How To Make Your First Sale As A Service-Based Business Owner?

A 7-step guide on how to land your first sale as a new, service-based entrepreneur.

This article is especially for the introverts out there among you or those, who are afraid of sales and selling.

Which – by the way – you don’t have to be! And I hope that this article will help you with its actionable tips to get over it. The last step – the implementation – is on you. Don’t forget, we all start out somewhere ;).

Now, you’ve already made the totally bold decision to start a service-based business (or become a freelancer). Huge congratulations! At this point, you just need to get those first few sales to know that this business you’ve been working on is actually working.

This article will surely help you and is full of actionable advice.

How to make your first sale as a new, service-based business owner?

Before we dive in, let me just preface this article – and your mindset – by saying that: selling is indeed a skill that can be learned (as according to Harvard Business Review).

We all suck at it at the beginning! Trust me. Myself included.

I remember that I got SO nervous before getting on a call with a prospect that I had to mentally grow some big girl pants a couple hours before hopping on the call. But even then, my hands were clammy, my voice was shaking at times and I felt myself blushing in embarrassment at some of the thigns I’ve said.

But you know what?

I. Did. It. Anyway!

And now, hopping on calls with prospective clients and closing them are two of my favorite things to do in my business ;).

The things that I share in this article are a few things that I’ve learned in regards to how to land your first sale.

{I’m still planning on writing an article on closing a prospect but that will have to be a topic for another day – so, stay tuned.}

The good news is that it only takes a few weeks of practice to get good at sales! That and knowing what to look out for to become better at it.

First things first.

Most budding service-based entrepreneurs get caught up in the fact that they have to start cold contacting potential leads *shiver*.

They start telling themselves all sorts of stories on how they are not ready – or, experienced enough – to approach potential prospects.

BUT… this is typically not where the hiccup lies (IF you haven’t signed your first client *yet*).

The sales issue typically lies in how you are presenting + selling your ‘service offering/ suit’.

Let’s dive deeper into this topic:

(1) If you have been reaching out to potential clients & you haven’t sold a single one than it’s typically because:

[A] You don’t believe in your own skill-set yet and that you can actually help them achieve the end-transformation you are trying to sell them on.

REAL TALK: If that is the case, you gotta work on your skill-set a bit more before you start adventuring out into the Wild Wild West.

I’m strongly assuming that since you’re reading this article and you want to legitimately find out how to grow your new business, you’re not one of those sucky people that are trying to rip others off.

Hats off to you and I congratulate you on wanting to make that first sale with integrity.

So, if [A] is the case (and if it is, trust me, you know it), all you want to be doing is take i.e.:

+ Take an online course to help you improve your skill-sets further.

+ Join a mastermind or online membership site (such as the Funnel Pro Academy) so you can put your skill-sets to a test in a supported environment.

+ Be honest with your potential client and offer a free trial month, for example. Personally, I’m not a fan of this last option.

Why? Because time is the most important commodity we have. As such, you never want to give yours away for free. That’s just where I’m at.

Also, I’m sure your particular skill-sets in the service area you’re trying to sell, are better then the ones of your potential client already. That’s why she/he is looking for help! Hence, you should get paid for your efforts.

Now, before we get side-tracked let’s get back to [B].

[B] You got the skill-sets. But you’re sabotaging yourself, telling yourself you can’t deliver.

Yep. There’s pretty much the opposite one to [A] as well.

How do you know?

Simple.

Get your journal out. Right now.

Journaling can help you get clear on that first sale.

Then, give yourself 7 days.

And now, each morning (or evening) jot down without thinking about it too much how you feel about signing your first client.

Imagine that you’ve already signed him/her. How do you feel about it? Do you feel sick to your stomach because you’re not quite sure how you should fulfill the service sale?

Or, are you totally sure what you need to do to help your new client?

Also, do you notice you feel mostly unsure on sales calls because you don’t have any social proof yet? Or, do you feel unsure because you aren’t sure about your skills.

Try to decipher your feelings through internal dialogues. Don’t judge yourself while you go through this process. Let your thoughts go wild and write down all your feelings.

After 7 days, take some inventory. You’ll be amazed at what you’ve discovered about yourself.

Cool? Great! Let’s move on.

[C] You haven’t gotten clear on your core service offer and product suite yet.

Now, I’m going to be honest with you. Typically as a service-based entrepreneur, you’re always going to be working on developing your product suite.

With each new 10 or 100 clients, you’ve learned a new thing or two.

As such, you’re ideally going to adapt your different service offers accordingly.

