In this Monday with Michael episode I go over five sales skills freelance writers need to succeed. You might have the best writing in the world, but if no one will hire you, good luck paying the bills.
The Number One Skill to Make Money Writing Online is Selling
I recently wrote about this same topic on Medium because it is a topic that all freelancers need to learn from and apply if they are going to succeed. Being able to sell is hugely important as a freelancer because if you can sell yourself to clients, you can make writing online a lucrative side hustle or full-time online business.
5 Sales Skills You Need to Learn Now
This set of skills is the only way I’ve earned over $100,000 publishing online — because I got clients to say yes. So if you want to make money writing online, work on your sales skills, then your writing skills.
- Always Work Your Pipeline
Work your writing leads from cold to warm to hot and do it over and over again.
- Provide Value to Retain Clients
It’s the old adage of ‘under promise, over deliver’.
- Build Relationships with Clients
People buy from people they like, know and trust.
- Reframe Failure and Setbacks
Sales and pitching new freelance clients is just a numbers game. The more people you get your offer in front of, the more likely you are to hear a yes.
- Be Persistent
I found that like sales, sometimes you need to be persistent with clients to make stuff happen. People get busy, your email could’ve gone to spam or maybe, they just forgot. Not hearing a reply doesn’t mean they aren’t interested.
If you build rapport, add value, and communicate with clients, I’m confident you can become a six-figure writer!
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Speaker 1 (00:00):
You are listening to episode number 84 of inspire your success podcast. On today’s episode, I’m going to talk about the number one skill that you need as a freelance writer to succeed coming up. Hey guys, welcome back to inspire your success podcast coming at you here at the end of April. Hopefully everything’s going well. I know a lot of us are getting a little stir crazy and ready for the world to open back up. So hopefully in may, uh, we will get our wish and be able to go out and exist in society. I know that I am ready, uh, personally I, I miss going to the gym a lot. I’ve been forcing myself to run and do some garage workouts, but needless to say, not nearly as inspiring as working out with human beings. And, uh, one thing I did get those, a new under armor shoes that actually track your run and tell you how to run faster and better.
Speaker 1 (00:51):
So, you know, one thing has come out of this, I’ve at least maybe learned how to run a little bit better. So, uh, yeah, just wanted to, you know, kinda check in with you guys. Hope you’re doing well. Again, I know it’s affected a lot of people. Some people have got laid off, some people have had their hours cut. Um, you know, everyone’s kind of going through their own thing. Having friends and family may be affected by it. So, uh, thank you again for listening here. Hopefully you’re staying safe. Uh, and again, trying to make the most out of this because as I’ve said, I’m not sure when this is all gonna be over, but, um, you know, you have an opportunity still to really learn new skills and slow down sometimes and kind of figure out what you want in life and to make the most out of it because, um, we’ll probably never see anything like this again.
Speaker 1 (01:31):
Hopefully not. I don’t know, uh, in our lifetimes, maybe we will. But, uh, you know, this has been a time for me where I’ve really had a lot of reflection. Uh, and I’ve really haven’t had too much change in my day to day because, um, all my clients are still having me. Right. I’m still, I’m doing webinars and, uh, the podcast and everything else. So I mean, really, I’ve been extremely fortunate to not have a much change because of this whole online business thing. And that’s again why I started inspire your success and have this podcast coming out so much is cause I want to help you build your online business, uh, get paid to write and really have that kind of freedom and flexibility. So even if another pandemic does come about, you know, not nothing really will affect you and you’re already going to be working at home and creating your own schedule.
Speaker 1 (02:16):
So that is of course the goal of all this. And so today what we’re going to actually talk about is really one of the biggest things, um, that has made me a very successful writer and a lot of other people. And that is what it takes to actually land clients. Because again, none of this works unless you actually have clients that are willing to pay you money each week, month, um, to get paid to write. So that’s what we’re going to jump into before that. Of course, I do want to share a random fact with you guys always. I’m letting you in a little bit more on my life. And uh, this one is actually a kind of a funny story. So, uh, right when I quit my job, uh, which is coming up here, it’ll be three years in a couple of weeks, which is crazy. But when I quit, my, one of my goals was to get into shape.
