In this line of work, there’s always a balance that has to be struck between the creativity and the administrative extremes of the business. It’s the whole right-brain-left-brain thing. You must produce good work for the client. That falls under “creative.” But you must also learn how to develop new business through networking and sales. That falls under the “business” side of things. If you have spent any time reading about selling, you have probably heard the little piece of wisdom that says to “know your target.” In other words, know who you are going after. Research those businesses. Who are they? What do they do? What do they offer? What do they like/dislike? It’s fundamental to many different arenas of life. So, I found it interesting when I received two emails this past week from the same company, offering me a particular service. And what were they offering? Video production. The email talked about how they could produce marketing videos for me and how I could increase my exposure and sales by using video. I had to write back and politely point out that I am not a good target for their services, because, you know what, I do the exact same thing. Know your audience. Take the time to do the research. It lends credibility to you, because it shows your potential customer/client that you respect them and their time.
Posts Tagged ‘leads’
Business leads are great. As a young entrepreneur or freelancer, leads give you a boost of encouragement. However, those leads are worthless if you can’t keep track of them. And if you can’t keep track of them, more than likely you won’t be able to close the deal.
For me, it seems that leads start pouring in while I’m buried with other jobs, making it easier for those leads to fall between the cracks. It’s important to have some kind of management system in place so that you can organize your leads and follow up promptly.
This doesn’t have to be some sophisticated database, but it does need to provide you with some basic information:
The last item on the list is one of the most important things to keep track of. It tells you how close you are to closing the deal. I also like to make a note of how my contacts find me. This helps gauge the effectiveness of my marketing strategies.
I use Evernote to manage my leads, and I keep everything in a simple list form. Using Evernote is helpful for me because the information will sync between my iPhone and my desktop. So, if I’m out on a shoot and a new lead pops up, I can quickly make a note of it on my phone and have that information when I get back to my office.
What method works best for you?
The office phone rings. You pick it up and on the other end is someone interested in hiring you for their services. You grab a nearby notebook and pen and start jotting down notes as he/sh discuss what their company needs. As the conversation continues, you start to realize that this will be a very exciting and very profitable project. It’s a great moment for a small business owner or freelancer, but sometimes even quality leads can fizzle. It’s the nature of the business. Projects get put on hold for various reasons – no money, new CEO, a new board rotates on, the committee can’t agree on details, your contact gets distracted, etc. Once I was very close to signing a contract with a potential client, but the project was shelved when the company started dealing with some major internal issues. Some leads are extremely courteous and will let you know what’s going on. Others simply drop off the face of the earth. What can you do as a small business owner or freelancer when projects get put on hold?
Projects are often shelved because marketing and advertising is the first thing on the choppping block for many businesses. Try not to let it discourage you. You never know when that job might re-surface.
Part of being a successful freelancer or small business owner is having a specific vision for the type of work you want to go after. Early in your career, however, you might have to take jobs you wouldn’t ordinarily accept. But what happens when you are a few years into your career and a job is offered to you that doesn’t exactly fit with your vision? When should you take it and when should you pass?
Always consider the kind of reputation you are building. Evaluate it and make sure it’s a reputation that fits in with your goals.
When I first started in my business, one of the biggest things I worried about was the caliber of my work. After landing work with those early clients, I was afraid that they would hate the final product once it was delivered. I was unsure of my abilities. I was faced with a lot of doubt early on. Although I had plenty of production experience as a college student and as a freelancer, I knew that there was a lot yet to be learned. And I knew that working for someone else on a particular shoot is a lot different than running your own business.
Perhaps you are currently facing a similar situation. You’re passionate about your creative work – whether it be video production, writing, graphic design, web design, etc. – but you’re just getting started and don’t yet have a strong reel or portfolio. You want to make it on your own, but struggle with self confidence. If you’re in this situation, remember the adage, “Never let them see you sweat.”
It may be simplistic to say this, but despite your own fears, you have to maintain a self-assured appearance. Always portray confidence, no matter what. A potential client can pick up on self-doubt from the moment of the first hand shake. Here are a few reminders:
Remember, the more confidence you demonstrate to your leads, the more inclined they will be to hire you. It won’t be easy. It will be slow and sometimes it will be very discouraging. But don’t let those slow periods drain you of your own self-worth. If you’re passionate enough about what you do, it will pay off.