What’s important to note though is that if you’re NOT clear on your core offer yet and you sound like a jumbled mess on sales calls… you gotta do some market research first!

Market research to establish a sellable 'product suit' needs to be done before trying to sell.

Find 10 ideal clients.

Hop on a call with them (ask them if it’s okay if you record the call). Then, chat with them! Find out what major thing they’re struggling with as it’s related to your niche speciality.

Also, ask them if they feel like XYZ or ABC would help them solve it? And if so, in which format? How long until they would like to see results, etc?

IMPORTANT: Keep track of all the answers in an organized way on a Google Spreadsheet.

Where do you find ideal clients of yours to ask if they’d be open to help you with some market research?

My favorite method are utilizing Facebook Groups.

The good ones, of course. The active ones.

If you’re authentic and honest in the way you ask, you’re going to find tons of people that are willing to help you.

(2) Get clear on your pricing & sales income goals.

90% of new service-based business owners undervalue themselves and sell themselves short.

This is a statistic by yours truly, so no, you won’t find it anywhere else.

I swear, I’m always amazed at how, for example, even new social media managers start out by offering to manage entire social media channels for a client (including content creation) for less than $500 a month!

To me that is NUTS!

Why is that?

It has to do with a mixture of two things:

[A] Inexperience and a lack of research done about their market.

[B] A still developing sense of self-value.

Think about it! To manage say Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, etc. for one client, organize their posts, schedule them, etc. these are hours and hours and hours of work!

If somebody charged $500 a month for this service, well… you’d soon burn out because your hourly rate would come probably down to like $0.30/hour.

And yes, even though I don’t recommend charging per hour – EVER – as a service-based business owner, it’s good to keep your hourly take-home rate in mind (as well as the one of your team) before closing the sale.

The amount of your first sale will be determined by how high you set your pricing.

How can you get clear on your pricing yet?

Pick a number – after you’ve looked at what your competitors charge – and double it.

Yep. You heard me say that right.

DOUBLE IT.

That’s going to be the first number you start with when trying to sell to your first client. And selling, you will ;).

Next, you also want to get clear on your income goals!

This is VITAL!

You can not shoot an arrow in the dark. Well, you could but chances are you’re going to miss your sales goal.

As such, be sure to get clear on how much you want to be making:

(1) Per client.

(2) Per month.

(3) Per business quarter (4 months).

Keep those numbers somewhere where you can see them daily to remind yourself of your goals!

(3) Create your sales positioning strategy.

People buy from people they know, like and trust,” they say.

True. To a certain extent.

Although, if we’re honest, it can take a LONG time to get somebody to trust you online, especially if they’ve never met you before.

For the sake of this article, I’m going to assume that you’re wanting to find new clients online (and not in your local community, for example).

Say, you don’t have months to create and produce consistent content online to establish rapport and as such, make sales on autopilot.

Although – side note – this will be something you want to be doing to truly grow a sustainable business.

If you’d like more information on that, you can check out this related article:

What to do?

How can you get your first client within the next couple of days or weeks?!

One of the ways to do this is through positioning.

You need to position yourself to breed trust.

How do you do that?

First of all, it’s how you show up online (and in person) as a business owner.

According to CMO, this is how you build trust online,
““It’s about being transparent, doing what is expected and shared values. Key to this is the internal culture of the brand becoming more evident. The expectation is you deliver to those values with more purpose-driven activities so you are living and breathing the values.”

Then, there are a few more things you want to have in place so you can guarantee that your future clients will trust you.

And yes, some of them we already talked about but I wanted to make sure to include them one more time. That way, they will really sink in ;).

So, here’s my ‘Trust Building Organic Sales Strategy’ for you:

  1. Have a great service offering that can deliver.
  2. Work on building up a strong online presence through consistent content marketing.
  3. Be transparent and honest in your daily conversations with your audience.
  4. Share testimonials and reviews whenever you get them.
  5. Listen to your potential clients and respond to them by creating content around their most burning questions (such as this one, for example **see what I did there **).
  6. Don’t be a bot and automate your outreach. Just don’t. It’s annoying and it will only get you that far.
  7. Give potential clients multiple ways to contact you.

(4) Social proof, social proof, social proof will help you close your sale.

One of the quickest ways to gain the trust of your ideal audience online is through…

REVIEWS!!!

It's easier to land the first sale if you've already got some social proof.

What does this mean for you?

You want to focus on getting testimonials or social proof in any shape or form as soon as possible!

I know what you’re thinking right now though,

“How can I get reviews if I haven’t worked with anyone before?”

