The first order Part 3: Acquisition & Sales

In the first two steps you have created and tested your offer. Now it is all about acquiring potential customers. Now it is all about acquiring and sales. In this article I will show you some possibilities to acquire your first customer.

As mentioned in the first two articles, it is important that your offer is really attractive for your customers. An offer that is really relevant for your target group increases the rate of sales considerably. The second important factor is your qualities as a salesperson. Before you pick up the phone to win your first customer, I would like to give you some basics about acquisition.

The Basics

Acquisition: hot or cold?

With the warm acquisition you contact people you have already had contact with. This could be a former employer, client, acquaintance, colleague or schoolmate.

It is much more difficult to get a new customer by cold calling. You surely know the situation when you receive an advertising call or an advertising mail from a foreign company. How often did you hang up directly or delete the mail?

Why am I writing this? I would like to show you that, apart from the quality of your offer, the type of acquisition also determines how well your offer is accepted by the target group. If you only concentrate on cold calling, you may get frustrated relatively quickly and evaluate your offer worse than it actually is. Conversely, concentrating on warm acquisition can lead to a too optimistic assessment.

Direct and indirect distribution

If you offer your services directly to a company, one speaks logically of direct sales.

Possibilities to sell your services directly:

  • Call potential customers or write e-mails
  • Place ads yourself, which the target group asks to get in contact with you
  • Visit events and present your services

If you are not a born salesman and would like to continue to work in your field of expertise, indirect sales can be interesting for you.

Possibilities to sell your services indirectly:

  • Offer your services on an online sales platform
  • Hire someone to handle the distribution
  • Offer your friends, acquaintances or business partners a lucrative commission model for the successful placement of your services

Find the right sales strategy

Good sales people find the right argument for every situation. Here is a short story:

After three years the time had come again. I had returned my carefully treated leasing vehicle. An inspector with a keen eye for detail noted down every little scratch. Finally even small scratches on the hubcaps were criticized. This cost 250,- EUR. The inspection report was presented to the seller for the handover of the vehicle, on whose desk a bold trophy for the seller of the year was displayed. Of course I asked him about the additional costs and pointed out that the vehicle was treated with care and is subject to a certain wear and tear after three years.

Now the exciting question: How can you positively communicate additional costs of 250,- EUR to a customer?

The answer of the seller:

A few months ago we had a different calculation model for defects in the vehicle. According to the old model, the additional payment would amount to over 600 EUR. We realized that many customers were dissatisfied with this model. In the interest of customer satisfaction, we have acted and for some months now we have been charging only the material costs we incur to repair the damage. Now you can also benefit from this when you return your vehicle. Instead of over 600 EUR, the costs for the return of your vehicle now only amount to 250 EUR.

This strategy involves a price anchor set higher by the seller. The seller deliberately names a higher amount and suggests to the customer that he or she got away cheaply. Crossed-out recommended retail prices are based on the same principle.

It is therefore worthwhile to acquire sales strategies in order to start successfully in the acquisition phase. However, you should not overstep the mark. Seriousness should always have the highest priority.

If you want to know more about sales strategies, I recommend my contributions to the SPIN-Selling and AIDA model. The last part of the series will be about how to perfectly prepare for the first conversation with your customer. Until then I wish you good luck with your freelance job.

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