Emails and phone calls are what handshakes and in-person consultations used to be.
Here are seven areas that standout to potential clients (PCs) when they make the decision to approach you, and ultimately, work with you.
(1) You have a professional website
PCs glean much from your website at a quick glance. People make snap decisions based on design. If you’re a business owner in today’s world, it’s vital to create a site that sells. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on a website, but it needs to be well developed.
A well thought out website speaks volumes about your commitment to your business.
(2) You make it easy for them to contact you
It goes without saying that clients need to find your contact information in order to get in touch with you.
Consider placing your contact information at the top of your website in your header so that no matter where people enter your site, your contact information will always be visible.
Take this one step further and add an online calendar to your website, enabling people to schedule their own initial consultation at a time that works best for them.
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(3) You communicate effectively online
It’s important to learn how to communicate effectively via email. It seems like a simple task, but all too often, missed opportunities occur right from the jumpstart when good email goes bad.
Timing, tone, and overall format of your emails should be well thought out and formatted in way that is easy to read.
Email etiquette: http://www.emailreplies.com/
(4) You take control and have an assured presence
PCs come to you with a need. They want to know that they’re working with someone who can take control and guide them through the process. It’s important to be able to convey certainty and assuredness.
Confidence comes, in part, from enjoying what you do.
(5) You provide clear ‘next steps’ for them to follow
At the end of the initial consultation, be prepared to give the PC the ‘next steps’. Explain to them what it will take to get signed up and started (even if they’ve expressed disinterest). Assume they’re going to sign on as a new client and take them through simple steps and set the expectation.
Explain that you will send them a follow-up email. If they’re interested in working with you, ask them to respond via email and you’ll prepare the paperwork and schedule a second consultation where further questions will be answered and the paperwork can be reviewed in detail.
When they respond, time is of the essence and it’s important to seize the opportunity. A prompt response can make all the difference in the world.
Keep your process simple and avoid overwhelming clients with a 20-page questionnaire. If you do have a lengthy questionnaire, go through it with them during that second call. This saves the PC a lot of time and elevates them the burden of more work.
(6) You think of them
If PCs are on the fence about working with you, know that all is not lost.
Create a Google alert with a keyword that is relevant to this client and when something of interest pops up, send it to them. It’s a good way for PCs to know that you’re still interested and thinking about them.
(7) You are flexible
If PCs tell you that your rates are too high, think about creating a package for them including X,Y, Z.
Decrease your hourly commitment without lowering your rates while packaging it with a lower price. This makes it more appealing for the PC and shows your ability to be flexible.
I didn’t mention lowering your rates because if you connect with a PC, they will pay.
Remember that PCs are attracted to you personally.
If they feel a connection with you and trust you, they will find a way to make it happen.