Easy & Tested Ways on How Freelancers can Win More Clients
We all want to win more clients, to be able to get more, and better-paid, work. Unfortunately, this is often much harder to do than one could imagine. In this article, I will give you some tips and advice on how to increase your chances to get attention and also how to get hired for freelance work.
Perfect Your Pitch
Preparation is the number one thing that will decide whether or not you can score a project.
Take a look at how many other people are applying for the same job posting. That number will blow your mind. And, that is only the beginning.
Now, think about it from the view of the project owner (employer). Will that guy or woman go through all those bids and read every applicant’s pitches to make the best decision?
Nope. In most cases, the client will only read through the first couple of pitches and ignore the rest. It’s just too much information and the employer has too many options to cover. What’s more, the client will also pay attention only to first two or three lines of a pitch.
How can you take advantage of this situation?
First, you have to forget about copying & pasting some “default” pitch template. Most employers on job posting sites are skilled at spotting such robotic messages.
The best way to push your pitch through their bot filter is to take your time to actually read their requirements. Aim to fully understand what the client needs – doing a sloppy job at this stage will ruin your chances to win the client, so read between the lines and keep in mind that most of the clients posting those requests have insufficient technical skills. That is, employers may sometimes describe a problem they see, while the real problem is either somewhere else or there is a completely different issue that must be solved. In both situations, your chance to create neat solution on your first try might be low, but if you feel confident you can help, all the better.
Secondly, keep your pitch short. As mentioned above, most clients probably lack the patience/time to go through dozens of long pitches. So, the more brief and to the point you can be, the better.
After you’ve thoroughly understood what the client needs, writing a brief elevator pitch should be easy. Meaning, imagine you are in the elevator and have only about 30 seconds to pitch your solution to someone. Another approach can be thinking of writing a “Twitter” pitch. Limit your pitch to 140 characters.
By keeping your pitch concise, you will force yourself to reply with a message containing only the most important points. Your message will be also easy to understand. This will make your pitch stand out more than any paid positioning or other promotions available.
Takeaway: Learn about and understand the work that needs to be done so well, you will be able to recite it by memory. Then, respond to the request with a nice and brief pitch that can be said within 30 seconds.
Example Pitches for Freelancers
#1 – Web development pitch:
According to your description, you need x number of pages for your new website. All of them with SEO optimization and implemented Google analytics. I can deliver them to you in x days for $xxx. Let me know when we can start.
#2 – SEO pitch:
I can help you increase conversions on your website with SEO optimization and design focused on better user experience. Let me know when can we start.
#3 – Designer pitch:
I am Alex Devero, a freelance graphic designer based in Prague, Czech Republic. My specialization is in logo design and printed corporate branded materials such as brochures, business stationery and websites, I can offer you an innovative design solution that’s perfect for your business needs. Having worked for 5 years in Prague, I now expand my international client base that includes leading advertising companies and brands. I offer competitive rates, a fast turn around and exceptional quality. I would like 20 minutes of you time to run you through my portfolio.
Be a Perfectionist
If there’s any rule you should follow every time you work on a project, it would be “no detail is too small”.
It’s that simple. When you take on a project, you should always strive for perfection. However, while you should aim for perfection, you should settle for excellence.
Following this principle will help you avoid the trap many perfectionists fall into – never finishing their work – while still keeping your standards extremely high.
How high should your standards be? Remember that these standards that will decide your reputation. Set the bar too low and your work will be more or less average, or worse. One the other hand, if you set the bar too high, you risk missing deadlines.
Which of these options is better? From my personal perspective, the second – taking the risk and setting the bar high.
The reason is that it is better to “aim for the stars” and reaching “only” for the moon. Although you’ll fail to make the project “perfect”, you’ll still able to deliver high-quality work to your clients and make them happy. Every happy client means more positive recommendations and possible future cases.
If you think that keeping up such standards is difficult, don’t worry. It will be hard only for a month or two before it becomes a habit. In addition, feel free to utilize Codementor‘s services to ask an experienced developer to help you with code review.
Takeaway: Pay attention to detail, nourish a healthy dose of perfectionism and set your standards high. Then, delivering high-quality work will become a habit.
Become a Teacher
Contrary to what you may currently think, teaching your client to be independent is the best thing you can do.
If your client is able to maintain your work after you turn it in, you can congratulate yourself. You did an excellent job. Seriously, there is no sarcasm in what I’ve just said.
