Winning clients is a huge part of an entrepreneur, freelancer or business owner's life. And rightly so – clients provide current and future work, new challenges and even friendships.
Winning new business in a crowded, increasingly online marketplace is difficult. However, there are some great hacks to make the process smoother (and hopefully recurring).
1. Be discoverable
You might be the greatest consultant in your field, but if you clients can't find you online, what's the point? Use the wealth of tools at your fingertips to promote your services. Set up a website and portfolio, and get active on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. You'll be amazed at the places you'll find leads. A solid online presence also bolsters your credibility.
2. Use your network
Ask your friends and family if they know someone who might need your services. Approach your current and previous clients and ask the same thing. If you've done a great job they will have no qualms about introducing you to someone they know.
3. Follow up with lost clients
Perhaps you were in talks with a client who decided that they didn't need the work after all. Send them a personal follow up email, asking if they're still doing well and if there are any knowledge gaps you can fill. As long as you're polite and leave a reasonable gap between communication, there's no harm in asking,
4. Master the cold pitch
A well-written, personal and researched pitch is a super effective way of engaging with new clients. Use LinkedIn or Google to find potential clients. Try to find their personal email address to send the pitch to.
Start by explaining what you like and know about the potential client/their company. Explain what you offer and how it can make a real difference to the success of their business. Finish with a brief proposal of your service and the offer to discuss it over Skype.
Don't be afraid to test different pitch emails and follow up.
5. Ask questions
When talking to a potential client, ask genuine questions. (If you have to fake interest in their business you probably shouldn't be working with them anyway.)
Ask about their goals, what they struggle with and what they've tried before. Be enthusiastic and offer solutions. Try to steer clear of fluffy jargon (we're looking at you 'drive brand awareness') and offer some tangible steps.