One of the most difficult things I found when I started working as a freelancer, was converting potential clients (aka freelance prospects) into full blown, paying clients.
I was never great at moving from chatting about how I could help through to ‘closing’ the client.
Negotiating and selling do not come naturally to me!
First, there’re a few things you need to have in place if you want to build a strong client base. You need to have prospects reaching out to you as well.
Neil Patel from QuickSprout is someone who is very good at showing his experience and demonstrating his value through the information he shares on his site. He NEVER holds back. In fact, you could find out everything you need to know about what Neil does right from within his site…
… you could argue that as a prospective client, why would you work with him when he shares everything on his site? For this very reason—spending the time reading and learning is far more time consuming than it is to simply reach out to Neil and hire him.
This is what you want to create with your potential freelance prospects too. So don’t hold back on your site. Demonstrate that you know what you’re doing, don’t hold back, share the exact steps that a potential client could take to achieve their desired result.
For example, if you’re a freelance WordPress Theme designer, show how a client could install one of your theme’s and make tweaks to it.
If you’re a writer, demonstrate to your readers how to write an engaging blog post, and so on. You get the drift…
Things you want to avoid doing:
- Avoid using blog headings with the word 'easy' in it, unless it's aimed at teaching your peers
- Explaining all the nitty gritty details within your steps, keep it brief and on point, while demonstrating difficulty
- Making broad statements that you can't backup
Ok, now that we’ve covered a few things that your website/blog should have in place, here’s how you can go about converting a potential client into a full blown, paying client.
5 Tips for Converting Freelance Prospects into Paying Clients
1. Set a Deadline
When you’re chatting about a project with a prospect, let them know that you’ll provide ‘free’ advice for a limited amount of time. Or, if you haven’t heard from them in a set period of time, say 7 days, then send them an email along the lines of “I haven’t heard from you in 7 days. While this will be my final email about this project, please feel free to contact me again when you’re ready to move forward.”
Use what works for you and your situation. I could be a longer timeframe. The point is that you don’t want to be chasing clients, so by sending this email, you can close off the information from your calendar and if the client is ready to go, they’ll respond very quickly.
2. Ask Questions
If you had an initial flurry of communication and it’s suddenly died off, re spark the conversation by asking a question. Ask if they require more information, or ask a question that relates directly to the project, if you don’t get a response, you can follow up with the email from point 1 above.
3. Add FAQ’s on Your Website
Create a frequently asked question’s page on your website aimed at all your potential clients. Include it on your ‘Contact Us’ page and also add a link to your email signature. Highlight it in your proposals as well, so that clients can check this out for themselves before bombarding you with questions.
This won’t stop some silly questions being asked, but it will help with your customer service and generate more conversations.
4. Use Icebreakers
If your cold prospecting, incorporate icebreakers into your emails. Add personality, stand out from everyone else doing the same thing as you. This is where using multiple platforms to find clients comes in too. Be unique, don’t hide your personality, let it shine and make connections.
Here’re some icebreakers you could use in your own marketing campaigns: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_76.htm
5. Offer an Incentive
While you should never bribe a client to work with you, there is no harm in offering them something to sweeten the deal…
You could choose to offer a ‘first-time customer’ discount or similar. You could also provide something free of charge, something that is useful to your potential client and you already have on hand to ‘giveaway’.
Asking for the sale is hardly new, but it’s also something that can be hard to do, particularly if you’re new to the whole world of working for yourself.
The ask doesn’t have to feel icky, you can simply say something like, “Are you ready to get started?” Simple and pain-free.
Do you struggle with converting prospects into clients? The Hustle HQ is the resource you need when you’re ready to get serious about your online business. Inside you’ll learn how to create consistent income without adding more to your busy schedule. Check out the free workshop to learn more.
I’d love to know how you go with implementing these suggestions! Or maybe you have something to add? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!