Winning clients when you’re a freelancer is pretty much what’s going to make your business a success. After all, they will pay the bills – as well as (hopefully) recommending you to others who will ideally become future clients.
And so the cycle goes on.
But what if you’re just starting out – or if you’re going through a lean patch and can’t find any new clients?
We’ve all been there, but the difference between successful freelancers and those who struggle, is that the former continue to find new clients, and grow their business while the latter never really hit the ground running and constantly feel as though they’re on a hamster wheel of finding clients, delivering work, finding clients, delivering work…
You get the picture.
So, if you’re stuck in a rut, what can you do to find more new clients?
1. Do you know who your Ideal Client is?
If you don’t, or if you haven’t thought about it for a while, it might be an ideal to complete your ideal client profile. That way, you will know who you need to be targeting in the first place to win some new business.
Even if you have already done this exercise, it’s worthwhile reviewing your Ideal Client profile every so often to make sure that, as your business evolves, so too does your target market and your strategies for reaching them.
2. Go for Low Hanging Fruit
If you’re going through a dry patch in terms of business, it might be worth considering potential clients who are easy for you to reach.
This will include people within your existing networks and local businesses who are easy for you to get in touch with. Low hanging fruit are, essentially, those potential clients that are easiest for you to reach. So, perhaps they might be people that you worked with when you were an employee. Or, if you’re offering a service – like social media management or web design services – low hanging fruit could be potential clients from within the networks you used to work in during your 9 to 5 job.
Figure out who your low hanging fruits are and promote yourself to them.
3. Who loves you already?
If you’ve been freelancing for a while now, don’t forget to go back to your former clients. Perhaps you have an additional service or product that offers them an upsell on what they previously bought from you? Or, if you’re a consultant, maybe it’s time for them to review?
Can you offer previous or existing clients an additional service or product that will enhance your previous work with them?
Maybe you could offer training to their staff to help them deliver their marketing, social media, fundraising… whatever your particular field of expertise is? Have a think about all of the different ways you could work with previous clients and go back to them with an offer. After all, they already know, like and trust you.
4. Consider building a mailing list.
You’ll have noticed (hopefully) that I have a little sign up box over on the right hand side of this page which gives you one of two different eguides in return for joining my mailing list.
One of the reasons for doing this is to create an audience who are interested in what Apricot Ginger is all about.
Now, I’m not suggesting that you should start to write a blog (although I will be covering the reasons why it’s a good idea in a future post) but it still might be worth putting together a mailing list. You could simply add clients to your list and then keep in touch after you’ve finished working with them with news, reviews or helpful tips that relate to your business. Think of it along the same lines as after sales care when you buy a new car.
The advantage of doing this is that you stay on their radar and they consider coming back to you for their future needs.
I’ve had former clients come back to me for hands-on work, additional consultancy and training – all as a result of staying in touch with them in the first place.
One former client called me to say they’d just received my email newsletter and it made them realise I could help them with a project they had coming up.Out of sight is out of mind. Stay in plain sight & get future work from former clients Click To Tweet
5. Be Irresistible
I’m not suggesting getting your hair done, waxing your legs and going to the gym 6 days a week (although I’m not going to stop you from doing that either).
No, what I mean is, figure out what your clients and potential clients really want and make yourself the ‘go to’ person.
How do you do that?
Every time you work with a client ask them to complete a short client satisfaction survey that can help you to gather information on why they chose to work with you, what worked, what they’d do differently in future.
Or, if you’re just starting out and you’ve not had any clients yet, approach businesses that you know work with freelancers and ask them why they do that and what they’re looking for.
Then make sure that you are that freelancer who will meet their needs.
6. Go the Extra Mile
Offer something that no other freelancer in your niche offers.
Like an initial free 30 minute Skype consult.
Or a free commissioning meeting as part of your consultancy services.
Or 3 months email support after they’ve worked with you.
The trick here is to offer something that is of value to the client but won’t cost you too much to deliver in terms of time or money.
Have a brainstorm about what that might be and put it in to action.