Did you know that the average salesperson only makes two attempts to reach a prospect? As a freelancer, you might not feel like much of a salesman. But you are one. If you want to cold pitch or land gigs through referrals, then you need to know how to pitch and follow up.
According to The Marketing Donut, 80% of sales require five follow-up phone calls after the first meeting. That might seem like a lot of work, but it’s worth it. Land a client and they can form a part of your income stream for years to come.
So now you know why you should always follow up with potential freelance clients. Here’s the best way to do it:
1. Time it right
So you’ve had a great initial first meeting or call with a potential client. You probably feel excited about getting started and want to follow up immediately.
At this point, it’s important to give the potential client some space. If you’re too eager it can end up annoying them and hindering your prospects at landing the job. As a general rule, five to seven days is a good buffer to after your first meeting. Then you can send out your first follow up email.
2. Connect on social media
If you haven’t already, after your first meeting is a great time to connect with your prospect on social media. Follow them on Twitter and connect with them on LinkedIn. If they have a business page on Facebook, make sure you like it! If you and your client use any of your other social profiles (Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) for professional purposes, follow them there as well.
Connecting on social media is a nice way to keep you in the forefront of the prospect’s thoughts without continuing to pitch to them directly.
3. Ask for more information
When it’s finally time to send out your first follow up email, make sure it’s specific. The last thing your prospect wants to read is something like this:
I’m just following up about our meeting last week. I look forward to working together.
Hope to hear from you soon,
An email like that is giving your prospect an ultimatum. Either respond with “Yes, let’s work together,” or “No, I’m not interested.”
Instead, you should think of a follow-up email as an opportunity to continue the conversation. Ask for more information, and give your prospect the opportunity to set up another meeting. Here’s a great example for a freelance web designer:
It was great chatting with you on the phone the other day. After learning more about your website needs, I think we’d be a really good fit to work together. I’ve attached a couple of samples of other websites I designed that have some of the features you were asking about.
I was wondering how you felt about using Angularjs for your site? It’s a design option that might give us more freedom to customize the site.
How about we set up another call to chat about it? Here are a few times I’m available:
- Between 2 and 5 PM on the 14th
- From 9-11 on the 16th
- Any time on the 17th
Look forward to hearing from you,
With a follow-up email like that, you show how you’re a good fit for the job, open up the project to further discussion, and make it easy to set up a time to chat.
4. Know when to quit
Just because most prospects require 5 follow-ups after the first meeting doesn’t mean you should do that with every single prospect. It’s usually pretty easy to tell if a prospect is warm or cold. If after your first follow up email they don’t respond, wait a few days and send one more. If they don’t respond to that one either, then that prospect probably isn’t interested in working with you.
If a prospect does reply to your followups with even mild interest, then that’s your sign to keep at it. Try to keep the conversation going using talking points like the ones in the sample email above. A responsive prospect will probably give you a definitive yes or no if you keep at it.
Pitching and following up is never a fun process for freelancers. You’re putting yourself out there for rejection every time. And realistically, most of the time rejection is what you’ll receive. But you’ll never be able to land your dream clients if you don’t follow up at all. So keep at it and hold out for the payoff.
Remember: If a Client does ask you to stop following up, stop following up. But until you hear that, it’s your responsibility to keep trying.
Let’s win together in 2019!
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