Writers Worth: Winning Clients

Right now, I’m probably a groggy, foggy mess. My surgery was yesterday and I’m hoping I’m not aching, though I suspect I am. I’m told they’ll get me up today to stand and get to a chair, so that sounds very promising. Since I’m writing this four days before, I can only guess that I’ll be feeling like I mingled with a Mack truck and lost.

As mentioned on Wednesday, this is the month for understanding and appreciating one person — you. It’s about getting to know your worth, your market value, and asserting yourself as a serious business person. Part of that includes understanding how to approach clients.

Because I had a ton of work to clear up before surgery, I’m posting strategies that come straight from my Marketing 365 book. This one is something I practice with every client interaction. It’s a simple, psychological shift that makes a ton of difference:

97. Treat them like they’re already clients.
Want to secure their business? Treat them like you already
have it. When I have a client on the fence, I offer a free consultation. I use
that opportunity to help them see the bigger picture – how I can improve their
communications and help them reach their goals. The talk is generally of the
“How can I help you get this done?” variety.

Conspire with potential clients as you would any paying
client. Talk to them about industry issues, share links, and get into informal
conversations with them. 

Sounds simple, right? It is. Talk with your clients like they’re your friends. Remember when you were in that team at school or at work? Everyone was sharing ideas. Maybe you were the shy one, but consider that your “team” is full of people who need you to get the ball rolling. That’s where your confidence should be.
Now that you’ve got that, here’s where to go with it.
Offer “what if” scenarios. Clients who are talking with you want to hire you — give them a reason. Partner with them in the way you talk about their projects. “What if we…” or “How about this idea…” goes miles beyond the hard sell. When you toss out scenarios and ideas, you’re now on their side. You’re rooting for them. They feel it and hear it in what you’re saying.

Be the confidant. I had a client fire me recently only to hire me right back. We got to talking and I let the emotion that I could have felt go entirely. It was just business, so I asked if she was attending a particular conference. Twenty-five minutes later, she’d spilled her guts and offered to champion me to the boss. You can do something similar by listening and presenting a non-judgmental front when someone hints at discord or upset.
Ask what they’d like. I mention it in the strategy above, and it’s an effective tool for creating a bond with a client. “How can I help you?” shows them you’re now listening. Everyone wants to be heard, and by asking them to define what they need, you’ve found a way to get them thinking about you as a part of the solution before they even present the problem.
How has treating potential clients like they’re already clients worked for you? What else works to instill confidence before you ask for the job?

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  • Damaria Senne May 10, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    I hope your surgery went well, Lori.

  • Lori May 29, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    It did, Damaria. Things got a little dicey there afterward, but I'm happy to report I'm feeling much better.