Communicating your worth is essential in the business world. How clients value your skills impacts how you communicate — and how much you're paid — more than anything.
Here are five ways to better sell your skill set to existing and potential clients.
1. Combine Two Skills And Sell It As One
According to LinkedIn, the 25 skills that got job seekers recruited the most in 2014 included "SEO/SEM Marketing" and "Digital and Online Marketing." "Digital Marketing" and "Online Marketing" as stand alone terms did not make the top 25 LinkedIn skills, but ranked 16th in combination as "Digital and Online Marketing." They are different skills, but it looks like recruiters are mostly interested in both and not just one of them.
The combination of two skills that are combined into one official skill seems to be a successful pattern throughout LinkedIn since 10 out of the top 25 skills are two separate skills and the top five most hired skills are all combinations of two skills (such as "Statistical Analysis and Data Mining" or "Network and Information Security" which were the top two).
2. Word Your Skill Correctly To Attract Customers
"SEO/SEM Marketing" would make any professional marketer cringe because these skills could not be more different from each other. As a matter of fact, marketing agencies and freelancers frequently specialize in either or because of that.
This doesn't mean people who wrote SEO/SEM Marketing as a skill are not aware of that. It simply indicates they knew their target group: recruiters. Unfortunately, SEO and SEM are widely considered to be the same thing among non-marketers, and SEO seems to be the go-to term for anyone who does anything online that is not website creation or app development.
The bottom line is that there might be a difference between what people call your skill when they are looking to recruit someone like you and what you are offering.
3. Keep Them Up-To-Date Regarding Achievements
Remind existing clients why they should stick with you. You are successful, so you are a positive influence and can help them become more successful too.
A concrete example of how to communicate things like this without sounding cocky is to send out a quarterly "thank you" email to clients. You can summarize how many clients or employees the business has added, how many projects were completed or how many hours of work were put in to achieve their goals — and, of course, thank them for making it all possible.
Additionally, a brief summary of your achievements such as awards, proven results and published examples of your work is something any potential client appreciates in a sales pitch. It makes it easier to evaluate your service, and quickens the lead conversion process.
4. Send Cards
Handwritten cards are personal and show you care. If you have a large client base and simply cannot provide handwritten cards to all of them, consider sending a photo card via online services like postcard.ly. All you need to do is take a photo of yourself, your teams or projects you are working on with a quality of at least 600 dpi. Postcardly will then print it as a postcard, print your text on the back and ship it to your clients worldwide.
If you want clients to be introduced to a new skill or remind them why you are the right person for the job, take a photo of you designing, creating or managing a project where you use this specific skill. To showcase several skills, divide the card layout into three columns and show one skill per column.
5. Get Official Praise
Awards, speaking engagements, LinkedIn recommendations and testimonials with a photo, title and company of your clients not only confirm you know what you are doing, they also create group pressure.
There is an entire science behind how to get people to do certain things (such as hiring you, or to stick to your services and products) and it’s called behavioral economics. One concept of behavioral economics is that people want to join others if joining is considered the standard thing to do.
A concrete example would be sign-up forms on blogs. Conversion rates are typically much higher if the form says, "Join fellow professionals" instead of, simply, "Subscribe." Another example is the hospitality industry. Hotels who ask their guests to reuse their towels typically achieve less than hotels who say, "The vast majority of people who were in this room in the last eight months have reused their towels; please join them and reuse your towel also."
The more third-party recommendations you can provide, the higher the group pressure to recommend you or hire you.
Selling yourself is a skill that impacts how much you earn and how others interact with you. While there are many selling strategies, showing clients you care is one of the most honest and appreciated gestures. At the same time, you want to keep your connections in the loop of recent achievements and confirm that hiring you was or is the right decision.
Any other tips? Let us know in the comments!