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Freelancers: Do you confuse your prospects until they run away?

You have experienced it yourself:

Someone approaches you at a business event and asks: "So what do you do?"

You stumble a response like:

"I am a coach."
"I am a designer." 
"I provide solutions."
"Well, it's complicated.." 

At best, you see a question mark on the forehead of the other person, so you start explaining: 

"I studied psychology. But then I didn't like the idea of only listening to the problems of other people for the rest of my life. So I wondered what else could I do. I got interested in organic farming. There was this one book that I read..." 

You see the other person getting more nervous with every sentence you say. 
She is looking around in the room, trying to find an excuse to escape that conversation with you. "That sounds interesting! Oh, there is my friend over there. I am back in a minute.." 

And gone she is.
When you meet her again during the event, she smiles at you and walks in another direction. And you have lost a potential ideal client or a critical JV partner. 

The good news is: 
It's not about you. 
It's not about what you offer. 
You are great at what you are doing. 
And no, you don't need to get a day job that you hate. 

There is only one thing you need to do. 

It makes the difference between leaving events with new clients and JV partners and frustration and self-doubt. 

This is what you need to do:
You need to be able to introduce yourself in a few sentences that clarify: 

a) how your ideal clients look like and
b) what kind of problems you help them solve. 

These are the two main ingredients to start with.

You can add more ingredients later, but for the beginning, I recommend you to keep it as simple as possible. The more complex your message, the higher the chances that you confuse others. 

All you need to do now is: 

1. Take 5-15 minutes of your time

2. Answer these two questions on a sheet of paper or a document:

1) What do my ideal clients have in common? 
2) With what problems do most of them come to me? 
3) What do you do differently than others?

If you are already in business, go through the list of your existing customers. Look for those with whom you like to work the most. All you need to do is to write the details down. 

If you are just starting, don't try to find the one, perfect answer.. it doesn't exist.
Instead, think of it as a brainstorming process. You can be creative and contemplate about how your favorite clients would look like. 

Once you have your list of answers, it's time to categorize them. 
Put similar answers together and find one word that describes all the answers. 

A practical example


Let's say you are a designer. 
Here is how your ideal clients and the problems that you solve could look like: 

client 1: 
- Five employees
- organizes local cultural events
- gets most of his customers through bills and flyers
- The CEO believes in sustainability. He expects high quality and short response times 
- they don't have their own marketing team 
- problem: reaching enough prospects to fill the event 

client 2: 
- 15 employees
- produces software for big companies
- needs infographics to visualize what his software can do for his clients
- Has one employee who does marketing only. She is expecting fast delivery and short response times 
- problem: make prospects understand the sophisticated software so that they buy it. 

client 3: 
- Seven employees
- a local shop 
- needs printed ads for his weekly special offers
- no marketing team
- need fast delivery of the graphical work
- problem: get enough customers into the shop through special offers 

What you do differently:
- You have set up a system that allows you to react within 2 hours on workdays because many clients ask for it. 

With that list, you can write down what your ideal customers have in common:

- They have 5-15 employees
- look for short response times and high quality 
- and want to get more clients through graphical work like infographics, ads, and flyers. 

And that is all you need to create a short introduction for yourself. It wakes interest instead of boring people to death: 

1) Complete the sentence with the following structure:
"I help ____ to get _____ through ______." Then add what sets you apart from the rest. 

For example: 
"I help small businesses to get more clients through infographics, flyers, and ads. They except short response times, so I have set up a system that guarantees an answer within 2 hours on any workday." 

How does that sound like, compared to "I am a designer"?
If you would be a company that needs infographics in time, you would want to hear more. 

Or if you have a friend that always complains. His designer needs days to respond, and you would be happy to make the connection. And this is only the first draft. 

Now it's time to get real-life feedback.
Ask friends, colleagues, and your existing clients what they think of your introduction. Use it whenever someone asks you what you do. And improve it over time with the feedback that you get. 

Having a clear introduction can have a positive impact on your life (and finances).

An example: 

- Let's say you get to know two people per week on average where you introduce yourself.
- Two people per week = 112 per year 
- Let us assume that average customer spends 1000 $ with you (can also be over a more extended period), just as an example
- Until now, through 1 out of 30 people, you get a new client. Either through a direct referral, a like or share on social media or they become a client themselves. 

