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?