Finding new business as a freelancer is difficult, right? As if it isn’t hard enough to keep yourself motivated. You then have to generate interest from prospective clients to buy your services. All the while knowing you have bills to pay and money to find.
I understand the weeks on end searching job boards, making speculative cold calls, and the uncertainty of where your next job will come from. It can create an overwhelming sense of anxiety and tense pressure, right?
Believe me, having worked as a freelancer in sales & marketing, I know all too well about those low moments.
It doesn’t get any easier unless you take action.
The time is now to stop relying on inbound enquires and friend referrals. I am going to provide you with a guide for winning profitable clients that will help you expand your freelance business.
The methods and techniques which I will detail in the guide have helped me achieve many clients. These include one of the world’s largest hotel chains, the fastest growing airport in the UK, and a global rail freight haulier. Get your business development cheat pack with free templates below.
OK, here we go. WARNING, if you are afraid of cold-calling, firstly, I would recommend you give up on a career as a freelancer. Secondly, this isn’t the article for you.
Step 1 – Set Our Your Criteria
Before we even get into the approach, as a freelancer you must identify the types of clients you want to go after. I don’t mean choosing an industry, even though that is very important.
What I mean is drill down into the profile of potential clients you want. Set detailed criteria of what your ideal client should have. Here are a few questions you should have answered before you even consider starting to prospect:
- In what industry do I want to offer my services?
- What turnover should my ideal client have?
- Should my ideal clients be local, national or global?
- What types of clients have I worked with before?
- Am I looking to coach and consult or just offer services?
- Do I want to work solo or with a potential client’s internal team?
So there I have identified a few important questions you need to answer, and you may even have some of your own to ask.
Step 2 – Cold-Calling For A Freelancer
Here’s the so-called scary part for a freelancer, cold-calling. You know what; it isn’t as bad as you think.
Of course on some occasions, you will experience rejection. But isn’t rejection a part of life anyway? Nobody glides through having everything their own way. This is exactly the same with cold calling.
It sounds negative, but start making calls and chasing rejection. Law of averages tells us that 1 in 22 businesses will express an interest in what you have to offer.
I guess that’s a lot of cold calls you need to make?
The first step is to make a call and verify who the decision maker is. Call your prospect and politely request the details of who you need to speak with. Once you have your prospects name, then set up activity.
At this stage, do not send any further information, set their details up in a CRM System.
Download our Business Development Cheat Pack for Freelancers for and get a bulletproof cold-calling script.
Step 3 – Don’t Become A Pest!
Here is a huge mistake many freelancers make when they get the details of a prospective new client.
They start bombarding them with too much information. This only frustrates potential clients.
Sending too much literature will set negative perceptions of your freelance business.
To get around this, make a second call to your prospect and state the following example:
Good Afternoon, my name is Simon Lewis and I am calling from Elite Psyche. I appreciate you are busy, and so I won’t take 15 seconds of your time. I was hoping to find out how best to introduce our services to ‘name the company’.
Step 4 – Follow Up
Hopefully, now you have found an appropriate way to introduce your services. But, you need to make sure on the second call you don’t get too excited that your prospect has allowed you to introduce your services.
Always set a convenient date to follow up and scope ‘if your services could be of interest’.
Step 5 – Letter
It may be considered old school but never underestimate the power of a clear, concise and informative letter. In the digital era that we live in, old-school correspondence is often forgotten, yet it can be so powerful.
As a freelancer, sometimes it can be difficult to get through to the decision maker we need to speak with. A well-written letter can have a great impact. It can also bypass the gatekeepers stopping you from speaking with a decision maker.
Supplemented with a polite and non-pushy cold-call, a clear and concise written letter can be unstoppable in generating business.
Step 6 – Direct Marketing
I have touched on it, but it is worth repeating. As a freelancer, we are lost in a world of digital communication. How can you stand out? Is a speculative sales message on a social media platform the best way to get through the door?
A well organised and creative direct marketing campaign can really resonate with your target audience. But, how do you make it stand out?
Well, ensure your direct marketing tells a story about you as a freelancer. Here is what each piece of direct marketing should show your prospect:
- Who you are!
- What you offer!
- How you can help!
- Why use you!
Step 7 – Showcase Your Wins
Hopefully, by now you have downloaded your business development cheat pack. At the very least you have followed the tips and techniques in this article. You should be noticing some client wins for your freelance business.
What is essential now is that you showcase your wins to similar prospects in the same industry. Explain to them what you have achieved for your client and how they have benefited from your services.
This isn’t boasting. This is having self-confidence in your ability and services.
Step 8 – Publications
Once you have started gaining some momentum, start subscribing to key publications in your industry.
Not only can this help you keep a close eye on your competition, it can also help you keep up to date with the latest trends. You may even get the opportunity to contribute opinion pieces which can help cement your status as a specialist.
Step 9 – Marketing Calendar
As a freelancer, you need to keep a 12-month marketing calendar. You can find a marketing calendar template in the ‘Business Development Cheat Pack for Freelancers’.
Your marketing calendar should highlight every upcoming trade show, event, and networking opportunity in the next 12 months.
A marketing calendar helps give you the edge over other freelancers in your nice.
Finally, your calendar should take into consideration PR opportunities, opinion piece opportunities and award entry submissions.
Your calendar will keep you streamlined, focused, and it will stand you in good stead for winning profitable clients. Don’t forget to grab your free marketing calendar template by subscribing below.
Step 10 – Don’t Beat Yourself Up
Here is the truth; you will not win on every win with every call, email, or letter. Of course, there will be some profitable wins along the way. But, if we all knew how to win a client on every call, the vast majority of the population would be billionaires.
My guide has provided a process which will increase the opportunity for winning new clients.
When inevitably you do get the response ‘unfortunately it’s not something we are interested in right now’.
Then adopt the best method of keeping in touch. I will guarantee you that other freelancers will not, and keeping in touch, something may come of it.