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How to Approach Potential Clients (Hint: It’s Like Dating)

Approach a potential client by dating them?

What?? No! Don’t do that. Worst idea ever! Seriously.

Here’s the thing. If you date your clients, lo, they will quickly become NOT your clients. Who wants to pay their girlfriend, after all? That’s just … well, that’s something else, is what that is.

Ahem.

But, to approach a potential client you can think of the process like dating. I know that’s not what you want to hear; most of us would rather do our neighbors’ taxes then have to date, but look: not everything about being a writer can be awesome.

Just most things.

So here are a few tips to make this whole approach a potential client like you would a date a little more palatable.

Put Yourself Out There

First off, just like in dating, people need to know you’re available, which means you need to put yourself out there. If people don’t know what you do, they can’t hire you, right? Start telling people that you’re a freelance writer. Stop working all day from home. Instead, go to your local coffee shop. In fact, go to several. Start chatting with people. You would be amazed at the kind of networking you can do at a coffee shop just by being a regular. You might also think about working at a shared office space like wework.com.

Also, make sure everyone on your social media knows you’re a writer. You never know who may have a contact for a new client. It’s sort of like when your Aunt Henrietta wants to introduce you to the son of her Scrabble rival Martha. You roll your eyes and don’t want to do it, but he might just end up being a Golden Retriever breeder who looks like Ryan Gosling. And THEN you’d owe Aunt Henrietta a huge thank you.

Approach a Potential Client with Confidence 

Next, you need to have confidence. This is something we all know, but often have a hard time implementing. But as an independent contractor, it’s the most important tool you have besides your creativity. It might arguably be more important than creativity, because if you don’t have confidence when approaching a potential client, then they will never know you’re a genius who can rhyme like Maya Angelou.

So go into every situation where you approach a potential client with the confidence of a seasoned professional. The truth is, as writers, we all suffer from low self-confidence in our writing. That’s totally normal, and you can accept that in your heart, but outwardly you have to fake it till you make it. Clients are putting their trust in you, and you need to exude the kind of confidence that lets them know it’s well placed. Would you want to go on a date with a guy or girl who doesn’t think they deserve you? No. Ew. And if you do … well, you should stop reading this blog post and call your therapist.

Follow-Up, But Don’t Be Annoying

Lastly, the follow-up. Everyone likes it if after a really great date, the person calls or texts to say they had a good time and would like to see you again. It’s the same with approaching a potential client. You need to follow up with them. Even if it’s just to say you had a great time talking to them, and give them your website, a link to some work you’ve done or an answer to a question they had. Let them know you are prompt, professional and available. It’s a busy world out there … people need a little reminder now and then.

Make sure you’re not annoying, though. The guy who waits 3.5 seconds to call you after getting your number better be that Ryan Gosling retriever-breeder, that’s all I’m saying. Instead, give it a little time, then get in touch. If you can, insert a little humor in your missive so that, if nothing else, at least your potential client gets a laugh out of you before deleting your email forever. More often than not, though, an appropriate outreach will generate a good response.

Hope you find these tips helpful! If you have any questions, feel free to email me through the contact form on the website!


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