Save the Sale

When you’re running a freelance business, incoming project leads can be hard to come by. Moreover, some leads are hot; others you know likely won’t be a fit for your standard service offering.

So, what’s a person to do?

Some would argue that it’s best to simply hand the prospect off to another freelancer or refer the prospect to freelance platforms such as Upwork or, especially for clients with limited budgets. That’s always seemed like an half-baked solution to me, for a number for reasons.

  • For starters, you can’t control who the person you turn away ultimately hires on a platform like Upwork or, and you don’t want them to have a bad experience.
  • Next, you know you can provide value to the prospect, even if it isn’t with one of your standard service offerings.
  • Lastly, you want to capitalize on as many incoming leads as possible without taking precious time out of your day.

That’s when I came up with the Save the Sale service. Let’s check it out in more detail.

What is a Save the Sale Service?

A Save the Sale service is a service offered at a lower price point than your typical project fees but at a higher hourly rate. The service can take many forms, but the ones I’ve found to yield the best results include:

  • Coaching Sessions
  • Strategy Sessions
  • Brainstorming Sessions
  • Consulting Sessions
  • Audits

One example is my Search Marketing Coaching Session, which is a coaching session for local business owners. If a business owner cannot afford my monthly SEO retainer, I suggest my coaching session instead. It’s a win-win for both the client and I.

The client receives a detailed overview of things they can do to increase local SEO rankings for their business, and I access a new revenue stream for my business.

How Do Create a Save the Sale Service for Your Business?

Creating a Save the Sale service is easy. 

  1. Identify an alternate service that you can offer at a reduced rate. As I mentioned before, you’ll likely want to frame this as an audit, coaching session, or strategy session.
  2. Create a framework for your coaching session. Develop checklists and write an agenda for each session you intend to offer.  I have a simple checklist of items I review on the client’s website during a 30-minute review session, and a list of questions I ask regarding their objectives for their SEO campaign.
  3. Plan how you will conduct your session using Skype, Google Hangout or over the telephone. If you don’t have an account set up with one of these services yet, make sure to do so and be clear on how the technology works well in advance of your first client session. Another solution many freelancers and consultants use is Clarity. It’s a platform similar to Upwork and but designed specifically for coaching sessions.
  4. Plan how you will bill your client for the service. My recommendation is to bill 100% of it upfront to ensure payment is received. I use Freshbooks and Stripe to create invoices and process payments.
  5. Next, develop a follow-up email, PDF or video. After the session, it’s a good idea to send supplementary material that the customer can reference. Some people I know offer a video recording as part of the package, complete with a snazzy logo intro. However, I keep mine simple. I send an email which itemizes the things we discussed in our session, and provides links to additional resources.

When to Use a Save the Sale Service?

Keep in mind that this service is not something to offer every new prospect. The Save the Sale service is used only once you’ve determined that a client’s budget cannot accommodate your typical project rates. When you reach that point, you can recommend your Save the Sale service as another solution. This usually happens in a 30-minute consultation or during the client pre-qualification process.

Unfortunately, serious freelancers must accept the reality that not every incoming lead will be a good fit for your existing services and rates. But with a Save the Sale service you can provide value to your customers and generate more revenue for your freelance business.

Written by: Calin Yablonski
Calin is a freelancer, local search marketer and founder
of the Freelance Business Guide.