One of the most frustrating things about freelancing is finding steady and reliable work. Sure, you can go through a bidding site, spending hours each day applying for jobs in hopes that someone will pick your proposal over literally dozens of others. Or, you can take a new approach and try reaching out to clients on your own. While it may sound intimidating, it’s often the best way for you to grow your business.
Research the Potential Client
Before you make contact, do a bit of homework about the business or professional that you are trying to land a job with. Research the basics of course, like who you’re going to be contacting, and if you can find any sort of personal connection with them. But then you also want to see what you can learn about the business strategy.
- What are their goals?
- Increasing sales of a product?
- Promoting their housecleaning service?
It’s important to know your client’s goals when crafting your proposal, as your aim will be to convince them that you can help them reach their goals.
Reach Out Personally
If you’ve got a network connection, use it. Always be sure that connection knows that the client might say something to them about you. Begin your email by addressing the contact by name, and why you’re reaching out. It will indicate that you know who they are, which will make them slightly less likely to send your email to the spam folder.
I was talking about your new start-up with Tim Smith the other day. It sounds like you have a great strategy. I think that I can probably help you get your marketing campaign off the ground and boost your sales.”
If you don’t have a network connection, you can still indicate a level of interest by discussing what you do know about the business.
I saw an article in the Weekly the other day about the ground-breaking work you’re doing with revitalizing the downtown area. I’m really excited to see how your project is developing. I happen to work in marketing and was wondering if you had any need for my services.”
An approach like this should help you get past their automatic spam filter, and make them more receptive to learning about you.
Tell Them What You Have to Offer
Letting them know that you’re genuinely interested in what they’re doing will help to engage their interest in you. Now you can tell them more specifically what you do, and how you can help them. Either list your skills, or better yet, give an example of how you’ve helped others.
“I helped design the social media marketing campaign for X Company last year, and their sales increased by 26% in just 3 months.”
“I created a soft-opening game plan for Y Restaurant, and by the time they had their official opening, they were booked solid for 6 weeks straight!”
Showing them positive outcomes and results for other clients is the best way to convince them that they should hire you.
Offer to Review Their Needs
One of the best strategies for landing potential clients is to get them to let you evaluate their current state and come back with a tiered plan for services. If they’re local, set up a meeting to meet face to face and discuss their needs. If it’s an internet client, ask them if you can review what they already have in place. This requires no commitment of funds on their part, so they’re more likely to engage with you and agree with the review. Request an answer before sending your email.
“I’d love to take a look at your current plan and see if I can identify any room for improvement. Are you free to meet sometime next week? Let me know when you’re available and I’ll clear my schedule.”
Chances are you have nothing on your schedule that can’t be rearranged. The flexibility of freelancing has its perks.
After reviewing their needs, determine what you can do for them, and how much it would be worth to you. Then offer them several options, beginning with a low fee and no commitment.
“After reviewing your social media sites, I believe that I could probably do a once over to help enhance your presence for a small fee of $XX, or we could design a mid-size campaign for $XXX a month. I would provide X, Y, and Z services for that fee. If you wanted to go with a full-scale project, I could run some numbers and get back to you.”
By the time you’ve gotten to the “run the numbers” part, the small fee you offered initially looks like a bargain. If they bite, you have yourself a new client. It may not seem like much, but if you do an excellent job and they begin to see results, they’ll probably reach out to you for further work.
Remember that the more time you spend tailoring your proposal to the client, rather than just sending out a generic form letter, the more likely you are to land the contract. Carefully crafting 5 emails to potential clients will get better results than sending out 50 form letters. As with anything you’ll get back what you put in.
About the author:
Sienna Walker is an avid traveler, a self-improvement fanatic and a business and careers blogger. With her unquenchable love for writing, Sienna is currently working as a part of the team behind DirectorStats, often sharing her business tips online. Follow her on @SiennaWalkerS.