Speaker 1 (02:58):
I had kinda gotten a little sloppy. And, uh, so when I, uh, when I first quit, I decided I was running on the treadmill one day and I was just moving. I thought I was just, you know, I had the pre-workout in me. I was, had the runner’s high, I was feeling good and I decided on a whim that I was going to do a triathlon. Um, I really am not a good runner. I hate biking and really am not a good swimmer. So probably wasn’t the best idea. Needless to say, I trained, I bought a bike at Walmart and, uh, I think I gave myself maybe two months. Um, I joined LA fitness so I could start swimming, watching a bunch of YouTube videos and, um, that, uh, I think it was what the end of, uh, yeah, I think it was actually in September of 2017 I actually competed in my first triathlon, uh, somehow pulled it off.
Speaker 1 (03:45):
Uh, it was, it was pretty, uh, pretty eyeopening. I did make it through the swimming was actually okay. Um, the biking was absolutely awful. My bike had a flat tire, the seat fell. Um, I had someone actually move a pedal past me and she said, you can’t let someone like me past you. So that was really embarrassing. Um, and then I had to run three miles after that. And, uh, I had, uh, just the worst cramp you’ve ever imagined. And so both of my legs had cramped up, so managed to basically limp through the finish line. But I could say I did one, and I’ll share the story of the second one and another date, but just a random fact. So, you know, hopefully you guys can laugh at that. But you know, if you’ve ever thought about doing something new, like a triathlon and starting an online business, whatever it is, just know that you can, sometimes you gotta put it into work and, uh, and uh, you know, just test yourself cause it’s kinda fun to see what you can accomplish.
Speaker 1 (04:36):
So let’s jump into today, um, and really talk about it because again, like I’ve said in a lot of other episodes and if you’ve been on any of my webinars and stuff lately, it’s that none of this freelance writing thing works if you don’t land clients. Okay. So that is the biggest thing here. So you can be the best writer in the world, but if you suck at freelancing and you can’t get anyone to say yes, then you’re never really going to have your work be seen on other people’s websites. And unless you’re writing on medium or something else, you’re not going to be able to make a ton of money just by being a good writer. And, um, you know, not having your own blog and, or getting freelance writing clients. So to me, the number one skill that you need to succeed as a freelancer is sales and sales.
Speaker 1 (05:18):
Um, you know, is, is a lot of, you know, a lot of people have different connotations to sales. Some people don’t, you know, want to be salespeople. They think it’s sleazy, all that stuff. Um, and I get it, you know, I’ve definitely had some of those thoughts and feelings myself. Um, but at the end of the day, I’ve worked in sales and then, you know, if you’re selling a quality product that can actually help people, um, there’s really nothing to feel sleazy about or, or not feel good about it because, um, you know, you’re basically selling them something that will either help them speed up success or that will help them, um, you know, grow their business or whatever your product or services. But you know, in the writing side of things, your service, your offer is your ability to write content that will get them email subscribers, that will rank in SEO, that will, um, you know, do whatever the objective is for that content writing.
Speaker 1 (06:04):
And so you need to be able to pitch that and you need to, um, really communicate that with clients. So here are some sales tips that I’ve learned over the years because when I started a nine to five world, um, when I [email protected] I started back in, I believe it was 2012, uh, as an account management role. So I was really against sales. I didn’t like sales. Um, I had a lot of negative connotations about that. Um, but then after like four years or so of being in that kind of role, I basically switched over to a sales position and crushed it. And I became one of the top salespeople. And I kinda hate myself for not doing it sooner, but, um, hindsight is always 20, 20. So I’ve, I’ve been actually able to go to a top sales position, uh, for a big organization like Yelp.
