For Freelancers: Get Clients Without Cold Calling

For Freelancers: Get Clients Without Cold Calling

Cold calling sucks. There, I said it. For me, there is nothing more anxiety inducing than calling strangers on the phone to ask them to meet for a pitch. In fact, knowing that I would likely have to cold call clients was the one thing that kept me from starting my business a year earlier than I did. When I finally took the leap and started my freelancing business, I knew that pitching was inevitable, but I was determined to avoid cold calling at all costs. Thankfully, with a bit of creativity, I’ve managed to sign every client I currently work with WITHOUT cold calling.

Today I am sharing some of my favorite sales tactics to pitch my services without making a single cold call.

Offer Referral Discounts to Current Clients

Referral based marketing tactics can vary, but at its core, it’s a way to get your biggest fans to help spread the word about your brand. Unintentionally, when I started my business referral based marketing was the most popular way I earned new clients. In fact, 8 months into starting my business, a good 85% of my clients are referrals.

How did I earn referrals from clients? I asked them, plain and simple. Any time I am ready to scale my business and expand my client roster I let me current clients know that I am taking on new clients and I offer them a one time discount on their monthly services for any business they refer that ends up becoming a client.

If you are confident about the client relationships you have and the services you’ve offered, feel free to mention to clients that you are looking to expand your client list – but don’t harass them for referrals either. Personally, I choose to notify clients about referral discounts in the initial welcome packet I send out at the beginning of our contract term, and in quarterly newsletters/emails. After that, I only bring it up if they specifically mention that they know someone in need of the services I offer. (Though if clients are looking for a way to save some money on their monthly bill, I will notify them of discounts they can take advantage of, referrals being one of them.)

Search Job Listings

This is one of my favorite ways to earn clients. I spend a couple of hours every week on LinkedIn searching job postings for part time marketing opportunities. Utilizing this tactic is not 100% guaranteed, as some companies will ultimately decide to hire someone in house for their marketing needs, but it is a good way to get your foot in the door with the hiring business to start a dialogue about your freelance services. A lot of companies that are looking for part time work have limited budgets and are often open to a discussion about the services you offer and your monthly rates. Pro Tip: Depending on their monthly needs, your freelance rates are often comparable or lower than what they would need to pay someone as a company hire, mention that in your cover letter to peak their interest.

Utilize Third Party Platforms

No doubt you’ve heard about Fiverr before. Sites like Fiverr connect businesses with freelancers. These sites are a great way to get your foot in the door when you don’t have a large client base to rely on referral marketing. I personally choose to use third part platforms to connect with non-profits to offer my services pro-bono. Because I offer my services for free to non-profits, I don’t immediately earn income from these projects, HOWEVER, after a project is completed I send one final email closing the project where I mention opportunities to refer clients, and review my services. Taking on these pro-bono short term projects means that down the road I will have the opportunity to pitch them long term paid services or ask them to refer me to anyone in their network that may be in need of marketing services.

Scale your business this year by getting creative with your pitching and sales tactics. The tactics I’ve outlined above are just a few ways I’ve learned to scale my business without the stress of cold calling. What is your favorite way to search for clients to scale your business?

Client Retention During an Epidemic

Client Retention During an Epidemic

Look, these are super uncertain times. We all know that. If you’re operating as a freelancer, these are scary times too. While most businesses are closed or scaling back services, client retention is one of the most unpredictable aspects of freelancing right now. Thankfully, I’ve managed to retain 100% of my clientele (and even scale my business) since March. Today I want to share some tips with you so that you can improve or maintain your client retention in the midst of an epidemic.

Keep in mind, flexibility is the key to successfully implementing these tips. It’s time to pivot, folks!

Maintain Communication

This can be a really isolating time for small business owners, show your clients you are there to help and support them (within reason).

I speak with my clients consistently at least once a week during regular operations, and I’ve maintained that through this epidemic. Whether they are simple check ins via text message, volunteering to help with any additional projects, or updating them on their services, maintaining (or increasing) communication with your clients is super important right now.

Take this time to foster your professional relationship and solidify a positive partnership through this epidemic and beyond by making small changes to the way you function in your freelance business – you won’t regret it!

Offer a Discount

One of the tactics I have used to maintain 100% retention rates for my business for the past couple of months is to offer a discount to the clients that signed on for services prior to March. Instead of offering the same discount to every client, I customized each discount offer based on the packages they signed up for.

By offering discounts you acknowledge that the success of their business is important to you. But you’re also demonstrating that you can be flexible with pricing. This is especially important because instead of choosing to cancel your services, your client may instead reach out to discuss possible savings or reduction of services rather than completely cancelling every service your contract details.

Provide Value

This is the time to demonstrate what you’ve done in the past, and what you will do to drive sales now, or once business resumes for your client. If you aren’t already hosting monthly review meetings with your clients, you should start ASAP.

Since scheduling meetings can be tricky, I actually record monthly recaps in my own time at the end of every month by recording my computer screen as I walk through platform analytics for the past month. Then I upload the video to a shared drive that my clients can access at any time.

I should note that videos like the ones I use to discuss analytics do not replace meetings and two way conversations. You should still be speaking with clients on a regular basis, and expect a phone call or zoom conversation to discuss any questions they may have in regards to the analytics they see in your videos.

Get Creative

Spend some time brainstorming ways your business can increase sales during this time, even if their business isn’t open. Is your client a salon that cannot take clients right now? Maybe they can start sharing styling tutorials on their social media page and sell product bundles used in the tutorials? Does your client have access to a large amount of products they are no longer using (t-shirts, stickers, etc)? Why not sell them online!

Don’t be afraid to think outside your normal scope of services either, just have a referral ready and be prepared to help get the ball rolling to implement new creative tactics you develop.