Identifying a potential client is usually the easy part. The hard part comes in knowing what to say, what to do and how to behave with said potential client as you metaphorically move in for the kill and transform that potential client into a paying client.
Of course, no two clients are exactly the same so there's no hard and fast rule or guidance set in stone that is guaranteed to clinch every deal. There might be a few general dos and don’ts - a couple of things that generally work well and a couple of things that you should probably never do, but one of the best bits of advice is not to over-complicate things. Never stray too far from one commonly heard principle of marketing and you won't go far wrong. Ever.
This is the principle of Know-Like-Trust. Here's how to apply this principle to turn those clients from potential to paying.
It's important that you know how to sniff out potential clients and know where they are. It's equally important that you can give them the opportunity to know you.
For many freelancers (and virtually all businesses) the most obvious starting point in getting potential clients to know you is with a website. Essentially, your website should be a clear pathway for people to find all the information they could need or want about your business.
Freelancers are problem solvers. So, it needs to be obvious that you can solve a problem for the potential client. They need to know that you have the skills or experience to do this. Sharing things about yourself - from an 'About' page on a website to social media posts - is a way to display your authenticity and your personality. You want to appear professional but not stuffy. You want to seem 'real' and genuine to potential clients.
Make it easy for potential clients to contact you - and respond to any messages promptly.
Having a blog on your website is one of the best forms of content marketing there is. Rather than filling your website with unsubtle sales talk, stuff it full of interesting, useful and helpful content. This goes back to the idea of being a problem solver. Write about the issues, problems and questions that exist in your niche, and show that you know your stuff, offer solutions and give answers.
This way, to a potential client you come across as a problem solving font-of-all-knowledge expert. If they feel this way, they are much more likely to pay you for this expertise.
Getting a potential client to know you is one thing. Getting them to like you is an even bigger challenge altogether. If you're lucky (very lucky) a potential client will visit your website, like what they see and engage you straightaway.
Now, while that scenario isn’t quite ‘Cloud Cuckoo Land’, it is pretty unlikely! The best way to move in for the kill is to move with stealth and cunning, and build a relationship. Offer up something really useful as 'bait.' This means that people are more likely to subscribe to an email newsletter or come back to your site again.
Now you have a potential client's details, you can feed them useful content that reveals even more of your personality. The more you give, the more they know about you, the more they like you, and they will begin to trust you.
Once there is trust, the potential client is ripe for the picking. If you have built up trust, potential clients will see hiring you as having minimal risk. Offer some sort of guarantee, such as to deliver on time or to make revisions - it doesn't really matter what it is, just as long as you can deliver on it.
Being able to show that others know, like and trust you for your work can be a real advantage too. This can be from reviews and testimonials, but it can also come from your interactions online.
Obviously, the best way of getting somebody to know, like and trust you is to deliver quality work for them. The more you do that, the easier it becomes to convert new potential clients into paying ones.
Following the Know-Like-Trust principle is the best way of moving in for the kill on potential clients.