How To Attract Good Clients
Simple, practical ways to step up your game
I've been freelancing for more than a year now and I still find it pretty hard work. There are times when I have been blessed with good clients who are regular paymasters. However, I have also experienced stumbling blocks in the form of 'awful' clients who short-changed me or were overly demanding and manipulative.
This post is not about them, however, it is about what I did after those negative experiences to attract the opposite: good clients. Here are five strategies I have employed and continue to employ to attract positive and 'well-behaved' clients, if you so choose to call them that:
1. Look presentable
I can't begin to describe how important this is for a business owner. If you think yourself as a freelancer, stop doing that immediately. You are a business owner and the face of your business, period. Hence, you should dress accordingly.
This means dressing professionally at all times (yes, even when you work from home). Whether you're meeting a potential client or running an errand, it's important to be well-dressed at all times. Cultivate your own style and apply that to your wardrobe and overall grooming. Potential clients are always more receptive towards a well-dressed, confident business owner. Pro tip: Browse some style blogs for ideas or hire an image consultant to spruce up your look.
2. Show up
By the above, I mean show up both physically and mentally when you're faced with a potential client. For let's face it: literally any business person can be your potential client, depending on your niche. Say you attend a networking event. Be prepared to answer questions about your business and your services and be attentive to what the other person says. Good listening skills show that you are fully present and respect the other person. Pro tip: Always prepare your pitch before going to a networking or social event.
3. Draw healthy boundaries
Some people may disagree with me on this, but it has worked for me so far. Be prepared to draw healthy boundaries with your potential clients in terms of the time and effort you are willing to put into their project, as well as how much you expect to get paid for your work. If you do not set your terms at the very outset, don't blame the client for 'cheating' you. Pro tip: Always sign a contract with your clients to avoid future misunderstandings.
4. Network, network, network
I have found that the best clients come via word-of-mouth, namely under recommendations of friends and professional acquaintances. To build a strong professional network, it is important to be authentic, sincere, yet enterprising. Don't go to every networking event pushing your product or service, it will only drive others away.
Pro tip: Always be ready to help, without expecting something in return all the time.
5. Build partnerships
I've observed that some freelancers are unwilling to share knowledge with others and also collaborate with their fellow freelancers. This puts them at a major disadvantage as it narrows their pool of connections and hence, potential clients. I try to collaborate with other freelancers whenever I can and am happy to given them referrals for jobs I am unable to take on and they do the same for me. It's a win-win situation each time, and it can be for you too. Pro tip: Reach out to other freelancers you know and trust to collaborate on projects, either directly or via social media channels.
What strategies do you employ to attract good clients? Would love to hear about your experiences via e-mail at sharmilagw AT gmail dot com.