How you introduce yourself to clients who have reached out to you is a crucial part of turning a warm lead into a paying customer. Your response helps establish trust and indicate whether you are someone worth working with.
Introducing Yourself to a New Client Examples
How you introduce yourself to a new client can depend on the platform through which they reached out. Here are responses you can give for three different channels:
A well-crafted email response feels friendly, empathetic, and low-pressure. So, you could write something like:
Hi [Insert First Name of Client],
Thanks for reaching out! I’d love to chat with you to learn more about your current pain points and see how I may be able to help. Are you available this/next [Insert Day of Week]? How does [Insert Time]work for you? I look forward to hearing from you!
[Insert Your First Name]
This kind of email is effective at generating a positive response from your prospect because it isn’t salesy. In other words, you’re simply expressing a desire to know the client better, not shove an offer down their throat. Clients who don’t feel pressured to work with you are much more likely to continue the discussion.
Notice also that the email asks the client for a specific time to talk. Many clients appreciate it when you provide a concrete day and hour, because it takes out the guesswork. Asking if those specific time works is also a kind of call to action, compelling them to get back to you.
If you want, you can also add a postscript that links your business site, so the client can see examples of your work and testimonials. This is another great opportunity to show why the client should work with you.
Introducing yourself to a freelance client on LinkedIn is very similar to email, except that you also include one of the most powerful lines there is as a freelancer: I look forward to engaging with each other here. Clients tend to respect when you view them as an ongoing relationship instead of a paycheck. Including the above line is a surefire way of showing that you care about them and are worth their while.
Instagram Direct Message
Since Instagram is a more informal social medium, the tone of your response can reflect that. Having similar components to the previous two responses is ideal, especially setting a specific date to chat, but the feel can be more casual. For example:
Thanks for your note, [Insert Client First Name]! Why don’t we chat soon to discuss your needs and how I might be able to lend a hand? Does [Insert Day] at [Insert Time] work? Can’t wait!
Keeping it short and sweet makes you seem more approachable to a potential client.
3 Questions Freelancers Should Ask Clients Before Work Starts
Asking the client qualifying questions in your initial chat together is an excellent way to determine if the two of you are a good fit. The right questions will either keep you from wasting each other’s time (if it seems like you’re not a good match) or ensure that your working relationship starts on the rock-solid ground (if you are). Here are some questions you should ask in the beginning to avoid a headache later:
What Type of Project Do You Need?
The benefit of asking this question is twofold: a), the answer tells you the size of the project and, therefore what the budget should be; and b), it tells you whether the project is even within your area of expertise in the first place. For example, if you’re a copywriter, a full website rewrite is a very different scope requiring a very different skill set than, say, a direct mail sales letter. Make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into!
What’s Your Budget?
Always, always, always ask your potential client what they’re willing or able to spend! If you’re not on the same page in terms of expected compensation, there’s no point in continuing the discussion. You’re welcome to negotiate if their budget is close to what you typically charge for a similar project; otherwise, it’s not worth it.
Have You Tried Something Similar Before?
Clients may come to you after a previous project didn’t turn out like they’d hoped. If that’s the case, asking this question both allows you to learn from a past freelancer’s mistakes, and start to get a feel for what the client is looking for so you can execute their vision and blow them away.
When and How to Refer a Potential Client to Your Network
Referring a potential client to your network is a great way to ensure they’re taken care of when you realize you’re not a good match. Prospects will appreciate that you genuinely want them to work with the best possible freelancer for their needs, and you’ll be able to avoid biting more than you can chew. Here are some reasons why you might want to refer a potential client to your network:
It’s Not Your Specialty
Sometimes you simply can’t help out a client because their needs don’t align with your strengths (for example, they need a freelancer who’s knowledgeable about science and technology). In this case, you can recommend a colleague with the expertise the prospect is looking for.
They Can’t Afford Your Rates
If your fee for a particular service exceeds what the client is willing or able to pay, it’s best to send them to a freelancer whose rates they can afford. You may want to let the client know that a freelancer who charges less likely is less experienced (i.e. you get what you pay for).
The Work Doesn’t Interest You
Even if the work is something you can do and the fee is reasonable, sometimes the project just isn’t something you’re passionate about. This is a good opportunity to refer the potential client to a person whose niche more closely matches the project.
