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

Looking to start freelancing? Wonder what you need to think about, put in place, or even what freelancing is all about? Here is where you’ll find the latest answers to those questions.
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