5 surefire ways to get better clients

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There is this “right of passage” that most freelancers go through when they start out to take to get clients.

Freelancers are given the suggestion to attend local events called Chamber of Commerce.

Or they are told that BNI meetings are where to you can make the connections to get clients.

Starting out as a business owner, these are the sorts of things that you are told you have to go through to network, make yourself known, and hope to get some work from.

Sidenote: When you're done here, learn from 150+ freelancers who've been in your shoes with our all-new 30-day bootcamp: Zero to Freelancing. You'll love it.

Even though most folks that go to these things are pushers. They push who they are, what they do to anyone and everyone who will listen.

Well I’m here to tell you that “hope” is not a plan.

“So what’s the plan then, Jason?”

Referrals!

This is how you get work right? Word of Mouth!

You'll also enjoy this episode of our new podcast...

When I speak with freelancers, they often tell me that 60%, 80%, maybe even close to 100% of their clients are by referral or word of mouth.

So if this is the case, why are you looking elsewhere to find clients?

Time is short. You need to be a bit more smart about getting clients and put the time into what is already working.

Obviously the word of mouth thing is working for you.

The plan is to leverage referrals.

I’d be willing to bet you currently don’t have anything in place to predict incoming referrals or predict that those leads coming into your business are high quality and educated leads.

By educated leads, I mean those leads know what is it that you do, who you serve best, and your solution to solve their problems.

To leverage those referrals and get educated leads you need a proven system.

This system has helped me build my freelance business for the past decade and allowed me to continue to get leads and clients while I’ve been heads down in client work.

My revenue has increased while billable hours have decreased.

This isn’t to brag, but I’m able to live in NYC with my wife and newborn son and be at home taking care of him every single day because of this system.

The first tactic is to send an email.

1. Warm outreach, not to leads

Warm outreach is a term that most throw around in regards to converting leads into clients. Although this is correct, I look at it a little differently.

For me warm outreach means contacting colleagues and others in my network who know who I am and what I do.

The simple reason for this is that they already know you. So there is less education in regards to who you are, why you are good, and what problems you solve.

Do this by simply sending a quick email letting them know that you have some bandwidth and tell them specifically what kind of projects/clients you are looking for.

You may hear crickets at first, but that’s simply because they could be busy or don’t have any to send your way.

Don’t be discouraged though.

Allowing your friends and colleagues to know the types of projects you do and who you work with specifically puts you front of mind for those kinds of projects when they can’t take them on.

One word of warning though, don’t be that friend that continues to ask and ask and ask. You may only want to hit up the same person once or twice a year.

2. Quarterly temperature calls

Next is setting up Quarterly Temp Calls with your current clients.

These are calls that you schedule with clients once every 90 days. If you don’t have any clients right now, then reach out to recent past clients and schedule a call.

This is a short, non-technical call, about 10-15 minutes. By non-technical, I mean not related to any project or tasks you are working on.

Ask them at least 3 questions.

The first one is “How’s business? Are there any struggles you are wrestling with right now?”

This first question opens them up. See, the purpose of this call is for them to tell you things that they may not be willing to if you just asked.

But every business owner likes talking about their business and things they are working on.

So there’s psychology at play here because you are leading them into telling you things that they really don’t want to share.

The next question to ask is “What made them choose you?”

There’s so many options out there. You want to find that tipping point that they chose you over someone else.

Plus, it’s why they like working with you as well.

That’s the aspect of your business that you should be marketing. It’s your competitive advantage.

Lastly, “Is there anything I can do better?”

This question allows them to get something off their chest.

It is where you find out from them what it is that they expect from you. If what they expect isn’t what you can do, then here’s the opportunity to clear the air.

If it’s something that you can do, then try and figure out a way to work it in.

3. Send an email offering a low-cost/free service

The third surefire way to get better clients is to send an email once again.

This seems like a no-brainer, but most freelancers will not do this.

Send out an email to all prospects, leads, and past clients offering them a free or low-cost service once or twice a year.

The thing is most folks won’t take you up on it. If they haven’t bought from you yet, then chances are good that they aren’t ready to buy from you now

However those that are, don’t want the free thing, they want the real thing.

I do this mostly around Halloween, because I serve ecommerce business. I usually offer them a $197 site checkup so that their site is running on all cylinders for the holiday season.

Just this past year, I had not one person take me up on that offer. What happened was someone wanted my recurring services instead.

This client has been with me ever since. Instead of a one-time, low-cost project, this is now a recurring client that’s paying me close to 10X that low-cost project per month.

4. Search for the questions you have answers to

The fourth surefire way to get better clients is to search social media and the internet for questions that you have answers to.

Sounds simple, but most will never do it.

Start by making a list of questions that you get asked by your clients that you have answered. Then see if there are any patterns or recurring questions that you are being asked.

You can do this by just checking out some past emails that you’ve had with clients.

Then take keywords out of these questions and throw them into the Twitter, Facebook and Google search boxes.

Next, jump into the conversations because these are folks that you have the answers for.

These are folks just like your best clients. Asking the same questions that your clients are asking.

If you are able to answer their question they are more likely to then followup and check out who you are and what you do. They start to look at you like the expert you are.

5. Webinars and meetups

The final solution to get the best clients is to hold local meetups or webinars where clients, leads, and prospects can come and learn more about a specific topic.

What this does is position you as an expert for folks and provide value in a way that is free for them.

This best part is that you are educating them on the services that you provide without selling them.

By the end of webinar or meetup, you are making some personal connections with folks that you’ve essentially pitched your services to. Those that have projects for you become your best clients because they have just learned what it takes to get the job done.

Automate all the things

Each and every one of these can be automated in some way.

Being sustainable means that you have processes and systems in place. If something is working for you, then optimize that process. Don’t chase something else that someone is saying will work better for you.

If you have the majority of your clients as referrals, then optimize that process so that you can make them more predictable and profitable.

I would encourage you to share what you’ve done in the comments. A rising tide raises all boats! (Basically means, I’m a believer in everyone learning together to better all our businesses).

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About Jason Resnick

Jason has been a freelance web developer for over a decade and helps established e-commerce businesses, built on WooCommerce and WordPress. He also helps freelancers achieve their lifestyle goals by helping them build a sustainable business and stay in the feast. If you are looking for better clients, start with this 5-part email course.

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  1. Great Ideas shared Here! Thanks!