It’s happened to me in my freelancing business, and it’s probably also happened to you. It’s really frustrating, I know.
It doesn’t have to be that way, though. You can be become better at closing deals with some practice. In this post, I’ll list a few techniques that you can use to close client deals and get more clients.
How to Close a New Client Deal
Here are five important techniques that most freelancers skip or ignore when dealing with a prospective client. Following these suggestions for closing a new client deal can help you learn to close more deals (and avoid frustration):
- Pay attention and ask for details. You’d be surprised at how many freelancers don’t take the time to read a request for a proposal carefully. Instead, they just shoot off a price and expect the prospective client to hire them immediately. You’ll really stand out if you read the client’s information carefully and think carefully about what they are asking and how it fits within their business goals. If there is something in their request that you are unsure about, ask them for details–it will actually increase your chances of winning the job.
- Do your homework. Do a little bit of research about the client and their industry. Have you ever worked for a client in this industry before? If so, you can point to that piece in your portfolio to show that client that you are familiar with his or her field. Also, using your prior experience and/or your research, can you think additional or better ways to help the client meet his or her goal? If so, be sure to bring these points up in your discussions with the client.
- Ask for the business. This sounds simple, but you’d be surprised at how few freelancers actually ask for the business outright. To ask for the business, you can say something in your correspondence like, “I’m really excited about this project and would like to handle it for you.” If you happen to meet with the client in his or her office, look them in the eye and say something to the effect of, “I’d really like to do this job.” This tells the client that you really want the work. Enthusiasm counts!
- Be positive in your communications. This is a subtle technique, but it really works. Go with the assumption that you will get the business. Instead of using phrases like “if I do this project” make sure that your correspondence talks about “when I do this project.” Also, don’t wait for the client to ask you when you can start. Give them a starting date–”just give me the word and I can start as soon as Monday…”
- Follow up with the client. So, a few days have come and gone and you haven’t heard back from the client. It’s easy to automatically assume that you didn’t get the work, but that might not be the case at all. There are many legitimate reasons why a potential client might not respond quickly. Something may have happened to put the project on the back burner. Contacting a client after a few days and letting them know that you are still available and interested in working for them might just be enough to clinch the deal.
Bonus tip: Most freelancers keep a list of clients that they have done work for in the past. Naturally, you should contact these old clients on a regular basis to see whether they have additional projects. However, you should also keep a list of potential clients who did not hire you. You should regularly contact these former prospective clients as well. (Even if the prospect didn’t select you for their project the first time, remember that they were seriously interested in working with you at one point.)
Your Mindset Makes a Difference
One reason why most people are not good at sales is because they give up too easily. They are too ready to think that they won’t get the business or too shy to really promote themselves.
You can be the best freelance writer, freelance designer, freelancer programmer, or whatever type of freelancer you happen to be–but, if you don’t learn to close the deal, your freelancing business is already in trouble.
It’s time to take on the salesperson role and go out there and get yourself some new business.
What About You?
How do you close deals? What techniques work best for you?
Share your answers in the comments.
Did you know it’s Client Week on FreelanceFolder? That’s right, in order to celebrate the upcoming launch of The Client Machine (our new client-getting product), we’re writing exclusively about getting clients all week long. Make sure you sign up to be notified about The Client Machine, and come back every day for more articles about finding clients!