I think by now you that I’m big on communication and followup is the biggest piece of communication especially early on.
In episode 135, I shared 11 ways to stand out as a freelancer. And while that’s a great list and got awesome feedback, the one thing that is most often attached to that is the word “the most.”
I get asked “How to stand out as a freelancer the most?” so often that it’s astonishing.
Yet, what I asked on Twitter how many of you have a formal follow up for leads with the choices of “yes”, “no”, and “just send ‘just wanted to check-in’”, shockingly only 19% said that they have a formal follow up sequence.
Let me say that a different way, more than 80% of freelancers do not have a formal follow up sequence with leads.
Yet, you ask how do you stand out in a crowded freelancer market.
Education and add value
When I first started doing follow up sequences, it was more manual than anything. Mainly because I was a generalist developer serving customers of all shapes and sizes.
But for me it made sense that if a lead contacted me, even if we hadn’t talked yet, to send them valuable pieces of content that were relevant to their project, business objectives, and maybe a fun joke to show that I’m a human too.
I would have a library of related links to articles or videos or podcasts that spoke to a number of stats, key metrics, case studies, and even how-tos.
I read the articles and got value from them to better my business, so why not share what I’m consuming with those who may work with me.
I would set a reminder in my calendar to send off an email that was quick, simple, and had a link with a few key points that I wanted that lead to walk away with.
I put those key points in there just in case they never clicked the link.
I’ve since automated this process a bit more and if you want to know how I do that check out Stop The Cycle.
How often do you email?
How many emails should I send to a lead? is the next logical question I’m sure you have right now.
You’ll have to play with this yourself to find the sweet spot, but I did some research on the topic to get a good idea of a ballpark to start with.
- Decision makers consume 5 pieces of content before they are even ready to speak to a sales rep
- Half of all leads that enter a sales pipeline are not ready to buy in near term.
- 80% of sales require 5 follow ups after the first meeting
- 44% of sales reps give up after one
That last stat I threw in there just to reinforce my answer to standing out.
If you look at the other 3 though, 5 seems to be the magic number.
If even talking to someone requires on seeing 5 pieces of content and 80% of sales require 5 follow ups, the bare minimum you should send should be 5.
Obviously you want to throttle this based on how fast they are moving with you through sales. But if someone is dragging their feet or that they set up a call with you 7 days from today, that’s plenty of time to send an email a day with a valuable piece of content.
It’s that simple. No need to overcomplicate it.
The great thing about this is standing out happens early on in the game.
If your lead is shopping around and has a short list of 5 vendors to go with and you are the only one who’s providing valuable information on a consistent basis without them even paying you yet, guess who they are going to want to talk with and go with?
Start a Freelance Business
More episodes in this topic:
What are the costs involved in becoming a freelancer?
Is the income from freelancing reliable?
What payment structure should I do?
How do you build a good freelancing profile in the field of web development considering the competition?
What are skills you can learn fast and have high freelancer value?
How to start freelancing?
Should you do free work to build a portfolio?
What is freelance?
How can I start freelancing without experience?
What does it take to be a freelancer?
Why did you start freelancing?
What is the very first step to work as a freelancer?
How do you set the boundary of work you do and work you don't do?
What are your client red flags?
What should you be able to create as a web developer before starting in your freelance career?
When starting out freelance, should I just be a generalist to get my feet wet, or should I go for that niche?
As a developer, should I throw my projects on Github or build a site from scratch to grab attention?
What can I use for social proof when starting as a freelancer?
How can I start freelancing as a web developer?
Should I use my name or create a business name when starting?
Should I call myself a “freelancer” (definitive answer)?
Why should you not be a freelancer?
How do you collect online payments as a freelancer
How much money do I need to make?
Why is hourly billing bad?
Why is hourly billing good?
What are the biggest mistakes a freelancer can make?
How to adapt and change to the WordPress climate?
How to budget as a freelancer?
What is your marketing plan?
What is your sales process?
What do you do to position yourself as an expert to leads?
How do you balance your time for sales and marketing?
How do you get high-quality clients?
Should I offer my services as a web designer/developer or specialize first?
What do you do again?
What is the best freelancing website?
What do you do for a follow-up sequence for leads?
How to attract clients with big budgets?
How not to be annoying in sales?
How do you convince someone to sign a contract?
What to say when a client is late on a payment?
Best of Season 3 - Get out of the comfort zone
Best of Season 3 - Building Relationships
S06 E12 - Undercharging, Targeting the Wrong Audience, and What You Should Do About It with Alex McClafferty
S03 Bonus - Tom McFarlin on Blogging, Balancing Work and Family, and Building a Business that Lasts
S09 E11 - Differentiation, Reputation, and Pivoting From the Top-Down with Peep Laja
S01 E11 - Kai Davis helping freelancers get more clients with outreach