People who’ve only recently started freelancing can sometimes feel a little intimidated by their clients because, after all, these are the people paying their bills! In fact, new business owners can often find themselves running around in circles trying to please a demanding client, or getting stressed because the relationship with their clients all seems a bit one-way.The more experienced freelancers realise that, in fact, by following some very simple steps you can very easily shift the balance and get your clients to start working for you. When your clients work for you, you’ll find it easier to generate leads and will start attracting higher quality clients, meaning that you can stop running around in circles and start growing your business.
Here are some of the quickest and easiest ways to make your clients work for you.
When you complete a project for a happy client, always ask for a testimonial. Make sure you tell your client how much a testimonial from them would help you out, and offer to write one for them in return. If your clients are busy then write the testimonial yourself and ask if they’d mind putting their name to it. If your clients are on LinkedIn, connect with them there and send them a personalised testimonial request. You can then copy the LinkedIn testimonial to your website.
Two: Case studies
If the project has been a paricularly interesting one, or if it’s had a significant positive outcome, ask your client if you can feature them as a case study on your website. You could pitch it as a way for them to promote their business and offer to give them a backlink to their website/product in return. Make sure you detail the specifics of the project and use raw data to show the impact you’ve had. The bigger the brand the more impact your case study will have. Case studies are proven to be one of the top lead generators in B2B marketing.
Use your client’s logo on your ‘proud to be working with’ section of your website. If you don’t have a section on your website where you can publish client logos, case studies and testimonials, create one! Publishing the logos of the clients that you’re currently working with will prove to prospective clients that you’re a safe pair of hands.
Four: Ask for referrals
The easiest way to generate good quality leads is to ask your clients if they can think of anyone who might need your services. If you’ve done a good job your client should be happy to refer you to people in their network, just make sure you follow up on the lead!
Five: Ask for introductions
Ask your client to introduce you to the other members of their team. By doing this you’ll grow your own network and if any of your contacts leave there’s a good chance they’ll remember you and will want to work with you again in their new place of work. It may be that you end up working with people in different departments within the same business and this is a fantastic way to really get to know the business and the brand values. If you’re lucky, you’ll soon become the ‘go-to’ freelancer for the business.
Six: Ask questions
You’ll learn more from your clients than you will from any business book. People love talking about themsleves and their work and, if you’re a good listener, you’ll come away with nuggets of knowledge that can really help you to grow your own business. If you’ve got a good relationship with your client and you’re inspired by what they do, offer to buy them lunch in return for some advice.
Seven: Ask for recommendations
What other freelancers do your clients work with? If you can build a network of highly regarded freelancers in a range of areas, you’re always going to have people to recommend to other clients- and also people that you could potentially outsource some of your own work to. Who better to give a recommendation than a client who you love working with and who’s insights you trust?
Eight: Ask for help if you need it. Sometimes it can be difficult understanding exactly what the client wants and you can spend a lot of time trying to figure it out, only to get it wrong. Ask if your client minds having a quick chat to clarify things. This will save you a lot of time and is more likely to produce a result that the client is happy with. The more conversations you have, the more your relationship with you client will develop and the more likely they’ll be to want to help you out with testimonials and case studies.
Nine: Don’t take it personally if a client says no! If a client refuses your request it’s probably for legitimate business reasons. A lot of projects are protected by NDAs and it’s not always appropriate for your client to be seen to be working with freelancers. Although it can be frustrating when you work with a big brand and can’t tell anyone about it, the chances are that if you’re discreet and continue to do a good job, your client will want to work with you on future projects- which can be worth much more to your business than a testimonial.
Ten: Look them in the eye! To maximise the chances of your client agreeing to your request, look them in the eye when you ask for a favour. People hate saying ‘no’ when they’re put on the spot and will almost always try and help you if they can. Arm yourself with a couple of requests and ask for the more demanding one first. If they seem reluctant then follow up by asking for a favour that is easier for them to agree to.
Hopefully this brief article has shown that your clients can help your business as much as you can help theirs, and if you’ve done a good job for them and provided value for money, then your client should be happy to help you out.
Don’t be embarrassed about asking your clients for a favour, it could really make a big difference to your business, and to your relationship with your client