I’ve witnessed a few different types of approaches when it comes to sales, particularly within the creative industry, where sales is often a dirty word. For a bit of fun, take a scroll down and you may recognise a few of these either in yourself or someone you know…
1. Ignore sales even exists
This attitude seems most prevalent within freelancers, who let’s face it, haven’t become freelance for their love of business. You’ve taken the plunge to be self-employed so you have the freedom to do work you enjoy. Whilst this is to be commended, ignoring the concept of sales isn’t.
2. Juggle everything in my head
Ah, the creative ego raises its head with this one. It’s fair to say that most creative people worth their salt, have an ego to go with. This is not meant as a slight, well, as long a you’re aware of it! You believe you can do anything and enjoy the ‘million-things-at-once’ approach to your working day. It’s impressive how you can manage the world all at once, but don’t you find that you drop the ball sometimes. All too often I’ve heard of the busy excuses or straight up forgotten ones, as to why a lead hasn’t been chased up.
3. I hate the idea of cold calling
You’re not alone in this one. Does anyone actually enjoy proper cold calling, speaking to unknowns? Don’t worry, that’s a rhetorical question. The answer is clearly no. The good news is there are some simple measures you can take to turn those cold contacts to mildly warm. There are easy, non-intimidating ways of getting your name in front of someone, such as effective use of social media, group meet ups and asking for intros from those people that you do know.
4. Rely on recommendations
If you can pull this off — good on ya. We all strive to be recognised for the work we do, and it’s certainly true that if you produce top notch work, there is every chance you will get a recommendation for another project. It’s rare to find a business that solely operates from recommendations. Even when you do, you still need to understand and manage the concept of a sales pipeline. This helps to make sure you get the maximum out of your potential projects.
5. I love my spreadsheets
It’s not often you find a creative soul who has an affinity with spreadsheets, but I have met the odd one. You have a good grasp on what’s going on with your business from a money point of view, perhaps obsessing a little too much at times! I bet you find it frustrating when you accidentally delete a cell in your spreadsheet, or your colleague overwrites your last entry! So please, stop using a spreadsheet and use a dedicated app instead.
6. Super DUPER organised
Perhaps the most endangered species within the creative industry. Being super organised and creative are not the most obvious of mixes. If you belong in the camp, you are most likely doing pretty well with managing your leads. It’s worth remembering though, that despite all of your organisation, it is the people touch that ultimately lands you that project. So get out there and press the flesh!
What can I do to help myself?
There are some simple steps you can take if you want to improve your sales, borrowing from the list above. Start off by laying the foundations and using a CRM/to do's to help organise leads. By spending as little as 10–15 minutes a week, you can quickly get on top of those leads and start turning them into exciting new projects!