Monday, November 3, 2008

Freelance Writing: How to transform a Prospect into a Client

For many freelance writers, the hardest step is getting your foot in the door of a new corporate client's office. But, in reality, keeping your foot in the door - that is, transforming a prospect into a client - is a far bigger challenge, especially when you're starting out.

Generally, your first instinct is to tell your prospect anything and everything about yourself and what you can offer. I think it's smarter to balance this with a number of questions that are aimed at not only gathering information but also demonstrating your expertise as well as your interest in the client's affairs.

Here's a handful of questions you can ask potential clients:

  • What are your products and services?
  • What are your target markets (ie industries which require your services)?
  • Who are your target audiences (ie Managing Director/CEO level or technical staff etc)?
  • Who are your major competitors?
  • What is your USP (Unique Selling proposition or competitive advantage - why should someone buy from your client rather than the competition)?
  • Do you have a sales force or resellers (this can determine what kinds of marketing communications you can offer your client - ie internal/external newsletter, direct mail letters, sales presentations, videos etc)?
  • How do you market your products (what kinds of communications do you currently use - eg advertising, PR, DM etc)?
  • Are they conducted internally or through an agency (you can offer a solution to fit ? eg you can provide overload or consulting services for internal staff and co-ordinate projects with their agency)?
As you can see, these questions can provide you with a lot of information about your client's business, their marketing strategies as well as identify opportunities for your literary services. Now, you are in a far better position to develop and sell literary solutions that meet your new client's needs.

That's the key - developing solutions that meet their needs.

Let's face it, there is no shortage of writers out there. But there is a shortage of writers who are prepared to tailor their services to suit specific requirements and market themselves accordingly.

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