Guest Contribution from Qwilr.
Setting up your own business can be exciting and a little daunting. Unlike the 9-to-5 world, income isn’t guaranteed. You need to find clients, send out proposals and serve them as best you can. You will work long hours, and hit challenges, but that is all part and parcel of being an entrepreneur.
Most entrepreneurs hit a roadblock with getting leads. Some ‘gurus’ recommend Facebook ads, cold calling, or buying banner ads. Before you spend money and time in the hope that leads say yes, it is worth building a robust client acquisition strategy. Check out this guide on how to attract leads.
There is a difference between getting leads and getting customers. Most businesses believe that ‘traffic’ or popularity is enough to take their businesses to the next level. I have consulted with many CEOs who widen their eyes and mention how a campaign “has to go viral”. Business owners miss out on an important step, which involves pre-qualifying potential clients. This ensures that you don’t waste resources communicating with prospects and writing proposals that go nowhere. Therefore, you free up more time for marketing and serving clients.
Here are some things to consider during the prospecting stage:
1) Are you targeting people with a need for your product or service?
Prospects need to desire your product instead of viewing it as a “nice to have.” This is where a well-designed website, strong branding, and good copywriting come into play. Instead of targeting everyone, pick a niche, and amend all your marketing copy. Then target people in that niche. This helps clients to view you as an expert. Experts in any niche make more money.
2) Are you setting your rate appropriately?
Due to the internet, certain services can be easily carried out by someone on the other side of the world for much less. Therefore, you need to bring something else to the table.
Being easy to work with can make a big difference. Showcase that on your website. When something is viewed as a commodity, rates are compared, and prospects go for the cheapest option – for better or worse. During the early stages as a freelancer, I lost clients because I was “too cheap”.
3) Showcase your value
There is a difference between telling someone you can do something and showing them you can do it.
Humans are visual creatures; therefore, showing is much more powerful than telling. High performing consultants use flowcharts to make it easier for potential clients to understand their process. What seems straightforward to you can be complicated to others. Therefore, prospects might decline your proposal simply because they don’t understand it. Simplicity is powerful.
Creating ‘client-grabbing’ proposals
I am yet to meet an entrepreneur who loves to write proposals. However, it is something that needs to be done – especially if you want to secure high-end clients. I like to draft my proposals with good old pen and paper. This is because it activates the creative side of your brain, thereby introducing unique ideas that help to strengthen your proposal.
I found a detailed article on how to structure your proposal. If writing isn’t your strong suit, it is worth hiring a freelancer to create a template which explains all your services. You can then amend the template to suit any proposal you send out.
Videos are a great way to showcase your work or explain sections of your proposal in greater detail. For instance, if your work is more technical in nature, video is essential for improving their understanding. Plus, when done right, it makes your proposal easier to consume. I use Qwilr to add video, audio, and infographics while getting useful data on how leads are interacting with my proposals. I can see exactly when they dropped off, how long hey spent on each section and more. This enables me to personalize the follow-up and manage all my proposals in one place. Plus, they can sign and pay all on one page.
Every client wants to get back more than they invested. The more they stand to gain, the more likely it is that they will sign up. This is something many entrepreneurs struggle to communicate. Estimate what your service will add from a branding, additional revenue or customer acquisition standpoint. Your proposal needs to be a no-brainer because of the apparent return on investment.
Secondly, your rate needs to be broken down. For instance, instead of stating “$10,000 for web development” break it down into the different parts which make up a wider project. It can be difficult for clients to see the time and skill required to deliver a project.
Proposals are a key part of winning big clients. Implement the ideas discussed in this article to manage your proposals better and increase your conversion rate.