- 112 / 30 = 3,7 new clients per year = 3700 $ per year through networking 

Now the rate changes because of your clear introduction.
Instead of 1 out of 30, 1 out of 2 people lead to a new client. 

- 112 / 10 = 11,2 new clients per year = 11.200 $ per year. 


That is a plus of 7.500 $ per year! 

In 2 years, the difference is 15.000$.
In 5 years, the difference is 37.500 $. 

The figures are imaginary, but I want to use them to make you aware of one thing: 
It pays off to invest the time to come up with a clear introduction!


Conclusion

If you don't know how to introduce yourself:

- people feel bored,
- you leave potential clients on the table
- and might doubt yourself. 

Investing the time to come up with a clear introduction leads to interest, more clients. It makes you feel better about yourself because you can do the work you love and don't need to worry about money. 

If you liked this article, please let me know in a comment. 
That way, I get to know what topics interest you.

I wish you a lot of fun creating your clear introduction that leads to more clients!
All the best to you, 
Thomas 

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Freelancers: Do what you love.. or lose your customers

I know, it sounds wired:

If you do marketing only to get more clients, you will probably lose them. 

If you do more of what you love and make it public, clients will find you.

When you have read this article to the end, you'll understand how turning it to practice; it's simple logic that two things will happen:

1) you find more satisfaction in what you do and sleep better
2) your customers turn into fans and spread the word.

Here is the story:

In 2015, I was living in a shared flat in Berlin with six other online business owners.
It was a crazy think tank full of ideas and inspiration.

When I went to the kitchen for breakfast, I often found myself still there 3 hours later.. in an in-depth conversation about online marketing or a coaching session.

Back then, I was still in the early stages of my former business for highly sensitive people.
It was snowballing, but I was wondering how I could reach more people.

Some of my flatmates focused heavily on SEO.
They challenged themselves to write an article per day to rank higher on Google.


It sounded great - write an article once, get more clients forever.

I was sold. The problem was: I hated writing at that time.

But I joined there challenge.
Together we started our day in our private coworking space (aka "living room"). The room didn't have big windows. You could hear the big street in close distance.

I forced myself to sit there, trying to come up with something.
It didn't work.

After three days, I, frustrated and angry at myself for not being able to do what seemed to be so easy for my friends.

How would I reach more people?
How could I support them when they didn't even know that I exist?

My mind didn't have an answer.

But a few days later, something unexpected happened.

By coincidence, I stumbled upon the analytics of my Youtube account.

Yes, I had a youtube channel back then. I had started to shoot videos an put them online.

You might not know: I was working at a cameraman on TV and that I can go crazy about camera gear, microphones, and film sets.

So I just loved shooting videos. I talked about my experience as a highly sensitive person in a society that is not made for empaths.

I wasn't even aware that others might watch them. Youtube just seemed to be a great place to store them. Until that day, when I stumbled upon my channel analytics.

How I got my first 1.000 subscribers


I sat there, astonished:
1.000 subscribers. Around 25.000 views.
Comments from people telling me how grateful they were for the videos.

By following my heart, I had done the right thing to reach my audience.
Without a second agenda ( = getting more clients).

Now, in 2019, my old youtube channel has 6.650 subscribers and is close to 1.000,000 views. I needed to look it up again because I still don't care about the figures. I care about doing what I love. It's nice to know that other people find them helpful, but still - it's not the primary reason why I create videos.

To conclude: 


- I do what I love, it satisfies me, and I sleep well.
- I get a lot of emails from people who tell me that they heard from someone else about my work and that they helped them a lot.


So..no matter how your marketing looks like:
I hope for you that you built it around what you love.
Otherwise, you should change it today.

Because if you don't enjoy it, you'll lose energy every time you do marketing.
Even worse: Your audience will notice that you don't love what you do. They might not realize it consciously, but they will feel it.

We all love to buy from people who love what they do. So do your customers. 

​​What are your thoughts on this?
Let's take the conversation to the comment section.

