So you’re a freelancer. And you want more clients. Now what?
You might scroll through listings on Upwork, Freelancer, or – dare I say it? – the Content Mills
Surely there’s a better way to get the cash flowing than forcing yourself to compete against dozens, if not hundreds of other freelancers for a $50 to $100 gig.
Fortunately, there are better ways like using testimonials to land more work and implementing a referral strategy with your current clients.
Today, we’re adding another better way to your client attraction process. A better way to put your portfolio in front of prospects with a budget. A better way to pitch your services as the only freelancer even being considered.
In the past few months, I’ve used the “OPA” Strategy to score $9,400 worth of freelance writing projects.
Let’s get right to the specifics of how you can implement this Strategy too.
First off, “OPA” stands for “Other People’s Audiences.” In contrast to tactics like social media or email marketing, this Strategy allows you to tap into Other People’s Audiences to meet, pitch, and close new clients.
No competition here — you have an entire audience of prospects who want to hear what you have to say.
The “Other People’s Audiences” Strategy Step 1: Find Non-Competing Service Providers
An effective way to implement the “OPA” Strategy is to co-host a free live workshop.
This was ideal for me as a freelance copywriter because my room full of potential clients could spare their lunch hour to come hear someone with an expertise they would find beneficial.
As for filling that room full of potential clients, here’s what I recommend for you based on what’s worked:
Reach out to Non-Competing Service Providers (NCSP’S). These are people who already do business with your target market, but offer a different service.
The perfect NCSP’s for me are small business CPA’s. A web content writer’s NCSP’s could include graphic design firms, web development companies, and digital marketers.
PRO TIP: To assemble your own list of Non-Competing Service Providers, ask past clients who else they have done business with — and ask for an introduction!
When I reached out to the CPA’s, I began with a quick note on what LinkedIn connection we had in common or who had referred me to them. Because you are officially a “problem-solver for-hire”, you won’t ask to pitch your services to their clients—yet. Instead, ask if their clients are experiencing the same challenges your clients have hired you to solve.
For example, I asked the CPA’s if their clients struggled with marketing campaigns that weren’t converting. Once your Non-Competing Service Provider connection agrees that their clients share those challenges, on to Step 2.
PRO TIP: If you’re not sure exactly what unsolved problems or unachieved goals your target market has, reach out to past clients and ask: “Before you hired me to work on X project, what challenges did you face that made you decide to bring in a freelancer?”
The “Other People’s Audiences” Strategy Step 2: Present Your Pitch — But Give Value First!
Your Non-Competing Service Provider wins because they can provide their clients with much-needed strategic advice, boosting their own standing in their eyes.
Your NCSP’s clients win because your free workshop adds value to their lives and/or businesses by providing them with the right direction to achieve their goal or solve their problem.
And you win because you are positioned as the “Go-To Freelancer” — you are an expert who has the trust of someone they respect (your Non-Competing Service Provider).
When I wrote the email for the CPA to clients, the event promised tips to increase marketing conversion rates — an absolutely relevant topic!
For the presentation, I used a standard PowerPoint template and spent most of my 45 minute workshop talking about:
- Reasons why your campaigns aren’t producing results
- What to do instead (tips on writing persuasive copy, etc.)
- Why you can’t afford to NOT implement these tips
Throughout this presentation, I interjected portfolio excerpts and testimonials to prove that what I recommended they do, has actually worked for others already. With this 3-part format, you cultivate desire for your services instead of dishing out a desperate “Please hire me!” pitch because your prospects receive an education on the value of your work.
Even though you’re offering your best tips, you’re not “giving away the store” because the prospects still need you to personalize your advice for their specific situations.
Finally, you conclude your presentation with an invitation:
“If I could demonstrate a process to you where you’re able to achieve the type of results you’re looking for, are you open to chatting more about that? If so, meet me at the end and we’ll put a time on the calendar to talk more.”
Because “demonstrate a process” is code for “writing a proposal”, you’re able to remove the risks of pressuring people into a hard-selling situation on the spot.
PRO TIP: Pepper the best elements of your portfolio throughout the presentation. This tactic plants the thought: “I NEED this freelancer!”
And there you have it!
With the “OPA” Strategy, instead of struggling to get noticed as a small fish in a big pond, you’re the big fish now — and you have the added benefit of being the ONLY fish.
That way, it’s obvious that you are the Go-To Expert they should be talking to — and hiring to get the job done.
After his very first freelance project earned him a face-palming $1.67/hour, Joshua Lisec committed to mastering the art of a persuasive pitch. Joshua runs the Beyond Freelance Blog and The Go-To Freelancer Show Podcast.
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