Get to know the local community – its business and political leaders especially. All of my steady and ongoing clients are local. I can meet with them, see them and discuss things across a table. They will usually pay me more for that face-to-face contact than they would spend on a better-known remote agency.
How To Stop Scrambling For Clients And Get A Steady Stream Of Paying Gigs
There’s good news, though — it doesn’t have to be that way. By taking a look at the “big picture” for your freelancing venture, you can position yourself to have more business than you can handle even in today’s tough economy. So let’s put “scrambling for clients” behind you and dive into a few strategies that put you back in control of your freelancing future.
Smart Strategies For Landing More Billable Hours
- Don’t look desperate. Every freelancer knows the stomach-knotting tension that hits when business is tight — but you don’t want to communicate that to your clients. When you seem overly anxious to lock down business, it’s easy to get taken advantage of by clients from hell who abuse your time (which could be better spent building your business). Put your game face on when you’re interacting with clients and show them you believe in yourself.
- ABC – “Always Be Closing.” Securing more business from existing customers tends to be easier than finding new ones. While you work with every client, always be on the lookout for creative ways to add additional services or expand the scope of your current services. You don’t have to be a pushy salesperson about it – just keep your eyes open for additional ways to add value, and help your clients see how giving you the extra work is a benefit to them.
- Focus on Referrals. Word-of-mouth is simply the most effective form of advertising, and if you aren’t making it a top priority, you’re practically begging for some “scramble time.” Don’t just hope for client referrals — make it something that naturally happens with each client by using key referral generation strategies that make clients want to pass your name along. When you visualize each client as a source of referrals (and not just money), you change the way you do business for the better.
- Build your brand. If you’re “just another freelancer” in the eyes of the world, why should people be knocking down your door for business? Work on building your brand instead by asking yourself the three big branding questions that help communicate to prospects why they should become lifelong customers. A solid brand is the magnet that brings clients in month after month — make sure to do it right.
- Command the spotlight. The world is always waiting to discover the next big name – and that name could be yours. Do things that get people talking about you and you’ll be amazed at how more business starts coming to you. Guest post, get interviewed or try some of these 35 ways to get noticed and experience how a little bit of spotlight can take a whole lot of work out of drumming up new business.
What Are Your Top Tips For Pulling In New Business?
These five tips alone could change the way you finish up the year – but you can help take it a step further. Post a comment with your favorite strategy for bringing in new business (and browse the current comments for a few gems that can help your business grow as well). The economy may be trending downwards, but this can still shape up to be your best year ever. See you in the comments.
Image by Shereen M
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October 14th, 2008 at 3:24 pm
October 14th, 2008 at 7:30 pm
I find that being multi-talented and reliable is a HUGE boon for my clients. Seldom to I take on a new client without hearing about their last 5-10 designers that were just terrible. Most of their complaints tend to revolve around reliability, and generally either not being able to get into contact with their designer, or waiting forever for a project to get done.
Simply being as good as you can be and making your client’s priorities your priority works wonders (and it’s cheap!).
October 15th, 2008 at 9:12 am
I agree with both of the comments above and this article is a terrific reminder to keep doing what I’m doing. Always let existing clients know you are taking new clients. If you’ve delivered great service, they will not just want to help you but their colleagues as well. And, of course, online social networking continues to be important…
October 15th, 2008 at 12:27 pm
We’ve found that by keeping in contact with old clients and sending them an email occasionally outside the realms of your business relationship reminds them that you’re there and we’ve had it happen several times where they get us in contact with someone else who may benefit from our services that they may not have remembered about before.
Post on other people’s blogs and email other professionals who are in the same industry, but maybe specialize in something else. We’ve gotten good press and friends just from sending out a quick email to someone’s work we were a fan of!
October 15th, 2008 at 8:28 pm
Good work – it’s all about marketing. Design skills will never take the place of marketing skills.
October 16th, 2008 at 9:56 am
great article. i found a similar one on networking and gaining new business clients and contacts. hope someone else finds it of use too.
