Great points and suggestions, Laura. I think the only one I could work on more is directing my blog to clients. At the moment it does one part of the job (highlighting testimonials and recent work) but I could do more to address their potential concerns and talk to them directly.
Does Your Freelance Business Have the “Wow” Factor?
You need something different–something better than what other freelancers offer. Your business needs that special something that makes a prospect pause and think to themselves, “I have to do business with this freelancer.”
We’ve talked about the importance of having a unique selling propositon (USP) before. That’s still important. But having the “Wow” factor does so much more for your freelance business.
Having the “Wow” factor can mean the difference between being considered for a project and being hired.
So what is this “Wow” factor and how can a freelancer go about getting it? The truth is that the answer is as individual as your clients are. If asked, many clients would be unable to give you an answer beyond “I know it when I see it.”
There are a few things that you can do to wow clients. While these tactics may not work for every prospective client, they will work for many. That’s what’s this post is about. It explains how you can wow prospects so that they become a client.
7 Ways to Ramp Up the Freelancing “Wow” Factor
Are you ready to really impress prospects and clients? Are you ready to take your freelancing business one step further? Try some of these ideas to really “wow” your clients.
- Testimonials that rave about your services. It’s important to have testimonials, but some testimonials don’t add to your”wow” factor at all. I’m sure you’ve seen a testimonial before that reads something like this, “I hired Joe to design my website. Joe designed the website on time and in budget.” What you want instead is a testimonial that reads something like this, “I hired Joe to design my website and he did a fantastic job. He exceeded my expectations in every way. Joe will be designing all of my websites from now on.” Do you see the difference?
- A blog that says, “I get it.” Most freelancers know that they need a blog. As a result, most freelancers have a blog. Sadly, most freelance blogs are just ho-hum. Some cover topics without any regard to who their clients are or what they need. Many freelance blogs sit neglected week after week and sometimes month after month. Instead, direct your freelancing blog to your clients. Use your posts to demonstrate how you can meet client needs. You don’t have to post daily, but don’t ignore your freelancing blog for months at a time either.
- Out-of-this-world web design on your site. How would you feel about eating a restaurant that has peeling paint on the walls and holes in the upholstery on the seats of the chairs? What if they served your meal on dishes with cracks in them? You’d probably think that the place was a bit run down and you’d be right. The restaurant might serve great food, but they’ve already made a negative impression on you. They’ll have to work twice as hard to prove that they have good food. Your freelance is the same way. Is it out of date or incomplete? If so, you’re probably making a bad impression on prospective clients.
- Snappy content on your site. Even if you’re not a professional writer, the copy you put on your freelance website is important. It needs to sell your message. It also needs to be completely error-free. Like your website, your web copy is part of that all-important first impression. If you have trouble in this area, consider hiring a professional writer to spruce your copy up. Remember, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.
- Social media leadership. Being a social media leader doesn’t mean you’re on social media 24/7 making inane comments. Regular participation is enough. Being a social media leader also doesn’t mean that you have the greatest number of followers or friends (or whatever). What it does mean is that your social media participation enhances your overall professional reputation. If you frequently get messages from people thanking you for the content you share or if your shares spark conversation, then you probably do have this wow factor.
- A quick response. Prospects are notoriously impatient. If you get an email or phone call, try to acknowledge it the same day. Even if you can’t answer all their questions, at least let them know that you received the email and are working on it. I can’t begin to tell you how many prospects (turned clients) thanked me for my prompt responses to their inquiries.
- Expectations exceeded. You don’t want to get the reputation of someone who just barely gets the job done. That’s not the way to “wow” clients. Instead, seek to exceed expectations whenever you can. If the project’s due on Friday, try to turn it in on Thursday. If the client asked for two ideas, give them four. Actively look for ways that you can improve the client’s business and make those suggestions. These little extras may seem small, but they have the potential to really “wow” clients.
What about your freelancing business? Does it have the “Wow” factor?
If it does, what do you think makes your clients say “Wow” about your business? If it doesn’t, how will you go about getting it?
Image by music2fish2 (eric lanning)
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February 17th, 2012 at 10:23 am
February 17th, 2012 at 11:13 am
Your addition is an important one. :)
Shoeb MohammadFebruary 18th, 2012 at 12:40 am
Thanks a million for sharing your valuable, yet simply described thoughts on freelancing. I, really have learned something new today. I wish I can implement these ‘Wow’ factors to my newborn freelancing career.
February 19th, 2012 at 5:28 am
Very good points Laura.
I think one of the most important thing for any business nowadays is to have that wow factor when you visit their website. For example a resturant, if you visted their website and it was a simple website with nothing to catch the eye, it doesn’t shout out that they would have great food. When if they have paid for a wow website, such as massive images of their menu etc. then it gives a good impression of the food. Obviously the two aren’t related at the end of the day, but getting people through the door in this climate is one of the most imporant aspects.
February 19th, 2012 at 11:22 am
Another great article. I have to disagree a little on giving them more than the project scope dictates. If my project says 1 concept, then it will be one, I have rarely provided additional concepts. Also doing small favors is great but I would discourage that right from the start with a new client. With time and a great business relationship one can throw in these extras at no cost for a great client.
February 20th, 2012 at 12:36 am
Great point Simon Duck–Excellent point! Making a good first impression is important.
DesignFacet, Thanks for the kind words. Obviously, it doesn’t pay to give so much away that you lose money, but exceeding expectations often pays off in the end. Do it sensibly and not in a way that will hurt your business. :)
February 20th, 2012 at 1:01 pm
Good points, and Good Tips, Overall a really good post. Thanks for sharing.
March 14th, 2012 at 10:28 pm
Great tips! Regarding exceeding expectations, I always build an extra day or two into the deadline. That way, I always deliver a day or two ‘ahead’ of the deadline and the client is ecstatic that I’ve delivered early (well, early according to the deadline I gave them!)
Kellie A-SmithMarch 15th, 2012 at 12:08 am
you’ve probably covered this topic before – but do you have any suggestions as to how obtain credentials/testimonials when one doesn’t have any clients? [gasp]
I’m currently setting up my WOW website and there is one thing missing…client testimonials!
PS fantastic tips especially on how to maximise your linkedin profile.
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