Speaker 1 (06:49):
I was, um, you know, having huge, huge deals. I had a massive clients and, and big, uh, just a huge book of business when I left. And I was able to use a lot of that to get a lot of success with freelance writing as well. So here’s some sales tips that I’ve kind of learned, um, in my journey that I think will really help you as a freelance writer. So first thing is, is to always work your pipeline. And if you don’t know what a pipeline is, it’s basically, um, having different, you know, with sales and things, you usually get like a book of business. So you have maybe get a hundred leads and some of them are warm, some of them are cold, some of them are hot leads. And basically that means that their likelihood to buy. So a cold lead is going to be much less likely to buy.
Speaker 1 (07:30):
A warm, warm lead is going to be a little bit more. And then a hot lead is someone who’s like ready to ready to go, ready to sign the purchase order. So with a writing, you know, that’s, that’s a little different. Of course no one’s going to hand you a book of business. It’s up to you to go out there and to find clients and people that you want to work with. Um, but at the end of the day, you need to constantly be moving people along. So maybe you’re just vetting some clients out or you’re emailing blog owners or you’re reaching out to guests posts on, on big publications, or you’re creating a conversation or a dialogue with an editor to magazine, whatever it is. You need to be constantly doing that as a writer because, um, you know, if you get complacent and you stop working, your book of business is really, really easy, uh, to kind of have your pipeline dry up as we call it.
Speaker 1 (08:15):
And then from there, you know, you’re not going to be, um, you know, in the best financial position, you might lose a client or lose a couple. I mean, or maybe they just don’t need any more work, things like that. And then all of a sudden you’re left scrambling and then you’re trying to like, you know, maybe a plan job boards or find new clients and it’s like very stressful. So if you’re always moving clients along and you’re constantly pitching and constantly looking for new gigs and raising your rates and again looking for new projects, you’re not going to have this. So a good quote I think yours is, or a good thing to think about is to not get complacent, always work your pipeline because you never know when a client will part ways reduce budget or something else. And so a good quote here from Brian Tracy to help you out with it is success can lead to complacency and complacency is the greatest enemy of success.
Speaker 1 (09:02):
And that was one of the biggest mistakes I made. Um, a few months into writing, I was making like 4,000 a month and I got real complacent. And then, um, I wasn’t reaching out, I wasn’t working my pipeline and that really screwed things up the following months. So again, as a writer, as a freelancer, you always want to keep people in the loop, keep trying to find new contacts and building new relationships. So the second thing is to provide a ton of value so you can retain clients. So when I worked in sales, I was uh, fortunate enough to go to a few president’s club strips, um, which is like the top sales people and we got to go to a really cool places like Cancoon and Puerto Rico, all expenses paid trip, you know, hundreds of people just had a blast. And I went once for account management and then once for a sales role and the account management role.
Speaker 1 (09:51):
The reason I went is because I had some of the highest retention rates out of anyone in the department. So, um, that’s really important too because even though sales is important, you know, you can’t just keep selling, selling, selling, you need to actually retain clients. And that was kind of what I was known for us. People didn’t really cancel that much with me. And I think one of the reasons people didn’t cancel is cause I was constantly providing value. And the same goes with writing and not a lot of clients have really dropped me per se. Sure, I’ve definitely got fired, lost some clients. But in general if I don’t want to work with a client it’s it’s because I am choosing to break up with them. And so one of the things that you want to do as a writer is you really, really, really want to retain clients because all the work that you’re doing to find clients and generate conversations and all that, you’re not getting paid to do any of that.
Speaker 1 (10:36):
But once you have a client and you’re making money consistently, that’s where you’re getting paid. So you’re not getting paid to search for new clients. So it’s very, very important to retain your clients. And you know, some of the things that I’ve done to retain my clients and keep them happy, one is to just communicate. I am a big fan of this, especially in the beginning of a new relationship. Someone’s trusting you to write content for their blog or website. It is vital that you communicate and that you are constantly letting them know, Hey, I’m working on this. I got this draft done, I found some images for this, or whatever it is. You want to keep your clients in the loop, whether it’s an editor or the blog owner itself. You need to keep people in the loop. Second thing is, is that you need to go above and beyond.
