Despite having the motivation and knowledge in your field, there’s one task that will decide whether you get held back or thrive, “How do I find new clients”.
Finding new clients isn’t the easiest of tasks and it can take a lot of time away from actually doing the work, but if you follow the points below, you’ll be headed in the right direction.
How flexible should I be when looking for work?
The workforce is now “On-Demand.” Due to the rise of digital talent platforms, and how they are creating a new marketplace for high-skill freelancers, it’s a great time to get involved. Diversify and try your hand at a new niche in your chosen field.
Being able to adapt to unexpected demands in the workplace is the new normal, for both freelancers and businesses. Sudden surges in work, urgent problems, and unpredictable events will keep happening until the pandemic we are living through, is completely under control.
Should you be noticing a big slump in work, one option could be to find a job on the side to keep you going until the market picks up again. This doesn’t have to be in the same industry as you are in. Think of this as an opportunity to try something new. Many people couple Teaching Online with Design for instance. There are many side jobs that you could temporarily do.
Should I be prepared when looking for clients?
Have an online portfolio/CV ready to send. Be active on social media and set yourself up on multiple freelancing platforms such as Upwork, People Per Hour and Fiver. You never know who’s searching for you online, or who will randomly invite you into a project. Opening different doors will allow for different possibilities of potential clients finding you.
Another part of being prepared is knowing what the competition is up to. This includes everything from the pricing of services to how clients have discovered and approached them. Also research on how you can differentiate yourself.
Steps to take when meeting potential clients
- Research the company and every attendee. Remember names.
- Set a goals and objectives for the Meeting.
- Plan the Agenda to support your objectives.
- Be on time, if not earlier.
- Have a backup, incase everything goes wrong.
- Plan follow up communications, show gratitude.
- Setup the next steps.
Small is the new big when freelancing
The big agencies that offer everything have the spending power and resources but this doesn’t necessarily mean they are better for clients. Sometimes the smaller companies and freelancers can do just as good a job or even better.
If you specialise in a certain niche and are fully focused and committed to offering a more personalised service than the agencies, clients may prefer to take you on than the bigger agencies.
Don’t be afraid to let people know about your small size, and make it clear that you’re more adaptable and more on-demand than the competition; in the current environment, this is a massive advantage. Tell the client what they want to hear and add personality to everything you do. Small is the new big. Just remember to also sell your skills and experience as well.
Be passionate and confident when speaking to clients
Not being afraid to speak up and objectively challenge will show that you are experienced at what you do. But be careful not to upset anyone or be rude.
Some clients, especially business owners can get very emotional and defensive about their organisation. Never be subjective about a clients business.
Show passion and eagerness at every stage of the job. Clients LOVE it when you can bring passion and energy to what they have spent a long time developing.
Do I need to cold call and email clients?
Cold calling and emailing can feel demotivating. But if you don’t have any clients, you can’t work. The most important piece of advice to remember when cold calling/emailing is that you’re reaching your target audience.
Put together a list of the clients that you want to work with, cater your portfolio/CV to them and start contacting. Do your due diligence ahead of time and make sure that your pitch explains what you could do for them. And, make sure that you’re talking to the right person. Linkedin is made for networking, utilising the platform and don’t be shy.
Google maps is also an excellent way to find potential clients. Working with local companies is one of the best routes to take. Maybe you could find a local company that needs a new website designed.
Shall I spend more time updating my brand?
Being current is probably the best way to land new clients. It’s a good idea to have completed profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
Keep your software skills sharp and check out the many webinars on platforms such as Eventbrite. These help you keep up to date, with what’s happening in the industry.
Face-to-face meetings are still a preferred method in establishing a relationship with a prospective client. Remember, it’s the relationships formed with people that gets you to work.
Branding is super important for businesses of all sizes, so never disregard the importance. It’s not just visual.
Is considering to team up with other freelancers a good idea?
Contacting other freelancers and partnering up may help land bigger jobs and create a better outcome for the project than doing so alone.
Also explore teaming up with different people in different fields such as designers, copyrighters, marketeers etc. Everyone brings something different to the table.
Is it time to catch up with existing contacts?
There’s nothing better than getting that word-of-mouth referral. Friends, family, and former colleagues can help you land that next client. You can even sweeten things up by offering a one time discount.
Don’t wait around for clients
If you’ve got the client interested in what you can provide them, it’s time to close the deal. Provide them with what they need to hear so you can start working for them ASAP. Clients often want speedy solutions. Being responsive is very attractive to clients.
Aim for a face-to-face meeting, either in person or virtual. I am a strong believer in how this way of communicating creates a long term relationship than just messaging. the client will see there’s a real and transparent person behind your brand.
face-to-face, In-person or virtual meetings make it harder for the client to not use you.
Use “we” more than “I” when talking to clients
Working in a business is rarely a solo thing. When talking about or working with a client, say “we”. This will show the client that you respect their knowledge, and that you care about their business and want it to succeed.
Should I offer new clients a cheaper rate?
If the client is hesitant to hire you, you could give them a discount for the first job, just make sure they know it’s only for the first job as you don’t want to be undervaluing yourself for one client while getting what you deserve for others. If the client is not happy about the service you provide, they don’t have to use you in the future. No hard feelings.
I am going to leave every project on good terms!
There is so much negativity floating around in the world, It can be challenging to not absorb it all up. This doesn’t mean that you have to take everything you get given. It also doesn’t mean that you can’t fire a client when things aren’t working out.
When things come to an end, keep up the strong and positive impression by delivering top quality work in a punctual manner. Be professional at all times because your brand can be destroyed a lot easier than it can be built.
Be thankful for the work that gets given. And, stay in touch with everyone. They may refer you to a colleague. You may need connections later on, for one reason or another. Don’t burn bridges.
Know Your Value
We are all unique and this makes us valuable. it’s important to know your self-worth and where your skills stand in comparison to the marketplace. Not only does it allow you to develop confidence when dealing with challenging clients, but it can also give you an idea of how much to charge for your services.
Many companies and agencies are struggling as well, and because of this, budgets may have been cut. It’s also worth noting that if you are working at a very reduced rate, the client may not respect everything that you are doing as much as he or she should. You have to use your own judgement on these matters. But be mindful.
Keep an eye on salary guides. Recruiters can also help with this.
Hopefully, these tips help you find new clients during Covid. Some general advice on freelancing can be found here. Should you have any other suggestions that you would like to share, it would be great to hear from you. Stay safe!