by Rachel Smith
13 February 2019
She’s obviously doing something (or several somethings) right – and without knowing her and her business, it’s hard to say what those strategies might be. But I will say that prospecting doesn’t have to be about getting out and pressing the flesh, although that can help if you attend the right events and meet the right people. Here are a few other ideas for closing the deal on new clients and new projects.
Ask existing clients for testimonials
This is hard for many creatives, so we’re not surprised it’s a regular question popping up on AUW. We’ve written about it here and include a script from our ebook here, on how to ask. Glowing testimonials on your website, socials or Google listing build trust and provide social ‘proof’ of your skills and experience, and may just be the tipping point for a new client to contact you. Another way is to create a Google business listing, link it to your website, then direct clients there to give you a Google review.
As part of your friendly follow-up (1-2 weeks after a project has ended) seeing if a client has any more work to outsource, you can also say (on the phone or via email), ‘If there’s someone else at your organisation who might have a need for my services, I’d love it if you introduced me’. You never know where it might lead!
Darren Baguley breaks down headline tricks here and we also love this post on The Freelancer’s Year about how to effectively use LinkedIn to find work. In short, you need a photo (a nice, professional one), and the right keywords in your headline (like ‘freelance’ and ‘content writer’ and ‘copywriter’ or ‘journalist’). Your elevator pitch in your summary should be short, succinct and heavy on bullet points. If you’re happy to be found by recruiters you should flick the dial to ‘open’ on your profile and fill in the form to list the types of jobs you want.
Don’t be shy about researching companies on LinkedIn that you’d like to freelance for, and sending them a message via the platform – especially if you see they’re currently hiring / in a state of flux. They may need some freelance help to get them over the line.
Jac Taylor, who featured in our recent Freelancer Q&A, believes that FB groups are gold for digging up new leads and we totally agree. You can join Find A Finders Fee, Young Australian Writers (if you’re under 40), Freeline on FB, Binders full of Writing Jobs (women) and Freelance Jungle has a private jobs group for its Patreon followers.
This post is all about finding work on social media in general, but there’s more info about how to set up Twitter effectively so you capture pitch call-outs from editors.
Of course, this is important with editors and clients. But it’s also a great idea with other freelancers who also may occasionally have an overflow of work. Creating those relationships can be done at conferences, freelancer events, engaging on social media and of course, by sharing people’s work on your socials, congratulating them for milestones or announcements or commenting on their posts. It builds goodwill, hopefully encourages people to share your stuff back, and may turn to work or collaborations.
Lister Jude Love provides some tips on optimising here, but it’s about more than this – image tags and the right metadata for each page is also important. We have a post coming soon with more tips on how freelancers can optimise their website, rank higher in Google (and get more work!), so watch this space.
Email every single person you know – not a group blast-out, but a personal email. Let each contact know you’ve moved, the type of projects you’re interested in working on or types of clients you’re interested in working with. You never know what kind of ideas or offers of work you may get back. Your current network will also know other people they can recommend you to.
What are your tips for getting new client leads?