks at what
happens next in the UK as far as continuing to encourage and support people excel in sport.

Your comment: As it happens, I covered the Olympics for local radio and I’ve made many contacts who expressed concerns about what would happen after the Olympics was over which should help you get the views you wanted. I’ve got plenty of ideas if you’d like to discuss them further

Answer: Interesting – let me see what my diary is looking like…

Think of it in terms of a play, a song, a story or a news article writing – if you don’t hook in the audience quickly, they often stop watching, listening or reading.

And to do this, you need to find out what’s of most interest to them not assume you already know.

Gaining agreement

For example:

You: “I’ve got plenty of experience in writing scripts and plays (explanation) which means I’ll be able to hit the ground running and you won’t have to waste time getting me up to speed (benefit). Does that sound like the sort of person you need?”

Answer: “Yes, but I also need somebody who can write as part of a team and you don’t seem to have done much of that.”

You: “Well, as it happens, I’ve done a lot of work on a number of shows in which I’ve been part of successful team. For example, I was one of the writers on ‘The XX Show’, which was on TV last autumn. Did you see it

Answer: “I did actually and I didn’t realise that you’d worked on that.”

You: “Yes, I worked on every programme and the show had very good reviews so I’m sure I can do the same for you. Would you like to meet up so I can show you some examples?

Answer: “Good idea. Can you come in to my office next week?”

Asking for the commission

For example:

You: “So, it seems like you’re enthusiastic with the idea that I’ve shown you

Answer: “Yes, it looks like it has potential.”

You: “OK, when shall we make a start?”

Answer: “Oh, I’m not quite sure yet as I need to look at my diary.”

You: “Shall we put a first meeting date in to discuss what we need do next and who else needs to be involved by which time you’ll have been able to plan your time to fit in a start date?”

Answer: “OK.”

You: “Great. What about next Tuesday or Friday at 2pm?”