That’s a great questions!

A simple solution to this is that you can show somebody what it is that you can do by doing it for yourself.

Want to do i.e. Facebook Ads for businesses. Run Facebook Ads for yourself first, record your progress and successes and put everything into a case study PDF. Et voila! You’ve got some form of testimonial you can show to prospects.

(5) Make sure you’ve got your organic ‘Social Media Funnel’ in place for easy selling.

Do you have all of your social media sites linked up at the appropriate fields with a 2-step lead generation funnel?

And does this lead generation sales funnel share with a new email list subscriber a kickass freebie? An in-depth awesome case study (like the one mentioned in the previous step)?

No? Or, yes?

If you have purely links to a new website, this isn’t enough! You want to strategically double down on your lead generation efforts.

So, if you haven’t set up your ‘lead generation funnel’ yet and want to package your new freebie/case study nicely (regardless of if you’re using a video training, eBook, PDF guide, etc. as the freebie)…

You can get a FREE copy of my own lead generation template here: https://app.clickfunnels.com/funnels/3396547/share/99l93vas975ucmm8

An example of a sales funnel template.

Full disclosure: The only requirement for the template is that you’re using Clickfunnels as your funnel building software. If you’re not or you have no idea what tool I’m talking about, no worries.

Once you click on the link, it will walk you through how you can get this free template and edit it to fit your needs.

Moving on ;).

If you have your social media sites linked up – awesome!

Now, make sure you got a follow up email sequence in place as well. At least, for 5 consecutive days I’d recommend.

For automated email sequences, I recommend ActiveCampaign.

If you’re interested in reading a detailed review on ActiveCampaign and how much I love it for my email marketing, check out this related blog post: https://corneliapauline.com/2019/05/31/6-best-digital-marketing-tools-to-grow-your-business-online-in-2019-fast-intentional/ .

Next, be sure you use a clear and professional profile image on all of your social media channels. One that allows us to see your eyes.

Get rid of that pet in your photo (of course, only on the photo I mean lol!) or those sunglasses you were wearing and look straight into the camera.

(6) Start by building relationships!

Often times, you feel so much pressure as a new business owner to ‘make the sale’ that you forget another, vital step: it’s to build relationships.

Also, there’s a lot of misconception around ‘selling’.

To me, I see selling as SERVING. Selling is a transfer of emotional energy.

How emotion plays into sales.

In your case: your passion about how you can solve your ideal client’s pain point by serving him/her in your unique way and the kind of transformation you can help them achieve.

On sales calls (or private messenger conversations), your passion needs to be palpable.

Shift your focus from ‘cold selling’ somebody or pushing your services onto them TO – starting, growing and building relationships.

Depending on where your ideal audience, or client, hangs out at – this is where you need to be too. If it’s, for example, Facebook Groups, on Instagram, Youtube, it doesn’t matter.

Social media is there for networking – and to build relationships with awesome people locally and around the world.

Every time you start working on your new business, start by networking on social media where your ideal clients hang out at.

Give yourself about 60 minutes per day, 5 days a week and you’ll be amazed how fast you’re going to make your first sale (IF you follow all the previous steps, of course).

(7) Final ‘landing-the-sale’ tip.

There are three more things that are important when landing your first sale as a service-based business owner:

[A] Tell people what it is that you do by showing them through [B].

[B] Position yourself correctly with kickass, valuable content and while doing so, [C]

[C] Focus on how you make potential clients feel.

A potential client can already get a feel for how it is to be working with you by how you show up online and how you handle yourself ;).

Always keep this in mind.

And that’s it!!

If you keep following these steps consistently, you are going to get your first sale in no time and it will most likely start out with you getting a private message like this,

“Hi XYZ. I loved your reply to what Jane posted in the XYZ Facebook Group. I’m actually having a hart time with XYZ and would love to learn more about your services.”

Now, how does this person – for example – know that you have services that you offer.

That’s where your internal ‘social media sales funnel‘ comes into play! As a new (and experienced business owner), you always want to have everything ready so that people can:

(1) Find out and get clear immediately on what it is that you do.

(2) Have an easy way to contact you and for you to close the sale.

Oh and if you need more help on any of this, be sure to check out my free Facebook Group, called… you’ve guessed it: “Become A Social Media Funnel Pro.”

BONUS TIP: Pre-qualify every client

It’s easy to get caught up in the prospect of making your first client sale and receiving your first money as a new business owner.

BUT…

The client that you take on today will set the stage for the kind of client you’re going to be working with tomorrow.

