Many sales conversations go nowhere. It’s frustrating and like it’s a waste of time. How often do you start a conversation with a potential client, only to have them ghost you after two emails? Having a process to follow up and start new discussions helps alleviate this problem. I use Pipedrive to keep track of this, and here’s exactly how:
Most consultants don’t follow-up. Most don’t have a process at all. Getting something, anything in place puts you ahead of 80% of the competition. This is the process that works for me. Your mileage may vary. If you aren’t sure where to get started, I hope this gives you some ideas.
The standard pipeline has seven stages:
Once a project is complete and handed off, I add people to the Happy Client pipeline. This ensures that I can stay in touch with clients, and make sure the work I do for them continues to provide value months down the line.
This pipeline is for regular outreach. I try to stay in touch with people at least once per quarter. This one isn’t a “pipeline,” it’s more of a hack.
Every morning, I get up, I pour a cup of coffee and work through the pipeline. One of Pipedrive‘s best features is that every time you complete a task, you are prompted to enter the next task. Sales are never allowed to linger. You either move towards a ‘yes’ or a ‘no.’ This helps ensure I always have new business advancing in my pipeline.
Working with bad clients puts your business in a vicious cycle. You start out meeting with a client that sets off your Spidey sense a little. You need to pay rent this month, so you agree to the work against your better judgement. You end up working with a client that belittles you, doesn’t trust, you and is unwilling or unable to pay you what your worth.
How many clients do you need to work with to be successful this year?
How to you find quality clients on freelance marketplaces like Upwork and Freelancer.com? Getting quality client work on these sites is nearly impossible. When an average Day Job in India pays as little as $0.65/hour, then doing web development online from the comfort of their home is a dream job. How can you compete?
Getting clients as a freelancer is like a catch-22 problem. If you ask other freelancers how they find clients, they typically say “word of mouth” or “referrals.” How are you supposed to get referrals without previous work? Getting started seems impossible.
If you are thinking about starting a freelance business, you need to be proactive when it comes to getting your first clients. Building your business will get easier with time, but when it comes to your first customers, you have to hustle.
These are the five steps I took when I started my career. I recommend starting this process at least 30 days before you plan on leaving a current position / starting your freelance career, and continuing these habits until you have built a steady pipeline of client work, and doing them in the order presented.