September 2021 “When and How to Use Direct Contact for Reaching Out to Potential Clients”
Many freelancers and service providers market in broad strokes, hoping to catch the attention of a large number of people and praying that several of them will be motivated enough to actually give their services a try.
However, in order to get clients, you usually have to answer their unspoken question, “What’s in it for me?” This might require more direct input, helping you forge connections with potential clients. Through developing a relationship with them, they are much more likely to be willing to give you a try. If they give your business a try and like you, this could be the beginning of their becoming loyal to your brand.
There are several ways to use direct contact to connect with prospective customers. Here are just a few suggestions.
Your Customer Service Box
Pay attention to the people who contact you directly, treating every one of them like a prospect. Be polite and courteous. Set up a reminder for yourself, or your assistant, to contact them again in a week to see if they have any further questions. This kind of follow-up will stand out in their mind.
Face to Face
Carry business cards (I use to not do this) with you everywhere. Take business cards from others as well. Write notes on the back as to what your follow-up steps should be. Sticky notes and a pen will also work to remind you of the person’s contact details and the information you promised to send, such as a special cheat sheet or handout. Always position yourself as a problem solver.
You can meet prospects anywhere, including standing in line for coffee, so pay attention to your appearance (80% of the sale) even if you work from home and are just popping out for a few minutes to grab a latte. If you live in a large city, there are often industry-related networking events. The local Chamber of Commerce will also usually have a calendar of live events (one of the best resources you can find). They are always looking for interesting speakers as well, so if you have a hot topic within your niche, don’t be afraid to offer your time. You’ll get plenty of free publicity in exchange.
Trade shows and conferences are ideal places to meet clients and mingle with important people in your niche or industry. Even getting just a small booth gives you (and your staff) the chance to get walk-by traffic and increase your visibility. Remember, people do business with people they like, so be personable and sincere.
On the Phone
Some people still prefer the old-fashioned telephone. If they leave a message, be sure to phone them back in a timely manner. Telemarketing can also be very challenging do to the overload of spam calling.
Pay attention to the people who like, comment and share regularly. If they are connected with you, you should be able to contact them via Messenger or other direct means of contact to say you’ve noticed them, appreciate them following you, and would like to know if you can help them in some way. Also, catchy short (30 seconds) entertaining video’s showcasing your products and services can get you notices but be creative.
Take advantage of your email marketing lists by sending out useful newsletters once a month (kind of like this one), with special offers and the latest news – such as new services you are offering. Of course, you have to get them on the list first, so be sure to offer a free eCourse or eBook that helps solve a common problem in your niche. When you connect with people on social media, you can also give them the landing page for the free item and invite them to check it out.
Personalize your approach in getting new clients using these ideas, and you will find more people who will be willing to give you a try. Continuous self-improvement is the key to success in anything that you set your mind to.
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- James R. Ball