October 18th, 2008 at 11:12 pm
Thanks for a useful article and good links.
June 10th, 2009 at 9:04 am
A good way to keep the clients flowing in is to share your business and what it’s all about to your family and friends- let them have a hand in spreading the word about your company. The fact of the matter is that before you can build a business people must first know you’re in business.
Great post Dave.
January 22nd, 2010 at 12:19 am
Thanks for the information!
April 13th, 2010 at 11:26 pm
Very nice – and great additional articles in the links as well. I really agree with the remark about touching base with old clients. They’re often thrilled to hear from me again and welcome the contact. This puts my services back in their mind.
October 4th, 2010 at 12:47 pm
I’ve run a web design firm in Utah since 1999, and 90% of our clients have come from Google because for a long time we were #1 for searches for “utah web design”. Google was by far our best salesman.
These days it’s a lot more competitive to get a top ranking in Google for searches relevant to what you do in the geographic area where you do it, but one way to jump around the problem, at least to a certain extent, is to get listed in online directories that do rank well for the term you want to target. For example, if you’re a web designer in Utah, you would search for “utah web designer” or “utah web designer directory” and see what comes up. The same could go regardless of what it is you do. If you see a directory that’s ranking well, make sure you have a listing on it, because chances are that directory is probably getting a goodly amount of traffic. And if the directory gives you a link to your website, then that can also boost your own website’s rankings.
Here’s a good place to start – http://www.declaremedia.com/complete-list/. It’s a bunch of free, online directories that target geographic areas, and a lot of them are relevant for freelancers.
November 8th, 2010 at 11:25 pm
Great customer service is also a key factor. It’s important to be contacted easily, in both directions, fast, and reliable. Another one is to get your business cards ready.
December 17th, 2010 at 11:01 am
Great article – I think a customer service focus is the best way forwards!!
February 15th, 2011 at 11:13 pm
Great advice for every type of business. I like the “not looking desperate” tip.
February 25th, 2011 at 4:07 pm
Great tips, When I look for client I show them a designated plan for them specifically. I also stay in touch with my current clients to let them know that they’re important to me.
April 29th, 2011 at 10:00 am
Just came across this article in the same week we’ve had some potential clients ‘assume we are desperate, (which we are not). Definitely following the track of being prepared to walk away if their terms become too stringent. We’ll see how it works out- anyway thanks for re-inforcing ‘what we already knew’ here.
October 2nd, 2011 at 7:15 pm
On the ABC (always be closing) … here’s what I suggest:
Once you’ve decided on what you want to offer the client and have shared it with them and answered their questions, ask for the work. You could say, “So, would you like to get started?” or, “If this sounds good to you, then let’s get started. ”
Key point – you must have outlined something for them to say “Yes” to.
You should be the one asking the client to accept your offer instead of waiting for them. They may just get in question mode looking for ways to say no, but are basically ready to go.
October 24th, 2011 at 12:00 pm
While word of mouth is great, it cannot be depended on no matter how good your services are because it is very passive. You still need to do some kind of aggressive advertising or networking.
October 25th, 2011 at 3:43 pm
Clients know that sound of desparation in your voice just as business people know that sound of desparation in a client’s voice. I agree to NEVER sound desparate as this will be a sign that they can grab you by the balls. Excuse my french :)
January 5th, 2012 at 2:20 am
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May 16th, 2013 at 5:32 am
thank u for share
June 5th, 2013 at 5:21 pm
Pulling in business is what we do at Fluid all day. Now-a-days it’s not wise to put all of your marketing budget into only one thing. I like to tell clients that we need to start actively doing content marketing and becoming the expert online that you hope to become. I also share with them that if you wanted to buy a service from someone what is important to you? The fact that your money is going to be well spent. I would have case studies on your website to help those around you understand how good you are. With all the different companies out there it’s important that you set yourself apart but creating case studies that show off your work.
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