I’m not going to pretend I’m a guru on client connection. I can only tell you what has worked for me.
Who Is Your Ideal Client?
In order to find and connect with your ideal customers, you first have to have a good idea who they are. There are several ways that you could think about this. For example, you could think back to the clients you most enjoyed working for. What was it that made that particular working relationship stand out for you? Perhaps you had a good rapport or maybe the client trusted your expertise and left you to get on with doing the best job you could.
Whatever it is, if you think about it for a while you will soon identify what made that client relationship stand out for you. Think about other great client relationships and find out what they have in common. Start making a list of the qualities that your ideal client will have. Dare to dream here — this is an ideal world we are talking about. My ideal client has a fun job for me to do in an area where I am an expert, offers my ideal pay rate or more, is a pleasure to work with and pays on time. What’s yours?
What Industry Appeals To You?
Another approach is to think of the business or industry you want to write about. That might be easier to identify than a dream client. Put your research skills to use to find your ideal industry. Think of it as a game of hide and seek with the client of your dreams as the ultimate goal.
Start looking for the kinds of companies you want to be associated with, perhaps through the job boards or by doing a Google search for the terms which really get you excited. I love blogging jobs so I am always looking for companies that have something different to offer in this arena. To give another example which works for writers, you can do a search for sites which include the words “write for us” along with the keyword of the niche you’re interested in. That will help you to identify writing opportunities.
You’ve Identified Your Opportunity- Now What?
Once you’ve completed these steps then it’s time to connect. There are two things you need to do. First, your potential client will research you just as you researched the client. Make it easy by having your own website. That is where you can present the information about yourself to answer clients’ questions before they ask them. Have this ready before you do the second part — that’s where you actually approach the client.
Approaching Your Client
It may surprise you to know that this part is not my greatest strength, though I get by. I am not a great salesperson and make no mistake, even though it’s subtle, your initial approach is about selling your services to the client. Your client wants to know how you can meet his or her needs — that’s the question you need to answer, both with your website and with your pitch.
How I Do It
Here’s my strategy — and it’s worked well for me in the past whenever I don’t already have an introduction or referral (which is how I get most of my business). I look at the potential client’s site, check on Google rankings, type of content and what the business is. Then I see how I could make a difference and prepare a bullet pointed list which I’ll use as a reference when we talk or email. Of course, I don’t want to say that the client is doing it all wrong. That wouldn’t get the relationship off to a good start. But it doesn’t hurt to suggest improvements.
Create Your Job Description
Another way to do it is to put yourself in the client’s shoes and create a job description for the services he needs. Then write out a cover letter addressing those points. That will show how you are right for that client.
Finally, don’t forget that there’s more to connecting with clients than working with the single person you’re focusing on now. That person may work with others who might also hire you at some point. Never lose an opportunity to highlight your skills and services. One of most enduring clients was helping an old client of mine who was a friend of his. When that first job ended, he hired me on his own account — and I worked with him for about four years.
Where do you find your ideal clients and how do you connect with them? I’d love to hear from you about what has worked for you.
Image: Nico Kaiser