I, literally, had one of THOSE phone calls 2 hours ago. You know the ones that you have with a prospective client; you think it’s going well because the conversation is flowing, and you are confident that you have landed this freelancing gig then comes the inevitable questions about your fees. Like a child caught in the act of doing something naughty, the conversation halts. The prospective client assures you that they will keep your name on file and call you when jobs become available however we all know that they are really saying ‘thanks but we will never talk again’.
I have had a few of these conversations recently. Some have surprised me and called back and even more fortunate, like the accidental curly fry in your bowl of chips, some have turned into long-term clients. So, I take this to mean that it can’t be me or my fees that are turning off THOSE clients. But what is making them falter? And, what can I do to turn my accidental curly into a full bowl of curly fries?
In analysing the aforementioned call, I can pick two areas where I may have gone wrong. The first was I made it all about me and not about what I can offer them. USA Today say that clients already know what you can do otherwise they wouldn’t be talking to you. What they really want to know is how the skills you have can benefit them. So, rather than saying ‘I do this, this and this’, I should have said ‘my blog writing has proven to increase clients web traffic by 70%. I can do the same for you’.
The second area where I may have faulted is on my fees. I am not going to reduce my fees to land a client. However, I should have spent more time telling them why I am worth the amount I charge. I told them my rate, and what that brings. However, I should have added that my blogs are edited to a professional standard and come with two reputable references. And, I would have benefited more from mentioning the time I spend ensuring that the tone, syntax and information match the client’s website.
So, what are some of the things you, and I, can do better to ensure that we land the next freelance gig that comes our way? Without going into how to find freelance work (that might be a blog for another day) here are the tips I found useful and some that I discovered from the research of my two credible sources:
Be yourself but professional. Keeping up a facade is exhausting, so when you are having an email or phone conversation with a prospective client, inject your personality, while also maintaining professionalism. Presenting with your personality will help the client feel more relaxed, but the professionalism will also show them that you know what you are talking about.
If you are a writer, a photographer, graphic designer or some other professional who is selling services, ensure that you have a diverse portfolio of work to show prospective clients. It would be even better if you had a website where you can direct your clients to see these samples. I keep mine in a Dropbox so that if I am on the go and have an enquiry, I can easily email the specific example.
Know your business. Ensure you have your goals and processes set in place. Also, do you have a niche? If so, know who they are. Once you have these down then you can work on your fees (refer to my tips above about pitching your fees to a client).
At times, freelancing may make you feel unemployed and at other times you will find yourself working ridiculously long hours. But, if you work at it you will find a rhythm and your freelancing will become a fulfilling career.
For more tips on how to land, or find, freelancing work please do not hesitate to contact me.