The One Question Your Prospects Really Want You to Answer

Many freelancers struggle to get new clients. You may be facing this struggle right now.

In fact, “How Do I Get Clients?” is one of the most frequently asked questions that freelancers ask. So, if you’re a freelancer who is struggling with the very real problem of getting clients, know that you’re not alone.

There are many effective tactics that you can use to find new clients, but in the end it all boils down to answering just one simple question.

In this post, I’ll let you know exactly what that question is and explain why (and how) you must answer it.

It’s Not About You

It might seem like your freelancing business is all about you. After all, you probably started your freelancing business so that you could fulfill one or more of your dreams. You do all the work. You receive the pay. It would seem to make sense if your freelancing business were all about you. But, it’s not.

While freelancing may allow you to live the life of your goals and dreams, your freelancing business won’t survive if fulfilling your goals and dreams is all that your business about.

You see, your prospective clients really don’t care whether you are living the life of your dreams. They probably don’t spend any time thinking about your life and your goals. That’s just not what they’re interested in.

So, what are your prospective clients interested in? What do your prospective clients really want to know?

Ultimately, there’s just one thing that they want to know…

What Can You Do for Me?

It’s really that simple.

Answer this question, and you’ll get more clients. Fail to answer it and you won’t.

Of course, your clients don’t mind if you manage to fulfill your own dreams while you meet their needs. They’re not coldhearted (at least most of them aren’t). But in the end, they want to know how they’ll benefit from hiring you. And you’d better know how to answer the question if you want to stay in business as a freelancer.

How to Answer the One Question

I used a key word to answering this very important question above. Can you spot it?

It’s the word “benefits.” Communicating benefits to your prospects is the key to winning them over to being clients.

To really answer the question in the way that your prospects want, you need to present yourself in terms of the benefits that you’ll provide to them. Surprisingly, many freelancers fail to do this with their marketing.

Here is a (fictional) example of how a fictional designer named “Joe” markets himself. It’s similar to the marketing efforts many freelancers use.

“Joe Smith is a graphic designer with over 12 years of experience working for Fortune 500 companies. Joe has a degree in Design. Here is the link to Joe’s portfolio.”

Did you notice something about the paragraph above?

Yep. That example was all about “Joe.” It started with his name and went on to list facts about him. A potential client would have to guess about any benefits they might get from hiring “Joe.” And most clients won’t make that extra effort.

Here’s a better example of how “Joe” could market himself (and still convey the same information):

“You need unique, eye-popping images that will immediately set your marketing materials apart from the rest. Joe Smith has the talent (portfolio link) and experience (12 years providing designs for Fortune 500 companies) to deliver what you need to stand out in a crowded market.”

Do you see the difference? The second example starts with what “Joe” is going to do for his clients and goes on to explain how the client will benefit.

Which “Joe” would you rather hire? The “Joe” of the first example, or the “Joe” of the second example?

What to Do Now

Take an immediate look at your freelancing website and any marketing materials that you use.

Are your marketing materials about you? Or, are they about the benefits that you can offer to your prospective clients?

If your marketing materials are about you, you know what you need to change…

What Do You Think?

Have you upgraded your marketing from being about you to being about the benefits you offer to your clients?

Give some examples of how you reworded your marketing (before and after, similar to the “Joe” example) in the comments below.

Image by milos milosevic

Comments

  1. says

    Thankyou for this very simple strategy. Will come in handy as I am writing the copy now for my website that will be launched next month.

  2. says

    Absolutely. So many websites fall into the trap of ‘we-ing’ all over the place. ‘We do this, we do that’.

    A useful trick to turn features into benefits is to add ‘which means that’ after the feature. For example: I sell energy monitoring software WHICH MEANS THAT you can cut waste, reduce costs and lower emissions.

  3. says

    Great comments already!

    Myck–Best wishes on your new site.

    Carolyn Yohn, It IS very hard to implement. I’ve fallen into the “me, me, me” trap myself.

    Carole Seawert–Features vs. benefits…That’s another very important concept that freelancers need to grasp. Great point.

  4. says

    The most important part of a sales meeting and presentation is finding out what the customer needs and wants. That’s why you need to let them talk, and you need to listen and ask questions. Then you tell them why you’re qualified to address their needs, and suggest other improvements as well.

    It’s more difficult to present this in a very general way, when you’re promoting yourself in marketing materials. That’s the time to point out what sets your business apart from “business as usual.”

  5. says

    Sadly with the current trend the only benefit that prospects are looking for is price wise. This encompasses now the mid to larger clients. Quality is overlooked for price.

  6. says

    DesignFacet, I’m not sure about the design field, but I’ve had some good luck recently targeting clients who are more interested in quality work than price.

    You might point out to your clients that it often costs more (in the long run) to have something done poorly and to pay to have to get it done again than it does to get it done right in the first place. Good luck to you!

  7. says

    Marketing yourself is definitely about the choosing the correct words. It’s like a resume, if you are targeting a certain type of client, using industry specific phrases helps too.

  8. says

    Another excellent post Laura. The topic of how to get in your clients head’s has been popping up quite a bit. I wrote on the topic under “You, Inc” on my blog and “Starting A Side Hustle” on http://www.artofmanliness.com“.
    Getting in the clients head is an evergreen topic probably because freelancers so often forget it’s the basis of making money.

  9. says

    @DesignFacet: “Sadly with the current trend the only benefit that prospects are looking for is price wise.”

    That’s not been my experience, but I’ll bet our markets are quite different. But I tailor my message to people who are looking for quality custom work, and especially those where they’ve been told by someone else “sorry, that can’t be done”. I also don’t waste time with people who first ask “what’s it cost to do xxxx”.

    I stay busy enough that I am soon transitioning from pure freelancer to employer. Actually, I stay busy enough that “sleep” is an entry on my calendar. But that’s because I quit trying to compete on price and taking every job that came along and focused on selling my USP’s.

  10. says

    it becomes very necessary to remember that what ever you are doing is for your clients, and not your self. the clients when they are satisfied with all their needs and requirements then they in turn will take care of you and your dreams as well. in short the more happy your clients the more happy you will be

  11. says

    Absolutely…….designers tend to lose track of what is important sometimes in both describing the business and in the product they deliver.

  12. says

    Something to ad; A way to show the benefits of working with you may be to identify common objections they may have in dealing with your industry. For example I have worked in telemarketing, specifically appointment setting, and a common issue that the customer may have had, is getting appointments that are set with someone who is able to make the decision to use their product or service for their company. In this situation, you could tell them what you do to avoid this; ie: verifying that they make decisions by asking them directly!

  13. says

    I’d say it is key to believe what you’re selling. I provide websites, and several of my customers are freelancers themselves. I know from experience that a website helps people, because it has helped me. I’ve got a heart for freelancers, and want them to be successful. So freelancers want to know if you can help them, and you have to believe in yourself that you can.

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