Let me put it in a different way: Teaching clients to become self-sufficient should be the goal of every freelancer.
Why? You can’t say you’ve delivered clients your best service if you haven’t taught them everything you know about your work.
Some of you may start to argue that this will take you out of business. Well, it will in some cases. But, that also doesn’t mean that by keeping your clients less-informed will ensure you work in the future. On the other hand, it will show that you’d rather lose some business opportunities than to deliver less-than-excellent service. This is something that clients like to hear. What’s more, by doing so, the majority of your clients will hire you for bigger and more difficult tasks no matter how much you teach them.
This is because clients want to work on their business, not in their business, and taking on programming tasks would cost them time they could spend elsewhere.
Takeaway: Your goal as a freelancer should always be to deliver excellent service. This also means teaching your clients to be self-sufficient. And, don’t worry about your job. The majority of your clients will hire you in the future no matter how much you teach them.
Learn to Over-Communicate
Have you ever experienced, as a kid, that situation when your parents message or call you every hour to make sure you are okay? It’s pretty annoying, right?
Well, as a freelancer, you should adopt a similar communication “strategy” when working with clients. For example, if you think there will be delay, or if you may need to buy additional assets, your client should know about it. Of course, yu shouldn’t email your client about every minor detail.
You should give your clients periodic updates on your progress – once a week is minimum, but twice will be much better. If your client has to email you for updates, you are not providing him with good service. Remember that regular updates are necessary if not crucial to create a great relationship between you and your client.
If you have no updates to send, at least tell your client that everything is going according to the plan. Although you might consider this as a waste of time, it’s important to stay in touch with your client. It is much better to over-communicate and be a bit annoying than otherwise.
Takeaway: Keeping your client updated is fundamental for a healthy customer relationship. Make sure to get in touch at least twice a week. Over-communicate rather than under-communicate.
Take Charge and Lead
When you get hired by a client to do some work, you should be willing to take charge of that project.
Depending on what your job is, your client hired you as an expert on that specific task. Thus, they trust you know what works best and how it should be implemented, so it is your job to make technical decisions, not your client’s.
For example, if you are a designer hired to create a layout for a website or application, don’t ask your client things that they hired you to decide.
Sure, there are things you ask your client on such as brand or favorite colors, favorite fonts, designs be likes and so on. However, the rest is up to you. Don’t annoy your client with questions about font size, image file types, what framework or library to use,etc. Making decisions and implementing them the best you can is part of your job.
Your client trusts you to be an expert. If you are unsure of your skills, feel free to reach out to an expert at Codementor and learn how to become an expert yourself.
Takeaway: You are hired as an expert and part of your job is to make decisions related to your expertise. Accept it and take charge of it.
Deliver More than Promised
Under-promising and over-delivering is often mentioned and talked about in many industries. However, how many people are actually doing it?
The truth is that the majority of people are practicing only the first part. They will take some project, under-promise and then just deliver on that promise. Why should they work harder if most of clients will be satisfied with average work? Unfortunately, they don’t understand that you’ll get what you sew.
What I mean is that this behavior will return as a boomerang. What’s more, it will bring not only one consequence, but two:
1. Under-promising will soon become a habit. And, as we know, habit are difficult to change once they are established. Habits also become more powerful when you “practice” them. In other words, the more you will deliver an average or poor job, the faster it will become something normal and natural. If you want to be nothing more than an average in what you do, go ahead and enjoy it.
2. People will start to see it. As a result, fewer and fewer people will want to hire you, and you’ll fall into a downward spiral. What’s on the end of this spiral? Nothing pretty. You’ll end up either on the pavement, homeless, broke, and without a job. Or, you’d wind up applying for some boring job at a company. What scares you more?
Takeaway: It’s okay to under-promise as long as you over-deliver. However, when you start shipping average work, you will get into deadly spiral that’s hard to escape from.
Winning new clients and creating sustainable relationships may be difficult, but it certainly can be done. The tips described above are just a few that can help you achieve this goal. Keep in mind that some of them will work better than others.
Just strive to deliver your best. Aim for perfection and settle only for excellence. With this approach, it is only matter the of the time before you’ll start to see the benefits. Perseverance is what distinguishes winners from the rest.
The last thing to mention is that if you need any help with your tasks, or if you need a second eye on your work, don’t be afraid to reach out to get help from expert developers at Codementor.