How to Chat With a New Client
How you chat with a new client once you’ve decided to work together sets the tone for a successful partnership throughout the project. Unlike your initial chat to get to know the client in what was essentially a discovery call, this next chat should be a formal kickoff meeting to understand the project in detail. Here are some steps you can take to get off to a good start:
Invite Your New Client to a Meeting
The first step is to invite your new client to a meeting, which will often be a video call on a platform such as Zoom. You can directly send a meeting link to the client if that’s their preference.
Create an Agenda for First Meeting With New Client
Creating an agenda for your first meeting with the new client is the best way to ensure you both get the most out of your chat. A concise, bulleted list helps you stay on track and shows the client that you’re professional and organized. A proper agenda might include topics like:
· Establish the full scope of the project/clarify expectations
· Understand whom the project is for (aka, the client’s “audience”)
· Make sure the client signs off on payment terms
The more specific you make the agenda, the more productive your first meeting will be. You can even ask the client if there’s an item they want added to the agenda; that way, they can feel like you’re addressing their concerns.
How to Impress a Client in First Meeting
Impressing your client in the first meeting solidifies your authority and gives them confidence that you’ll ultimately produce good work. Here are three ways to ace your kickoff:
Come Fully Prepared
There is no better way to impress a client in the first meeting than to show you’re ready to hit the ground running. Planning the talking points, you’ll want to cover and anticipating the client’s questions for you will make for a focused, engaging chat.
Ask As Many Questions As You Need To
There’s a common misconception that asking a bunch of questions means you don’t know what you’re doing. On the contrary, asking questions is a sign of thoroughness, thoughtfulness, and a commitment to get the project right down to the last detail. In fact, you can’t do your job without having all the answers you need, so ask away!
Be an Expert Listener
This might seem obvious, but asking the right questions isn’t enough; you must hear what the client says. You can’t fake attentive listening, and showing with your body language that you’re invested wholeheartedly in the client’s success will make them look forward to your working relationship.
3 First Client Meeting Questions That Finalize Project Scope
You can’t possibly be at your best as a freelancer if you don’t have concrete parameters under which to work. Finalizing the project scope early on and having it in writing guarantees that you and the client will be on the same page from the get-go. Here are three questions to accomplish just that:
What Are Your Business Goals for the Project?
Knowing the project’s intended purpose will allow you to work towards a tangible result and prevent the project from becoming scattered. Also, asking this question will reassure the client that you can think with a business mindset.
When Do You Need This Project Completed?
A completion date all parties agreed upon is a significant part of clarifying expectations with your client. Having a firm project deadline will give you a better sense of the time commitment involved and whether or not you might want to charge for expedited services (i.e. a one-week turnaround for a website from scratch).
Is There Anything Else You’d Like To Add to the Project Scope Before It’s Finalized?
If a client wants to increase the project scope, let them! Just make sure that you understand exactly what the addition is and that they understand how much that will affect your fee. There shouldn’t be any surprises once the project is underway.
Clarify Payment Terms and Finalize Contract
Clarifying payment terms (the terms under which the client pays you) and finalizing the contract with your client before the project gets underway is extremely important. Doing so protects you as a freelancer from any disputes later on over either what your scope of work is supposed to be or what you’re owed when.
Payment terms might include things like “50% payment up front,” “rest of balance due within 15 days of invoice upon completion,” and “extra fees will be incurred if payment is late.” While payment terms can differ depending on the project or client, the important thing is that your client is on board with the exact terms before you start working.
The contract should explicitly state the scope of work, completion date, fee, and aforementioned payment terms. You never want to be in a situation where the client says something like, “oh, didn’t we agree you’d also do X,” or “I thought we said I’d pay you Z.” Having a clear-cut agreement in writing makes everything run more smoothly.
The Bottom Line on Introducing Yourself to Clients
Introducing yourself to clients is all about getting them to trust you; that is, to know you’ll be able to help them reach their business goals and that you genuinely care about their success. Between your response to their query, your initial chat to gauge fit, and your first meeting to solidify expectations for the project, you want to show the client that you’re both a consummate professional and a great human. Add payment terms plus a contract to keep you on the same page with your client, and you’re good to go!
Featured Image: Unsplash
Evan Rizvi is a Boston-based copywriter specializing in website copy, landing pages, sales emails, and banner ads. Lest he gets complacent without any impending deadlines, take a look at his website here to sample his projects, get in touch with him, and put him to work.
Or if you’re one of the cool kids and prefer LinkedIn, check him out here.