~ Cornelia Pauline

This is one of the most important things to keep in mind before making your first (or, second or, third) sale.

Don’t just take on any client for the sake of taking on that client or, feeling like you need to get that sale.

Make sure that your first client is really your ideal client!

You see, if it is your ideal client and you’ve got your service offering and delivery fleshed out, you will deliver him/her results.

You need these results to rapidly grow a successful service-based business.

If you don’t think that a potential client is ideal for you, be brave enough to say,

Thank you for showing interest in my services. I really appreciate it but as of now, I don’t think we’re the right fit for each other. I wish you all the best and please let me know if you need recommendations for other service providers in my field.


Anyway, I hope that this article on selling as a new, service-based business owner was helpful to you! Be sure to let me know in the comments once you make your first sale <3!

Also, don’t forget to hit that ‘SUBSCRIBE’ button to this blog or, follow me on Instagram for more awesome business, marketing and entrepreneurial lifestyle information.


P.S. If you’re curious on launching your own online marketing freelancer business, check out the Funnel PRO Academy. I helped numerous students launch successful marketing businesses on their own and sell themselves like the champs that they are.

5 Ways To Quickly Build Your Community Online Through Storytelling

I love this topic.

So, let’s get started right away.

First of all, I think it’s important to talk about how communities are formed in general?

Understanding the psychology behind it is as important for growing a community as it is to publish storytelling content for the said community.

Stanford University’ Social Innovation said it best when they wrote in one of their reviews,

"It’s about people.

First and foremost, community is not a place, a building, or an organization; nor is it an exchange of information over the Internet. Community is both a feeling and a set of relationships among people. People form and maintain communities to meet common needs.

Members of a community have a sense of trust, belonging, safety, and caring for each other. They have an individual and collective sense that they can, as part of that community, influence their environments and each other.

That treasured feeling of community comes from shared experiences and a sense of—not necessarily the actual experience of—shared history. As a result, people know who is and isn’t part of their community. This feeling is fundamental to human existence."

Now, let me ask you a very important question:

What is the NUMBER ONE thing that lets people bond with each other the fastest?

The answer is a shared common emotional experience.

And guess how you can create this the best in a digital environment?

STORIES.

Plato has said it best when he said,

I would probably alter this quote a bit for the sake of this post and say,

“Those who tell the most genuine stories online, generate the most engagement on their content and build their communities the fastest.”

Now, how can you practically go about creating that online community around your business and brand through storytelling?

Well, here are my best 5 tips for you that I’ve been testing out with numerous clients and students:

(1) Identify your overall story archetype (or the story archetype of your business brand). Preferably 1.

What is a story archetype?

In plain English, a story archetype is simply the kind of transition that happens from beginning to middle to the end of a story.

Examples of that are:

  • Overcoming An Evil Thing or The Obstacle Archetype: There is an evil force threatening our hero/their world/mankind. The hero must fight and slay this monster, which often isn’t easy, but they come out triumphant and receive a great reward. Think of movies like Wonder Woman, Star Wars or Braveheart.
  • Rags to Riches: This one is fairly self-explanatory: at the beginning, the main character or hero is insignificant and dismissed by others but something happens to elevate them, revealing them to be exceptional. Think The Ugly Duckling, Aladdin and Superman.
  • The Quest: In the quest, our hero must set out on a long, hazardous journey, and will battle all obstacles until they are triumphant. Think The Lord of the Rings, The Wizard of Oz and Harry Potter.
  • Voyage and Return: While also based on a journey, the Voyage and Return is very different from The Quest. Here, the main character travels out of their ‘normal world’ into the overwhelming and unknown, before escaping back to the safety of their home. Think Alice in Wonderland, Finding Nemo and Gulliver’s Travels.
  • Comedy: A story made up of comedic events, normally involving mistaken identity, misunderstanding or confusion, resulting in hilarious chaos. Think A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Bridget Jones’ Diary and Some Like It Hot.
  • Tragedy: This is the story without the happy ending. While our other archetypes have seen triumphant heroes and slain monsters, this plot takes a different turn, and ends in loss or death. Think Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet and Breaking Bad.
  •  Rebirth: Our final plot type, rebirth, sees our hero ‘falling under a dark spell’ – whether this is sleep, sickness or enchantment – before breaking free and being redeemed. Think Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast and The Secret Garden.

Does your overall life story resemble a rags to riches story, or rather the one of the seeker of a quest?

IMPORTANT NOTE: I also strongly want to note that for the sake of building an online community, definitely stir away from the ‘Tragedy’ theme!

