It’s a common scenario: you’re excited about a really great prospective client, you’d love to work for them, but time goes by and either you don’t hear from them at all, or you get turned down. It’s demoralizing, it wastes your time, and you don’t want it to happen again. Unfortunately, we’ve all been there…
However, nobody is doomed to face rejection after rejection. With the right tactics and tools, you can really boost your prospect conversion rates, and you won’t need to scatter dozens of pitches at unlikely potential clients in the hope that one will accept your proposal, either.
Below, we’re going to look at six great, surefire ways to turn good prospects into great clients with the least pain and most gain possible. Let’s go!
1. Offer Incentives and Motivators to Prospects
The first surefire way to attract a client is to offer incentives or motivators – these are essentially bait to make your potential client sign up, and therefore they’ve got to be something that makes your services more attractive.
Good testimonials from existing clients are very effective motivators. They reassure potential clients you’re worth investing in – Zendesk research showed 88% of clients have been influenced by an online customer testimonial. Getting them isn’t too difficult either – when you’ve completed a project and your client’s pleased with the result, ask for a testimonial and add it to your website and LinkedIn page. SensibleMarketing has some great tips for getting better quality testimonials – in particular, it’s important to ask clients to focus on the benefits (financial or otherwise) that your contribution has brought them.
You can also offer some extra value services as an incentive. Even if you can’t afford to give significant discounts, you could provide small extra services for free – studies show that if there’s one thing people love, it’s free stuff. For example, if your project involves writing some landing page copy, you could offer a free, brief critique of the rest of the client’s website. It would be an attractive freebie that should take relatively little time – and it could also net you extra work.
Ultimately, whatever you offer, make sure it has the potential for a good return for you.
2. Follow Up With Prospects
When you’ve submitted your pitch (more on that later), the next surefire way to succeed is to follow up about a week later. It shows you’re keen, and it brings you to your potential client’s attention to boot.
As for how to follow up, you can simply ask your prospect if they have any questions about your services, and stress that you’d be happy to provide further information if it’s needed. This tells your potential client you’re genuinely interested, and likely to provide great customer service going forward.
Also, don’t be afraid to simply ask whether your prospect is interested in your offer, and when they would like to start. It’s not good to spend time waiting for a reply that never comes – and if you don’t ask, your competitors likely will. There’s an art to creating a good follow-up email, so do your research, draft up a few examples, and compare each one before submitting them.
Finally, you may be wary of being seen as too pushy. Inc. magazine looked at following up, and concluded that more is definitely better than less. Overall, stay polite but persistent.
3. Ask Prospects the Right Questions
If you’re looking to seal the deal, another great way to succeed is to begin and continue a conversation with your potential client. It’s important at this stage to ask the questions that will convince your prospect you’re interested in them, their company, and their project.
The Young Entrepreneurs Council has previously looked at the sorts of questions you should be asking, and interestingly it suggests not only asking clients what they expect from you, but also what they don’t want – as well as the current problems they’re facing.
Asking targeted questions will also help you to understand what your client actually needs. Being willing to discuss and develop the project will set you apart from your competitors, and help you to figure out if you and your prospective client are a good fit.
4. Give Prospects the Right Answers
Your prospects may have their own questions, and another surefire route to success is to answer these in ways that boosts your chances of winning the project. Good answers will showcase your strengths, and provide further reasons for your would-be client to commit.
The first step is to create a good FAQ section on your website: start by listing questions you’ve been asked by clients already, and make sure your answers are comprehensive and professional. Also look to provide a link to your FAQ page with your pitch. To give you inspiration, look to other businesses FAQ sections before starting your own.
Remember, clients may also phone or email you with exploratory questions. If they’re local, you might even bump into them in the street – so prepare well from the outset. Research is invaluable – answers that prove you’ve taken the time and made the effort to understand your client and their issues can be powerfully persuasive.
5. Focus On the Best Prospects
If you’re going to make great efforts to convert prospects into clients, the surest way to succeed is to focus on the best prospects – those who will bring you a good return, and are most likely to be interested in you.
Money isn’t the only metric when it comes to the “best” – it can just as easily mean reliable clients who offer the potential for further, steady work, and won’t try to change your brief at the last minute.
Social media is a great place to nurture solid relationships and connect with influencers – sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter will get your name out there to the right people. Attending trade shows will also help you check out potential clients in your chosen sector – and there are plenty of other ways for winning the best prospects. A little work, and you’ll soon be pitching to a better class of client than you currently do!
6. Take Advantage of Bidsketch
Our templates provide a wide range of options, with a library of sections that offers a set of basic recommended sections to start you off, along with further customization.
The flexible proposal design enables you to either use one of the inbuilt stock designs, or apply your own colors to the template – premium account users can also brand their proposals with their own logos:
The process takes you step by step through writing a professional-looking proposal, that can then be distributed to your client through the Bidsketch system. One of the best advantages is that you can leverage comprehensive analytics – you can see when clients view your proposal, whether they downloaded it, and how much time they spent reviewing it (which is a perfect way to judge how interested they are).
Clients can also sign the agreement digitally and send it back through the platform – and it’s all legally valid. Making life simpler for clients really helps: statistics show that on average, Bidsketch proposals are approved 18% more often than traditional proposals.
When you’re looking to turn hot prospects into great clients, there are many things to consider. Not least, you need to find out whether your prospective client is a good fit for you, then ensure they both read and act on your pitch. To sum up the actions you need to take, remember to:
- Set appropriate incentives.
- Follow up on your pitches.
- Ask the right questions to improve your chances of winning projects.
- Provide thorough answers to any questions potential clients may pose.
- Focus on the best prospects.
- Use Bidsketch to create professional pitches that convert prospects into clients.
Have you found any other ways to improve your chances of winning contracts? Let us know in the comments section below!
Photo credit: Public Domain Pictures.