Speaker 1 (11:17):
Sometimes, especially again in the beginning, you only get one first impression and so if you can go above and beyond in the beginning, you’re likely to retain these clients a lot more. So for me, one of the things you could do is just sending them a thoughtful email or saying, Hey, I’m, you know, following your emails that you’re sending out to your list. I think this is great. Or saying, Hey, you don’t want to, I saw this in your industry, maybe doing a report or do doing a little more background to learn more about their business or their industry and giving them some recommendations, things like that. Because creating a bunch of content sometimes is challenging and a lot of blog owners don’t always know what to do and things like that. So if you can help them out with that, um, not only are you gonna have more projects to write, which is more money in your bank account, but, um, you’re also going to help them and they’re gonna feel like you’re more than just a pen for hire and you’re a trusted resource in their business.
Speaker 1 (12:05):
So hopefully that makes sense. They’re guys. But yeah, again, go above and beyond. Go that extra mile. Um, it’s never crowded there, as Wayne Dyer said. So when you stand out and show that you’re not only a great writer, but someone that hits deadlines and sends new content ideas and researchers or industry, that is how you become a trusted freelancer. And then another tip that I had from my sales career to help you as a freelancer was to get clients to like you. Um, think about it. Have you ever bought something from someone you didn’t like? Like, chances are guys, the answer is a huge no. As you know, people buy from people they know, like, and trust. So in my sales career, I made a concentrated effort to get clients to know unlike me before I ever asked for the sale. So freelance writing is really the same.
Speaker 1 (12:51):
You want to get clients to know unlike you before this. So you want to generate some sort of a conversation and get some rapport going. Um, so that way you can build that trust with them. And so maybe it’s a 10 to 15 minute zoom call, maybe it’s doing a test piece, maybe it’s a guest post, whatever it is, there’s all kinds of ways you can do it cause you, again, you want to build meaningful relationships with your clients. Not only is it going to be a better working relationship, but they’re much less likely to drop you if they actually enjoy working with you. So again, get clients to like you, show genuine interest in them. Be a human being. Don’t just be this writer robot, right? We’ve got AI for everything else. Go above and beyond showing that you’re there to help. And, uh, again, just be a trusted resource for them.
Speaker 1 (13:37):
All right. Uh, one of my last sales tips here is to reframe failures and setbacks. Um, this is a really big one because sales, anytime you’re in a sales role, whether it’s door to door sales, cold calling, whatever it is, or you’re, um, you know, doing the writing side of things, you’re going to be filled with rejection, right? I can’t tell you how many people have said, no, I don’t want you to work with me. No, I don’t want your guest posts. Um, you know, just no responses, all that stuff. So rejection is part of the process. And rejection doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Um, a lot of people think of rejection as a bad thing. That’s kind of how we’re programmed in society, I feel like. But at the end of the day, the more nos you get, the more likely you are to finally hear it.
Speaker 1 (14:16):
Yes. So I’m going to say that again. The more nos you hear, the more likely it is that you finally get a yes. And so at the beginning of my writing career, I would get super frustrated and upset when I didn’t hear back from cold pitches or get a job that I really wanted. But now if that, if I was to go out and you know, try and get all these new clients, I wouldn’t get disappointed. I would just know that wow, okay. Each know is going to lead to a yes. So of course there’s things you can do to increase your conversion rates and open rates and things like that. But at the end of the day you have to have the right attitude to succeed in sales and in freelancing. Cause again, if you don’t get clients, none of this works. So one of the things that I really, I just can’t stress enough is that you have to fail your way to success.