In conclusion, those story archetypes have been the same since the beginning of time, since men first wrote stories in order to collect history.

Whichever story archetype best fits you and your life in relation to your business/brand, go with that and be consistent throughout your entire marketing.

(2) Test out which one of the 4 story themes your audience most resonates with when it comes to your brand. Share those more and more with your community to create that unique brand loyalty.

For a personal brand – or digital influencer – I have found the following 4 story themes to work the best to in terms of building up their communities:

[A] The family person. Are you a mother, a father, a husband, a wife, etc.?

The reason why your growing community will be able to relate to this so quickly is that we all have families in one way or another.

It is something that makes you immediately likable.

Most of the time, a large part of what it is that we do even depend on our families!

They are the reasons why we do what we do.

[B] The Underdog.

An Underdog can be both your overall story archetype but it can also be a powerful theme you can share with your community online.

Just watch this video by one of my favorite bands Kodaline.

What do you notice about it?

An underdog who has become an underdog through no fault of his own, being brave and standing up to a group of bad people.

An underdog theme ALWAYS generates an emotional response.

As a result, it’s a powerful topic to use throughout your branding.

[C] The Seinfeld Theme.

The Seinfeld show was one of the greatest and most influential sitcoms ever created.

Not everyone might share stories about their families online or, talk about their underdog experiences.

If that is you, the Seinfeld theme is for you.

What consists of a Seinfeld theme?

Anything really that a lot of people can relate to that can happen throughout a typical day.

In other words, it’s a day-to-day experience.

Here is an example of how a Seinfeld post can look like and how you can generate ROI from it:

However, if you are the kind of person who feels like they can not come up with something rather general on a day to day basis and pack it in an interesting way, I would probably stir away from choosing this theme as the overarching story theme of your brand.

The main reason being that in order for this to work and to generate the engagement you need, you need to truly be consistent.

Whereas with a great Underdog story, for example, you do not need to show up quite that frequently.

[D] Results and achievements.

You might think that sharing results and achievements online are equivalent to boasting.

You could not be more wrong.

Far from it.

At least, if you don’t do it every day and only share the important milestones with your tribe ;).

People love celebrating success with each other, especially your tribe.

Not only that, they will also see you as an authority figure in that area you’ve achieved a result or success in.

So, whenever that happens – dang, be sure to share it instantaneously.

I look forward to seeing it <3.

Side Note: Speaking of results, you might want to check out this related blog post: https://corneliapauline.com/2017/12/03/can-realistically-make-100k-online-12-months/ 

(3) Weave your story and your theme consistently into these 5 major content buckets.

Now that you’ve decided on your overall story archetype AND you know which one of the 4 story themes works the best for your tribe, you are probably wondering what type of content to even post, right?

Because, even if the content is king, being consistent in your organic marketing approach online is even more important!

So here is the thing.

Digital content of any business or company usually falls into any one of these 4 buckets:

(a) Educational content aka you posting about all the awesome stuff you know.

(b) Inspirational content aka you sharing a bit more about your underdog story or struggles.

(c) Funny/humorous content aka you just being your awesome self.

(d) Controversial content aka your opinions/insights about the industry.

(4) Create a clear mission statement and a shared common goal for your tribe. 

There is no community in the world that is a community without a common shared goal.

Whatever community it is, the one common shared goal is THE ONE THING that holds every one in your tribe together.

For example, let us look at The Honest company.

Every customer of their products shares a belief in protecting the natural environment as well as the (little) people. 

And the company also communicates this shared mission and goal throughout their social media.

What shared goal and/or mission do you envision for your own community?

(5) Be sure to have micro funnels in place everywhere to ensure long-term ROI.

According to the Online Marketing Institute, it takes up to eleven (!) touch points that a customer/client must have with your brand/company before even deciding to do business with you.

If you know this right now then you really need to go back and look at your entire social media and content strategy.

In essence, the more strategic calls-to-action you place throughout your content and social media profiles, the more you speed up this process.

Plus, you’re adding a ton of awesome value to your customer/client along the way and how cool is that, am I right :)?

We are going to talk more about Social Media Funnels in a later article on this blog so be sure to SUBSCRIBE to it to get notified once the article is published.

{Btw, see what I did there ;)?!}

 

Finally and in everything you do, be consistent in your approach.

Stay true to who you are and be authentic in how you present yourself online and you will do just fine.

If you found this article to be helpful, definitely share it with your community, like it and/or let me know in the comments down below.

Let’s do this!