This is the classic chicken or the egg scenario. Doing these 3 things will raise the bar immediately and have you stand out from the other 3 vendors your lead is talking with.
For the context of this episode, this is for those that are just starting out, maybe still full-time and looking to go freelance.
This could also be for those trying a new service or piece to their business. Maybe even niching down or specializing your business to where you haven’t had any experience in before.
So many of you in this area find yourself in a chicken or the egg scenario, where you talk about how you have no case studies or portfolio pieces. You don’t have experience because you haven’t done this type of work before.
You find yourself paralyzed because of it. You don’t move forward with anything because you get stuck.
I want to share with you 3 tips that don’t require anything other than a conversation with a client or lead when you don’t have the experience.
Find out why they are talking to you
Unless they are a friend of yours or existing client, there’s some reason for why you are talking with them.
Maybe it was a bad previous engagement.
Maybe someone referred you.
Maybe they found you online and liked what you do, but they are unsure if you can help them because of the business they have.
Whatever it is, find out. Because that will give you a quick insight into what is attractive about you to them.
Simply ask “How did you find out about me?” before starting in on the conversation. Or if during the course of the conversation they seem unsure if you can help, ask “There are a lot of choices out there, and I respect that, may I ask you why you are talking with me about your project?”
Set up the clarity for the lead, make sure they are clear of the problem
Making sure that the lead is fully engaged and clear on what problem they want solving.
Echo back what they are asking you for. State everything that you hear back to them to make sure that there is clarity on what’s being asked for and the goals they want to achieve.
If there’s some level of contention about the project based on a previously bad engagement, be empathetic but state how you work and the benefits to the client of the way you work.
After briefly giving them insight, ask them if that process makes sense to them. Ask them if it aligns with their thinking and the goals that why are looking to achieve.
Get them focused back onto your conversation with them, not thinking about the bad experience they had.
Empathize with them and offer a lower risk opportunity to work together
If there’s still some level of skepticism due to lack of experience, offer them a lower risk opportunity to work together on.
I’m not suggesting discounting your services!
I’m suggesting offering them a phased project, where the initial engagement is a smaller win, lower cost, and quicker timeline.
Then when that engagement is a success (notice I didn’t say “if it’s a success) you talk again about moving forward with a larger piece of the project.
Most of your leads and clients come from word of mouth. Especially when starting out. If you are engaged in conversation, often times they haven’t even looked at a portfolio yet.
There’s a trust factor by proxy since they came to you from someone else that they trust.
You don’t need those portfolio pieces or full website with all the logos and badges.
You simply need to have a conversation that’s focused and has the objective of solving the problem the lead or client has.
That will prove to them that you are thinking strategically and pragmatically about solving their problem when others are stumbling or just trying to close the sale.
Running your freelance business
More episodes in this topic:
What do you do when a crisis hits?
How to start building an email list as a freelancer?
How do you manage time wearing so many hats as a freelancer?
What software tools do you use for business? What is best?
How do you prevent, manage scope creep in your projects?
Do you schedule in time for exploring or reading articles online?
What is the best way to get income fast?
What happens if you can’t define a scope of work on a call?
What do I do first thing Monday morning?
How can I focus on my business when I’ve got a ton client work?
Do I have to be concerned with GDPR?
What are the tools and services that you use and would recommend to freelancers?
How do you have time for all that you do?
What podcasting gear do I use?
Does live chat bring you in business?
How do you followup with a lead after a proposal?
Did hiring a mentor really help you with starting up your business or your career?
What is my writing process
What is the easiest way to get a remote testimonial?
How do you determine a quality prospect?
How do you step away and actually take a vacation?
Are job boards reliable?
How to decrease the sales cycle or time to close?
How would you write a cold outreach email?
How to present different services that could potentially diminish your abilities in the minds of clients?
Should I bundle projects for clients or keep projects separate per client?
What product do you use for your business that you can’t live without?
What makes you stand out from other freelancers?
Do I drop this client?
How do I set a goal?
Do you meet leads and clients face-to-face?
How do I work “ON” my business and not “IN” my business?
What is the best structure for setting a goal?
How do you do a review of your week?
What do I say when a potential client says I’m too expensive?
What is activity based selling?
How to get more clients?
How to have a productive week?
Do you use a CRM for your business?
How do you choose the technology for your clients?
What is the structure of a weekly review?
What is the structure of a monthly review?
What are lead generation techniques to get me out of the feast and famine revenue cycle?
How do I know if I should buy a course?
What’s a polite way to tell existing clients you are raising your rates? And what is a reasonable percentage to go up?
How many email follow-ups should I send to a lead?
What do I do? I’m afraid to filter the tire kickers coming into my business because they are the only leads I have.
How to take the next step from contracting resource to solo business owner?
What do you think about Gutenberg? Schmutenberg!
How do I get better at sales?
How to overcome objections in sales?
How do I respond to an RFP?
How to respond to “I don’t need strategy, can you just do…”?
If you don’t have experience, how to you prove the quality without the education/experience?
How do you handle a client that has ghosted?
What do you ask during a sales call?
How to improve your sales process as a freelancer?
How to charge more as a freelancer?
How do you push past the imposter syndrome?
How do you segment your email list?
What to say when a client insists on adding something new?
What kind of content should I promote to potential clients?
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