Advertisement

How to Get More Clients Faster With Templates

by

No matter how well you plan, there will be times when you'll need more clients. During the "famine" periods of your feast and famine cycle, the best thing you can do is cut this time as short as possible.

To do this, you need a system for contacting leads, qualifying them, and converting them into paying clients as fast as possible. Communication templates can help you do this.

These communication templates are email-based, which you can copy, paste, and quickly modify when contacting new prospects. They're useful for the following reasons:

  • Speed: You can research and contact new prospects in batches. This means you can email around 10 potential clients in one sitting, and interview all the qualified ones within the week.
  • Eliminating Excuses: I'm going to admit that I dread contacting strangers, even if they might want to pay me for my work. If you experience a similar hesitation, these feelings may prevent you from contacting leads.

    If you research and contact your leads in batches, you'll only be copying and pasting templates that you've customized earlier. The emailing part only takes a few seconds, so you won't have the chance to hesitate before clicking the "Send" button.

  • Finding Weaknesses. Templates give you a systemized, repeatable process for contacting potential clients. You can find out how many of your prospects show interest in your services, and how many of those interested convert into long-term paying clients. This can help you find the weak spots in your sales process.

Given these benefits, which templates do you need?

The Cold Email

A "cold email" is when you email a prospect you don't know to see if they'll be interested in your services. Unlike referrals where you already know the other party is interested, cold emails are more challenging and intimidating. This is why cold email templates are important - they become less intimidating if they're easier to do. Here's how to do them right:

  • Don't Try to Sell: Your first email to a prospect is only a test for interest. It's too soon for you to start talking about your fees and what services you'll provide.

    Selling too soon may prevent you from finding out that they can pay more than your asking price or they already have in-house staff working on the things you're pitching.

  • Keep it Short: Again, you're just gauging for interest and not pitching. Keep it as short as possible, and invite them to discuss the details later.
  • Make it Unique: Sure, you're using a template, but each cold email you send out needs specifics tailored to each prospect. Otherwise, you're spamming. You're making your process more efficient, not automating it. Also, make sure that the language and style of your templates are suited to the types of clients you're pitching to.
  • Customize Them in Batches: It's easier to feel intimidated when you write a cold email right before sending. To overcome this, write and proofread these cold emails in batches of 5 or 10.

    This means that when you're ready, you'll just paste the finished emails and send them out. You will have less of a personal attachment to each of these emails. Don't worry - not everyone will reply to you so it's not like you'll get ten new clients for every ten emails you send out.

Below is an example of a cold email template for a freelance eBook writer. You can use it as inspiration for a template tailored to your field:

Hello [Prospect's Name],

My name is Jane Doe, and [How did you find out about them?]. [Sincere compliment about their current website and content.]

Anyway, [What are their needs and/or how did you spot it?]. If you want, I can [How can you help?].

Would you be interested in this? If so, please reply to this email so we can talk about the details.

Thanks,

Jane Doe

When this template is filled out, it may look like this:

Hello Aaron,

My name is Jane Doe, and I've been reading your blog for years. Your series on "Selling Information Products" helped me launch my own ebook - which was successful. Your tips made it possible, so thanks!

Anyway, you recently mentioned in your blog that you want to develop another information product but don't have the time or energy. If you want, I can help you develop your information product for you.

Would you be interested in this? If so, please reply to this email so we can talk about the details.

Thanks,

Jane Doe

The Needs Analysis Script

FreelanceSwitch already has a few excellent posts on the questions you should ask prospective clients. If you don't have your own list yet, you can start one from those examples.

Apart from these standard questions, it helps to have a set format when taking notes, so that wrapping up a meeting is easier. For example:

This note-taking template can help you end the meeting with something like "Your business is about [X], and your goal is to [Y]. But, [Z] is preventing you from accomplishing that. Did I get that right?"

It's a neat way to wrap up your first client meetings, without fidgeting or fumbling through your notes.

The Micro-Project Pitch

Ever spent hours on a proposal for a large project, only to find it rejected? Unless a project proposal is absolutely required, it might be better to start off on a smaller project.

Micro-projects like these help you and your new client assess your compatibility. You can use a ready list of 2 to 5 of these micro-projects within a template. Here's an example of the micro-project pitch within an email from a web designer to a potential client:

"[...]Before we commit to a large long term project, it might be a better idea to test the waters with a smaller project first - one that would only take a few weeks to complete. This helps lower your risk by giving you time to test whether our workflows are compatible, and whether my design approach is a good fit for your business. Here are some proposed small projects that we can start with:

A) Homepage Redesign

Description: [1 to 2 sentence description of the micro-project]

Duration: [Project Duration here]

Goal: [Address why this is relevant to your client's goals during needs analysis]

B) Product X's Sales Page Redesign

Description:

Duration:

Goal:

[... and repeat for each micro-project.]

Among these three options, I highly recommend that we start with [pick one of the above options], because [reason relevant to goal or barrier] . Does that work for you? "

With a template like this, you can send something quickly within a day or two after needs analysis. Also, you can easily determine whether the client is really looking to pay for your services, or if they're trying to get a long, detailed look at your ideas for free.

The Proposal

Now for the big guns. If the micro-project works out, or if a proposal is required, it's time to create a custom proposal. Seasoned freelancers usually already have proposal templates, which they use for these situations.

A standardized proposal format often makes things easier, especially if you have repetitive tasks across various clients. For each task included in the proposal, add space where you can include the following:

  • A short non-jargon explanation of what the task is.
  • Why the task is relevant to your client's goals.
  • How the task overcomes or breaks their barriers or obstacles to achieving those goals.
  • And a short list of deliverables they can expect for the task.

All you'll have to do for each proposal is copy and paste the relevant elements, and fill in the blanks depending on each individual client's needs.

Improving Your Success Rate

As mentioned earlier, one benefit to having templates is finding the weaknesses in your system and fix them. Here are some things you can track:

  • Leads: How many people you send cold emails to.
  • Qualified Leads: How many of these leads complete a needs analysis.
  • Paying Clients: How many of the qualified leads approve your micro-project pitches.
  • Long-term Paying Clients: How many of your paying clients commit to more long-term projects (via proposals).

Once you've made enough sales, you can find out where the biggest "leak" in your system is. Do you have positive replies for 50% of the cold emails you send out, and yet only 1% of these convert to paying clients?

Do none of your paying clients convert into long-term paying clients? By being more specific about when you lose or drop your prospects, you can find out which part of your sales process needs improvement.

Also, once you've crunched some numbers, a system like this can help you find out if it's worth it to delegate or outsource some parts of your sales process, such as customizing the templates or listing leads.

Making all these templates sounds like hard work at first, but their effect in the long run may prove to be worth it. Systems like these are just another step towards seeing your freelancing practice as a real business, rather than just a one-man show.

Photo credit: Some rights reserved by Tungphoto.

Advertisement