Wishing you all the best,
Thomas

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How to get customers attention without manipulation

It’s easy to sell toilet paper.
Everyone needs it, and everyone knows how to use it.
But what if your clients don’t understand the benefits of your work?
How to get customers‘ attention?


Your customers get sometimes stuck in their problems.
All they know is that they have a problem and that it is painful. Your clients only know what they don’t want.

Let’s take an example and assume that you are a healing practitioner. You help your clients through Greenberg sessions.

Your client thinks:
„I have back pain and want to get rid of it! “

Now, this is what many healing practitioners do:
They explain in great detail how their method works, who invented it, and how amazing it is:

„I am using the XYZ technique. It’s incredible… no matter what problem you have, it will solve it!“

But that’s not what your client wants to hear.
You won’t get customers‘ attention like that. All he can think of is his pain. It’s dominant in his perception. He can’t even think of a solution.. all he can think of is the pain that he has.


Freelancers: How to get customers‘ attention in five easy steps


1. Let your client know that you understand him and his pain.

2. Tell him that you know how to relieve that pain and how many back pain clients you already helped in the past. Chances are high that your customer starts paying attention.

3. Stop talking and listen to him. If he is willing to let go of the pain, he will ask the right questions to find out if he wants to work with you or not.

4. Answer his questions. That usually leads to step 5:

5. Make an appointment for a session to relieve his pain.


Congratulations, you got a new client!
But wait.. you usually don’t stumble into people who tell you about their back pain. So what do you do?

You go to the places where your clients hang out, both on the internet and in the real world.
The great thing is – you don’t need to go there in person. You can write something and put it there, in the form of an article, blog post, or flyer.

Write an appealing text that catches the interest of people with back pain.
Publish it as a blog article, on linked in, Fb or other social media platforms. Alternative:
You can also design a flyer, print it and put it in places where people with back pain hang around


Ingredients for an attention-grabbing text


Make sure to include these five elements to get your customer's attention:

- Headline with understanding problem
- Solution
- How they get the solution
- Testimonials
- Contact information


Caution – before you print a thousand flyers, make sure that the text works!

This is how you do it: 
1. Ask former or current clients if they would do you a favor

2. Show them the text – in the best case you are sitting next to them so that you can observe their direct reaction

3. Ask them if your writing is clear, and if they would make an appointment if they had back pain. Also, ask if they have any other questions.

4. Don’t explain anything! If they tell you that they didn’t understand a sentence, write it down,

5. Update your text and show it to them again.

6. Repeat until they get what you want to communicate.

7. Check grammar and typography for any mistakes. Have someone proofread the text.

8. Add a portrait picture of yourself


Ok, now you are ready to publish the text.

You can use it in creative ways:
- Tell friends and family members that you can solve back pain (or whatever problems you solve). Ask them if they know someone with back pain. Give them your text and ask if they would be willing to give it to that person(s).

- Put a link in your email signature to the text.

- Put the text in places where your customers hang around. In our example you could ask in the nearby gym if you can put your text on the notice board.

General tips on how to get customers' attention:


Always think of your text as a first draft.
That takes away the pressure of perfectionism.

Don’t overthink. Go out and get real-world feedback from other human beings. You can only assume what they need to read to understand what you want to say. Ask them.

Think of the text as a little to do that you finish in 30 minutes (for the first round). It’s not a big deal unless you make it one.

If you feel afraid, stuck, or unclear, you can relax. That’s normal. Embrace the feelings, don’t believe in them and go on, step by step.

Improving your text is a process. It will never be „perfect“ or „finished“. There is always a next, better version.


Final thoughts on how to get customers‘ attention

Being in business means being in service.
If you want to support your clients, you need to put them first. They are not interested in what you want to tell them; they want to solve their problem.

It’s not personal, which is a good thing.
Because that also means that you don’t need to take feedback on your text personal. If you are afraid of what others think, if you are scared to publish the text.. then you should do some inner work to avoid that your feelings hold you back from reaching out to your clients.

The moment your clients realize that:
a) you understand them and
b) that you offer a solution,
they become interested in it. The rest happens by itself.

If you know how to get customers‘ attention, it is not only easy but also fun.
You don’t need to force someone into buying. Instead, you can let your customers decide if what you offer fits them. 

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