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The Definitive Guide on How To Sell Services in 2019

Selling has changed as much in the last 10 years as Bruce Jenner

What worked 10 years ago won't work now.

If you use that playbook then you'll find it harder and harder to make sales, bring on clients or hit targets. Eventually, you'll be in serious trouble.

This guide explains with no punches pulled, exactly what you need to have in place in order to repeatedly sell your service for decent prices.

Failure to do at least a significant portion of these and you're basically asking for trouble. I'm not a fan of massive lead-ins with posts so let's do this.

1. Facebook Matters. A lot!

Ignoring Facebook and using it only for personal use at this point is simply naive. You are going to be looked up and if you don't have anything about your business and work on there then it'll look like you're not super serious about your business. 

It's not right, but it is true. Now, there's a balance to this. You don't want to come across like those girls selling Juice Plus or some nonsense like this. A nice balance of work stuff and personal stuff is the key to sales success. 

It's hard because they are emotionally charged subjects but in this ever-divisive world, stay away from political subjects. Yes, it's fun to jump in and bash Trump or say how stupid Brexit is, but what if someone you're hoping to do business with doesn't think Trump is that bad or genuinely thinks the UK is better outside the EU? 

You've just significantly reduced your chances of working with that person. I'm not saying it's right, but it is true. Find a nice balance of sharing work success, results you've helped people get, helpful posts along with a healthy amount of normal Facebook stuff. 

Keep consistent, stay away from politics and negativity.

2. Pipeline Management - Deals Take Longer

Deals take longer to close these days so if you pursue a playbook that hopes you can close a sale in 30 days and it's going to take more like 90 or 120 then you're going to blow your load too soon. 

Hold back and think of something else.

Sales Growth

It's not necessarily that from proposal to 'yes' takes longer, it's that getting to the meeting and doing the proposal is taking longer. No longer do people call you from the Yellow Pages and buy that day. The pre-proposal bit can take years in some cases which is where your social media comes in.

The benefit is, if you can make this work and almost encourage it, it makes you look cooler and less desperate, the people who are ready will tell you they are ready and your conversion rate from meeting/proposal > sale will be higher because people are already convinced about working with you.

3. You Need Funnels. Lots of em!

Funnels get a bad wrap because no-one likes spam and you have companies like ClickFunnels which have made the whole thing so yuck. That said, they work like crazy so use them, just do it with class.

Not every email needs to be a sales email. Do any need to be a sales email? You simply need to be top of mind for your subject, that's it. 

At Better Proposals, we had a little dip in sales a while back. When we looked into it, the people in the first 90 days who were going to convert were just like normal. What we were missing were the people who were taking 4 or 5 months to convert because our funnel only lasted 90 days and we hadn't done much additional emailing on top of that.

Add more sales funnel content. Easily fixed.

Even if you have no clear sales process, get yourself a basic funnel going with MailChimp or Active Campaign and simply add a ton of emails going out every week or 10 days with helpful stuff. Once you suss it out you can always add in sales emails later but just help people. 

You'll feel good putting people in the thing knowing it will help them, and you’ll close a sale much easier.

4. Proposals Can't Be Shit Anymore

There is no option for your proposals to suck. People are too good at design, there are too many slick systems out there which make you look good and if you're not at least on par then you're going to look terrible in comparison.

If you send at least 1 proposal a month, get the Starter plan on Better Proposals. It's $19/mo, it's pennies and it'll likely double your conversion rate overnight. It's not a promise but we hear that about 200 times a month so make of that what you will. 

Best Proposal Software

Here are some basics:

Your introduction needs to be the best thing you ever write. Learn to take what your client tells you and turn it into the best possible introduction possible. 

Use a proven structure. Don't think it's cute to reinvent the wheel, it isn't. It's far more cute to win the business every time you press 'Send'. We have 60+ Proposal Templates from a ton of different industries which have a proven structure, have been pre-designed and pre-written by professionals. You can edit them but you might as well start there.

Have a system in place and make sure you send these things quickly. Get them out in 24 hours ideally. The 2019 Proposal Report says you'll convert 14% more of your proposals by sending within 24 hours compared to just 3-4 days.

It's not enough to just "send a quote". It needs to be beyond epic and light up their world. Better Proposals gets you 90% of the way there.

5. Follow up isn't done with email, it's done with gifs

80% of the time, the follow up is just to remind people to respond to your proposal. If you build up a good relationship with people over Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram then commenting on their posts, liking their stuff achieves the same thing as sending a "So, did you get a chance to review the proposal" type email. 

That looks weak whereas simply interacting on Facebook in a normal, amusing manner can actually achieve more. 