Speaker 1 (14:59):
Sales and pitching new clients is just a numbers game. The more people you get your offer in front of, the more likely you are to hear. Yes. All right guys, before I get into the final tip, I’m just wanting to send a quick reminder. We’re doing a couple of trainings the next few days. Um, so you’re gonna want to make sure to take a look at the show notes. I have the link there directly and it’s going to be three ways to land freelance writing clients here in 2020. So go ahead and take a look at that. Um, it’s again free live training with me. It’s about 60 minutes long. Um, I just want to show you how you can land clients here in 2020 and beyond. So again, do not miss that. Take a look at the show notes and a register. So you just have to enter your name and email.
Speaker 1 (15:40):
That way you can get the registration link and that way we can go live together, um, in the next few days. So make sure to do that. And then the final thing here guys is to be persistent. The one of the most important skills in life I think is to just constantly be persistent. Whether you’re trying to be a professional golfer or you want to be a millionaire or you want to be a bestselling author, whatever it is, you have to be persistent. Same goes in freelancing, same goes in sales. Um, you just gotta be really, really relentless about it. And, um, again, one of my clients, a a golf client that I’ve worked with for two years now, um, is the only reason I was able to land that client is cause I was able to, uh, be relentless and actually get the job. So when I applied, um, to a job board for him back in like April of 2018, I guess about two years ago, um, there was no response.
Speaker 1 (16:32):
I was like, man, I really want this job. I really want this job. But he didn’t send anything from the cold, um, email that I’d sent him from the job board. And so I went and I went back on the listing. I found his website, went on the website, went through his contact form, sent him another pitch, really passionate, letting them know, you know, that I’m a golfer, I’m a writer. I really want to help him out. And he loved it. He thought that I was relentless persistent and he’s like, I want to work with someone like that. Plus, you know, I had all the skills that he was looking for and that’s led to about $30,000 of writing, um, over the past few years. And that’s just the second niche that I write in as golf writing. Um, if you’re new to the show. So, um, that persistency though, in that one email led to $30,000 of recurring work.
Speaker 1 (17:15):
If I had not gotten that client, I wouldn’t have probably had this guy. And you know, that could have totally changed things. So again, you just never know. But one of the most important things is to just consistently show clients that you want this. Don’t just send one email and hope, give them a followup call, send them an email D on their social media, on Twitter, on Instagram, whatever you want to do. Find ways to be relentless. Clients will love that. And again, you might get a job that you might not have had. So for that particular job, now that we’ve been working together and he’s a friend of mine, he said that over 300 writers applied to that job and I was the one that got it because I showed tenacity and, and I had the samples of course. But again, I went above and beyond.
Speaker 1 (17:57):
So just remember that again guys, there’s a lot of things you can do as a writer to find success, but none of it works if you don’t have freelancers and clients. So just a quick recap. First off, never get complacent. The moment you quit pitching and searching for your ideal clients, you open yourself up to losing them. So stay consistent there and always keep working that pipeline. Second thing is provide value. Go above and beyond to show that you’re more than just a freelance writer. Do the little things expecially early on so you build Goodwill and trust from there. Get clients to like you again, guys, people buy from people they know, like, and trust. So get out of your, um, go out and just like do things to help build that rapport and that trust so that we become a valued part of the team from there.
Speaker 1 (18:46):
Please tip number four, do not give up when you get rejected. Know that each rejection is going to lead to a yes, but you have to reframe that correctly. And finally, stay persistent guys. Please finally, do not forget that at the end of the day, none of this works unless you are consistent and persistent in your approach and your pursuit to greatness. None of it works. So don’t send one email and just hope that’s enough. Reach out, send another email, do all the things we just talked about so that way you get on their radar and land a client. So super, super excited. Again guys, make sure to register for that training. Um, it’s happening tomorrow and Wednesday, so make sure to sign into that. If you have any questions, you can always email me, [email protected] And thanks again for being here. I know there’s a lot of things you can be doing with your pandemic time, so I’m glad you’re making, hopefully you’re making the most out of it. Again, use this time to get better, stay positive, and as always, I hope you have an Epic day.
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