I’m pretty sure any freelancer, doesn’t matter if they are brand new or a twenty-year veteran, has asked the question, “How the h*ll do I find some freaking clients?” This isn’t about winning clients (A completely separate post, that I will get to next week) but how to approach prospects and qualifying which would be a good fit.
Before you ever communicate with a prospective client, you have to find leads. Now you can easily flip open the phone book, and start calling, but this approach will likely require long hours, discouraging work, and minimal returns. In order to find the best clients and have the most success, you will need to qualify your leads.
Qualifying leads is almost like you are reviewing cover letters before you contact promising candidates for an interview. The most successful way to find leads is to have a way to gather appropriate information. This can be in the form of an email list or a survey on your website. Though the prospects who complete this have already shown a high interest in your services, there is likely many more great clients who never filled out your form. Try researching businesses that fit your ideal client, and create a list. This list will become your leads.
The least amount of effort is the cold call. Though you can call, it is often easier to write an email to try to garner interest. It should be noted that cold calling has a very low rate of success. The only way to successful generate leads from this method is to make it up in volume. Try to set an entire day where all you do is prospect for clients.
Aside from referrals (which requires clients to begin with), the best bang for your buck is to become involved within the community. Take an active part in local organizations like the Freemasons, Rotary Club, or church because it will give you the venue in which you can naturally develop relationships with the type of people you want for a client. One of the best places for a freelancer to find business is the local chamber of commerce.
Lead generation through social networking is an art. There is no series of steps that will automatically turn an acquaintance into a client, but some advice is to be friendly. Omione has written an article that explains why some businesses would rather work with someone who is easy to get along with rather than the most qualified. The catch is that you still have to be qualified for the job, so don’t try for something you know you cannot deliver. Think of social networking as a way to display the personality portion of your resume.