One is annoying and makes them think worse of you the other reminds them subtly that they need to get back to you while also having a decent, relationship-building interaction. 

On top of this, because of the way Facebook works, you don't need to be necessarily commenting on their stuff for them to see what you've posted or commented on. Make sure you're commenting good stuff and it'll get to them anyway. 

6. Case Studies are More Vital Now Than Ever

Proof you can do what you say you can has always been relevant but in today's world, there's an absolute abundance of people pretending to be experts, experienced and the best at what they do. 

Because people don't do much in the way of fact-checking, they just see logos on websites and assume they are customers. We've all seen the "As seen on" sections of websites with logos of publications you recognise on them. How on earth are you supposed to check if they actually were featured or not? You don't. Keep this in mind when you are building out your web design portfolio - include case studies to add social proof to your work.

How you stand out here is stories. Real-life stories with real people who you've helped achieve whatever it is you do. Get a collection of them. In fact, every client you take on should know that at some point you're going to ask them to do an interview with you.

Make this written, get photos and write it up the way a journalist would write up their high profile interview with a celebrity. Use these in your proposals, on your website, post about them on your social media and tag the subjects. Check out an example of a good testimonial on the link.

Generate conversation in the places you want it.

7. Personal Positioning

Consider how you're presenting yourself to the world. You see some people on Facebook complaining about clients, people not paying, having to do free work and it's a terrible look. You're presenting to the world that you accept these things which is not what you want.

The reason people rent Lamborghini's and big houses and pretend they own them is it shows the world they have money. If you have money, you must be successful and you're someone I should buy from and trust. It's almost gone the other way at this point but the concept still stands.

The lesson here is to take care of what you post, what you comment on when you're on social media. Don't be too honest if your situation isn't ideal, just shine a light on the best bits.

8. Pricing Matters

The right price is the right price. That's it. 

You'll no doubt have been inundated with people telling you how to increase your prices and there's good cause for this. Higher prices mean better clients and higher profits. Who wouldn't want that?

The problem is, if you're new, don't have a lot of experience or simply aren't producing a high-end service with a high-end brand then having a high price isn't going to fly.

You need to have the right price for your brand, your presentation, the value your work provides and the results you can get.

There's nothing wrong with selling $500 websites if you're not very experienced, your design isn't great yet, your client management needs work and you're not sure if they're going to make any money out of it. If you try selling that for $10,000 it's not going to work. 

At the same time, if you're on your 300th client, you've proven time and time again that people make 100X returns on your price then selling a site at $500 would be mental and grossly undercharging so putting the price to $10,000 would make a lot more sense. 

The right price is the right price and it doesn't matter what it is. Make sure your pricing is in alignment with the level you're at.

9. Personal Presentation

Look the part. If you go to meetings then dress to impress. Yes, you might know them but wear a suit anyway. Rocking up in a hoodie is fine but it's also not the best look. 

Close more deals Richard Branson

I used to wear a suit to every single meeting. It didn't matter who it was with. Every single one. It felt good to dress up, get my shit together and go and crush the day. 

It was common for existing clients to say "Oh, you don't need to dress up for us". I'd just say, "Oh, I'm not, I've got a meeting right after this. Don't feel too special". Joking of course.

It shows you have other stuff going on which raises your value. Even if they don't have a joke with you about it, it doesn't matter. It's good to dress like that. Sometimes people think "I'll dress how they do". Just because they wear a hoodie to work doesn't mean you do. 

Look the part, make sure you look your best and you'll be rewarded for it. It's already proven that a good reputation has positive results for your sales.

10. Consistency

Don't dip in and out. Keep your follow up consistent and good. Keep posts on Facebook rolling out and keep filling up your pipeline. Sales management is a continuous process.

Ultimately, consistency is the key to anything that requires a sustained amount of effort. Practice it and enjoy it. Learn to love tiny bits of progress and keep moving your sales pipeline forward as well as continually topping it up.

It's rare that a single week or month of effort is going to yield you any continued results. It's the consistency that does it. 

Get whatever systems around you that you need to keep you operating at your best. Improve yourself together with your business operations and trust me, you’ll close more deals in the future.

Adam Hempenstall's profile image
Adam Hempenstall is the CEO and Founder of Better Proposals. He started his first web design business at 14 and has since written four books and built an international movement around sending better proposals. Having helped his customers win $500,000,000 in the last 12 months alone, he’s launched the first ever Proposal University where he shares best practices on writing and designing proposals. He co-runs a once-a-year festival called UltraMeet and is a massive FC Barcelona fan.