4 Freelancing Strategies to Win Better Clients
September 12, 2015
September 12, 2015
Freelancing has turned out to be a vast landscape with a huge income potential. It is one evolving platform to live your entrepreneurial dream with little or no monetary investment. But unless you have years of experience as a professional or a long list of loyal clients, sailing through the drought of work could be difficult.
So what should you be doing to win better clients and give your drowning ship a rudder to sail through safely in turbulent waters?
A well-designed freelance strategy can come to your rescue and become a light in darkness to guide you through the work famine you are experiencing in the world of freelancing.
Focus on the popular saying in the business world that it’s easier to sell to existing businesses than find new ones. Of course, this does not mean you do not need to plan how to gain new customers. But it is important to ensure that you are paying greater attention to your present customers. Remember, it costs more to gain a new customer than to retain an existing one, so always think long term!
Unless you get a steady stream of long-term customers, keep exploring all options.
The bottom line is that a steady stream of freelance gigs is all that is needed to stay afloat in this vast ocean of freelancing!
If you think that simply being good at what you do is enough to attract clients, you may be up for a surprise and end up with no clients. Your freelance strategy should be designed to get attention.
So how should you go about it?
1 – Get Into the Head of Prospective Clients
Yes, the phrase may seem odd, but it has no comparison in terms of getting eyeballs. So what should you be doing to get into the head of your target market?
The first baby step is to register with reputable on-demand freelance bidding sites, such as Peer Hustle, which offer you a platform to connect with potential clients and market your skills. Of course, you don’t want to be a victim of online scams. Trust leading names in the business and start spreading the word about yourself.
Start with offering solutions to problems of potential clients, instead of boasting about your skills.
Use the briefcase technique to impress a potential client. When you’re pitching a client, do not forget to prepare notes as to how you plan to make their business better. Most clients are impressed with freelancers who have done their homework.
Further, it may help to look for successful freelancers and reach out to their clients to find answers to a few questions that could help you know what you are doing wrong:
- What drew them toward that particular independent contractor?
- What problems were they facing before hiring a freelancer and what results were they expecting?
- What skills they were expecting in a freelancing professional?
- Has the freelancer helped solve their problem?
Do not expect response to all the messages you send to these clients, though a few would not hesitate to reply you back with answers, as this gives them an opportunity to show their expertise in the niche. Your best chance to get a response is by uttering a few words of praise and being brief yet specific about what you want from them.
When you finally get a few responses, analyze them closely to find the common points raised by all. This will also give you an idea as to what exactly your market hears of offerings in your niche and how you can grab attention with laser-like precision. This will help you to target your market more accurately.
What’s more, you can use the critical information shared by clients to describe your skills to prospective clients. Besides, you may find the most important thing a potential client may be expecting from you. Certainly, this will help you redesign your profile and pitch your skills in an interesting way that can attract prospective clients.
When a potential customer sees you as someone with the skills they have been looking for, chances are that you will land in a project. Deliver value from the first interaction and create a positive perception about yourself. This will be your master stroke to win long-term business from them.
2 – Say yes to short-term projects
Of course, not getting too many opportunities for long-term work can be frustrating. But this does not mean you should lose hope and waste time in remorse. Rather, use this time to leverage your skills and attract short-term gigs. Some short-term projects do translate into long-term business opportunities.
My freelancing experience has shown that a few of my long-term alliances began as small projects. True, a small gig is least attractive, but it has the potential to turn big. I have been working with some clients that started small with me, but have become my permanent business alliances for over four years.
So worry not, and put on your freelancing hat and start with freelancing engagements that come your way. You never know which clients would turn into your long-term business partners.
After all, it’s better to have some work in hand than to idle away your time, waiting for long-term projects.
Remember, some clients like to start small. Of course, they don’t want to take the risk of doing business with a freelancer without testing their skills. So take this opportunity as a test and illustrate your value, showing clients how you fit in their long-term plan best and why they should choose you over others.
My advice – Grab the opportunity and get going!
3 – Meet them regularly
Most freelancers prefer to stay behind the curtains and not interact much with customers. Such a freelance strategy does them no good. Avoiding client contact gradually translates into a lost long-term work opportunity with the client.
Unless you meet your customers regularly, you cannot truly know and understand their problems. If you do not know their problems, how can you consistently offer them solutions?
Remember, everyone is out there to enhance their business and make money. Solving client problems that could be hampering their business prospects would make you indispensable to meeting their goals.
When you interact more often and offer proven solutions, clients would be more than willing to part with their money and prefer to keep you with them for long.
Weekly meetings are beneficial for both sides. Each meeting with customers is a golden opportunity to highlight your USP and renew relationship, which is critically important to the viability of your career in the freelance industry.
Do not forget – a happy customer has the potential to translate into more business in the form of referral.
So keep your customers happy and they would not hesitate to retain your services and spread the word about you.
4 – Position yourself as a strategic consultant
A number of clients are skeptical of hiring services of freelancers. After all, they do not want to hand over the responsibility of managing a crucial aspect of their business to an unreliable contractor. If they have had a bad experience, they are bound to be distrustful.
But more often than not, these clients are looking for reliable, long-term alliances that would take the burden off their shoulders.
Who would want to rely on an unreliable contractor?
So what should be your freelance strategy to deal with such clients?
When you see a potential client overpowered with clouds of mistrust and distrust, it is important to sell yourself smartly. Start with positioning yourself as a strategic consultant and improving your value proposition in the eyes of prospective clients.
Show them that you are unlike other freelancers that are expendable. Tell them what makes you different.
It will certainly help to put their needs before your own. Make it a point to make new recommendations regularly. This will ensure that customers gain value from your approach. When customers are happy, they will keep you busy and prefer long-term engagements.
Doing so will help create a more magnetic business for you. Remember, long-term clients are looking for contractors that can provide them with consistent quality work. As a result, such clients want freelancers that can fuel their marketing efforts and are thus not hesitant to pay more to make that happen.
All in all, good freelancers are always in demand. If you have got the skills, passion, and commitment to live your dream career, then do not hesitate to make the aforementioned freelance strategies a part of your greater freelance plan. These proven tips and tricks will help you pick up more business and land in more jobs and long-term engagements with clients.
Remember, the key to winning pitches lies with showing potential clients that you care about their business and have solutions and ideas to make it better. Who will not want to work with you if you can prove your acumen?