Some Thoughts on Approaching New Clients

Some Thoughts on Approaching New Clients

Friend and fellow freelancer Melissa wrote me an email I thought I should share:

I have a couple process questions for you. 🙂 So I’m deciding that I’ll try to approach some businesses that I am naturally curious/ passionate about to see if they would want to utilize my services. I’m thinking of talking with our local Historic Downtown association to see if they wanted any help with their social media and web content. In particular, I’m interested in promoting their Farmer’s Market. Do you have any suggestions regarding the best way to introduce myself? Email? Phone call? In person? If I were to start doing some social media things, how would you approach the fees? Monthly? By project? Thanks for your thoughts.
First of all, Melissa, great questions! It’s great to work with people you respect and are excited about.
I wrote her back, and these are some of my thoughts…

Research You Clients First

I’d start by researching:
  • What are they already doing? Maybe they have this taken care of already? Maybe what they’re doing is crap:-).
  • What are other associations like theirs doing? If you can reference successful projects already happening, and show them the benefit of your services, that might be a good place to start.

Who to Connect With

As far as introductions go:
  • I’d find out if they have a marketing department. That’s who you’re going to chat with, probably. Also, see if they work/have worked with freelancers. That experience (or lack thereof) might be something you’ll need to overcome.
  • I’d call, show that you’re willing to get on the phone or meet in person with folks, and not some lame-o who sits in their pajamas all day (which is what I do sometimes, but they don’t have to know that!;-)).
  • Try to get to a decision maker as quickly as possible. You don’t want to be in limbo with this for someone who’s got no say in what’s happening.

Negotiation and What’s Best for the Client

And the $$$:
  • This is negotiable, and what you feel like you need and what they’re willing to pay.
    • They might be looking for exactly what you’re offering (see the research section above), and will hire you as a freelancer for $10k a year just to manage their stuff for them, so they don’t have to hire someone on full time (one of the beauties of being a contract worker!).
    • They might NOT need/want/care about what you’re offering, and so what they’re willing to pay will be lower.
  • I’d go for a monthly “retainer”, and let them know what they’re getting:
    • “For $X/month, I’ll provide A.”
    • And you can tier the pricing so they know they have options, and they might want a custom package as well, so you might say:
      • “For $X/month, I’ll provide A.”
      • “For $XX/month, I’ll provide A + B.”
      • “For $XXX/month, I’ll provide A + B + C.”
      • And then they might say, “Well, we don’t need B, but we’d like A and half of C, what would that cost?”
  • Remember: It’s all about them. What benefit are they getting out of your service???
Let me know if that’s helpful. Is there anything else you would add?
Cheers,
Nate
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