How Should I Approach Potential Clients?

by Anne Wayman

say hello to writing clientsHi Anne,

I have trouble approaching possible clients, I’m not sure what to do or what to say.

What do you suggest?

NV

Hi NV,

I find that if I’m hesitant about approaching a possible client it’s because I’m worrying about me and not thinking about how I can be of service to them.

Think about it for a moment. You’re approaching a potential client in hopes they will hire you, but they won’t hire you if you can’t solve a problem they have. And I’d be willing to bet that if you can’t solve their problem you don’t want them to hire you.

When I approach a client I work to make sure I have an attitude of how can I help?

It really starts with a simple ‘hello.’ Even when cold calling, it works that way. I’m really looking for the client who needs a writer to solve a problem. I know when I find a problem I can solve, I’m almost there. Sure, we’ve got to negotiate the price and the method, but the key is the problem I can solve.

Be sure you know what your writing skills are. Start with ‘hello,’ ask if they ever need some writing done, then just listen. The more carefully you listen the more likely you are to find a way to be of real, valuable service. Be yourself, the self that truly wants to be of service. A bit of practice and I’m sure it will get easier for you.

How do you approach potential clients?

Got a question about freelance writing? Send me an email with Q&A in the subject line and I’ll probably answer it here.

[sig]

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Mitch January 21, 2011 at 12:06 am

It’s interesting that you talk about freelance writing here, but it pretty much applies to almost every vocation, including writing. Truthfully, it’s not as easy as it seems, but it probably is the way to work at it.
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annew January 21, 2011 at 1:36 pm

Yeah, I’ve added ‘freelancer’ to my search terms and have at least a small following of folks who are in business for themselves but are not writers. I’d love more.

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Sal January 17, 2011 at 9:34 pm

Anne,

Sometimes the listening part can be the most tricky part. I am only speaking for myself, but I have to say hello, ask if they ever need any writing done and then adhere duct tape from ear to ear (making sure not covering the ear holes, however). I have found the person to talk first after that is the one who loses.

Now, I’m not implying the client is actually losing anything, but more so, if I am the first one to speak, I end up lacking a job or project. Have you found that same sort of thing to be true?
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annew January 18, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Sal, I love the image with the duct tape! I know exactly what you mean. I’m actually turning deep listening into a practice of sorts.

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