Marketing yourself Vs. Sales pitching — see what works better for you
Let me clear the air — I am not here to toot my horn.
The sole purpose of writing this story is to stress that it is possible. I am just an example, and I know many writers who will also tell you the same.
Having said that, I am not telling you to tear that list of prospective clients and flush it down the toilet. Please don’t. There is nothing wrong with cold-calling people, and it is also a workable solution.
I am saying that it is NOT the only way to get clients and that you can make your clients come to you.
I am inherently a shy person. Going all out and asking for something does not come naturally to me. So, drafting a cold email, let alone an effective one, was a herculean task for me. And I admit, I have never done it.
Despite the fact I have a steady stream of clients.
Before you jump ships, know that it did not happen overnight. I tweaked some things to get there. And it was a series of conscious decisions that led me down this road.
By saying out loud, I don’t mean to go out to the balcony and scream at the top of your voice. All you are going to get is a lot of attention and some warnings but no job.
So, how to say it out loud?
Place your intent strategically.
Putting your email out in the open.
Make your intent clear — an indication that you want to be contacted. I get 60–65% of my client proposals in my email. Place it in a visible and prominent place. Like in the profile.
Your profile is the resume that can turn into a cash machine.
Make use of it.
It is a tiny bit, but it makes a huge difference. Imagine your prospective client going through your work and seeing a fit in you. The next obvious step is to contact you and explore further.
Please don’t make them work for your contact information because you are not indispensable, my friend.
— convert that transient thought to action with an easily accesible contact information.
I do my networking on LinkedIn.
It’s a great platform, and I must say I caught on this train very late. I started using this platform recently and am amazed at its power. No wonder it is the #1 lead generation network today.
Within a month of being active, I got my first lead.
Think of LinkedIn as an after-office party where people are still dressed formally, but talk casually to build a network, grow their clientele base, and generate leads.
If Facebook and Twitter had a formal day at the office, it would look like LinkedIn.
Jokes apart, unlike a watering hole in the jungle over here, you meet exactly the people you want to.
Yes, people have told me that Facebook is also a great place for getting clients. But I haven’t ventured there, so I will refrain from judgment. For now, I am getting great vibes from LinkedIn & getting great leads from this platform.
A thing or two about networking on LinkedIn:
- An optimized profile with an appropriate profile picture does a perfect job of attracting clients. It is not about putting designations. Talk about what you do. Talk about prominent achievements (max 2–3) to build credibility.
- The trick is to imagine your client and what problem of theirs you can solve, and then write your profile as the answer to that need/problem.
(Mine looks like this. I will not say this is exemplary, but yes, I am getting there (you should have seen my last one!)
- Connecting with the right kind of people. Focus on building connections with people who add value to your line of work, who will fuel your networking, or whom you can learn from.
- Investing time in making genuine connections is a great way to take it to the next level, where it translates to work. Giving insightful comments to posts is the best way to develop such connections.
- Creating content around the niche consistently is something every LinkedIner would swear by. In fact, it is true for every platform.
If you are to start on LinkedIn, it might look daunting at first, but just go with the flow, and you will eventually figure it out.
Guilty of not doing it earlier.
But let’s face it. If I want to work, better not to play hide-and-seek. I cannot expect clients to knock at my door (inbox) and check if I am available for work.
My ego was not serving me here.
I will admit it took me some time to talk about my work and achievements, but once I started, it got easier. It also got easier for prospective clients to consider me for their requirements.
So, TALK. Talk about:
- Past projects,
- Wins & success stories,
- Incidents that motivated you (recognitions),
- Challenges you faced and how you overcame them.
Showcase your skillset.
Rather than going out to them and talking about your work, invest your time in marketing your work and bringing them in.
Talk in the language they want to hear, the problems they want to solve, and the results they want for themselves.
I have understood one thing in this year and a half of writing life. A lot, I repeat, a lot of people watch you. They may not comment, react, or follow, but they surely are watching people.
Most of my clients have never connected with me over my stories. What does that say?
Stop measuring the success of your work with likes and claps, and start treating each story as your resume. Remember your prospective client is watching you, so act accordingly.
This is an indirect way, but I got 3 of my clients through that.
4 months into writing, I saw this trend every other writer was following — a freebie to offer. I would scratch my head — why build something to give away for free? I was not aware of the email list then.
Anyways, I also jumped on the wagon, and I created some of them. Now, this is what happened.
People who wanted something similar approached me to build it for them. I did a few for some fast cash, but I don’t do that now because it does not fit into my primary scheme.
But one great opportunity dropped in my lap, one that of a ghostwriting project (a memoir).
So, basically, every work of yours is a calling card. You never know what would translate into what and turn out to be something great for you.
You just have to do one thing — keep sending out your work for the world to see.
I have nothing against cold calling. It’s just that things have worked out for me well till now, and they have kept me decently busy with work.
A little conscious self-marketing can help you build your brand. This, in turn, brings work to you rather than you going after work. The first option is a lot easier.
Need six-pack abs for your writing as well? Here are some FREE writing exercises that will do it for you. Do them, and don’t forget to flaunt yourself!