When you tell someone that you are a writer or a graphic designer or any other type of freelancer, are you met with questions and interest? You may get excited talking about what you do and this person may even claim that they need someone like you to fulfill certain jobs.
Unfortunately, somehow you never manage to close the deal and those potential clients go with someone else who’s work isn’t as good as yours. You’re left thinking, “where did I go wrong?”.
There are a number of problems that could have caused that potential client to use someone else, but chances are, you approached the situation incorrectly and never closed the deal. We’re going to tell you what you need to know about how to turn a network acquaintance into a paying customer. To learn how to ensure new contacts become customers, keep reading.
Make Yourself Invaluable
One of the first mistakes you might make as a freelancer of any type is by giving too much insight into your industry. You can help people out and give them pointers but don’t give them so many that your services aren’t needed.
Additionally, it is wise to research what other workers in your industry are charging over varying experience levels. Most freelancers will charge based on their experience level as well as the size of the project.
The important idea here is to not price yourself out of the market but don’t aim to be the cheapest source of labor.
If you’re new to any type of freelancing, you may have to take a few lower-paying clients in order to build your portfolio. Once you’ve built a rapport with your clients, you can adjust their prices accordingly and begin asking for higher prices with new clients.
Sometimes, it will feel that a client is asking you to go above and beyond for the agreed-upon rate. Ideally, you will be able to advocate for yourself, or if need be, ‘fire’ them.
Other clients make it difficult to obtain payment for your work, asking for continuous edits, reformatting, or other ‘extras.’ You should let them know that this is doable but you will have to charge if it is excessive.
Presenting a Professional Image Online
No matter your niche or the type of freelance work you do, it is advisable to have a website where people can discover you and browse your work.
Social media platforms work well for this, however, many potential clients will want to see samples of your writing, photography, or graphic design skills.
By being a freelancer, you automatically are a marketer – you have to market yourself and your services.
If you create a website that follows marketing psychology, you will find yourself with new leads who are contacting you for business instead of having to do all of the footwork yourself.
When you complete work that you’re extremely proud of, ask your client if you can feature it on your website. They may say no or ask that you remove identifying wording.
You should ask for written consent and keep it on file for as long as the work remains part of your public portfolio.
After someone contacts you, whether from your website, on social media, or via phone, you will need to create a written proposal in order to define the scope of the job, pay rate, and any other details.
Simply typing out each of these items will work, but to keep in line with your professional image, consider using a proposal template.
Using a proposal template will help you to itemize all costs, be transparent, and offer your clients a view of what they are actually paying for. You can also include requests for down payments, your payment structure, and any credit card processing fees.
Generally, by presenting a professional-looking proposal, you will see an increase in your conversion rates by instilling a level of trust in your potential clients.
It also shows them that you are invested in your trade and are willing to go the extra mile by spending time before they spend a single dollar.
Communicating With Potential Clients
Aside from having a professional website, you need to make sure that your email reflects who you are and what you do. It might be your first.last name(@)gmail.com but the email address you used in middle school probably isn’t appropriate.
If you choose to communicate with your new potential clients over the phone, try to avoid giving them your personal cell phone number.
This opens the door for late-night phone calls and texts that you’d much rather handle during your normal working hours.
Instead of refusing to talk on the phone, consider a VoIP phone number routed to your cell phone. Doing this will give your clients a professional impression while still allowing you to set boundaries regarding working hours.
While VoIP lines do offer plenty of benefits, be sure to check out a VoIP phone service buyer’s guide to ensure you receive the features you need while skipping the ones you don’t.
One of the biggest benefits of having a VoIP line is the fact that you can work from anywhere in the world that has an internet connection.
From the Approach to the Close
As you begin to make new contacts and find potential leads, you will want to show that your work is valuable in that it is different and better than your competition’s.
At first, you may need to keep your prices a bit lower but as your experience grows, you can increase your price to reflect your ability.
When attempting to close the deal, don’t make the mistake of assuming they’ll follow up. This is your job. You must set the appointment time, make the call, or send the email. You will be showing initiative and ambition by doing so.
It may take several attempts for you to figure out the system that works best for you and whatever service you offer – and often it will vary from client to client.
However, rest assured that by following the above tips, you will see higher conversion rates from leads to paying customers!