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Conflicting Advice For Newbies Getting Clients

Discussion in 'Hustles, Freelancing, Bootstrapping' started by Devampre, Feb 22, 2019.

  1. Devampre
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    Devampre Contributor

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    I seem to get conflicting advice on this matter,

    If one is new to a business and they are after their first clients. Does it make more sense to:

    a) Work for little/free to build testimonials.
    b) Position oneself as much more established/qualified, even if it means faking testimonials in order to make sales.

    Thanks in advance
     
  2. Zcott
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    Zcott Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Are you a qualified person who actually knows how to get results for clients? If so, market yourself as such and people will pay you. 'If you think I'm expensive, see how much it costs when you hire an amateur.'
     
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  3. Devampre
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    Devampre Contributor

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    I would say that I am. Thanks for your input.
     
  4. Zcott
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    Zcott Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    How are you currently trying to find clients?
     
  5. Rabby
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    Rabby Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Don't fake testimonials. You can charge whatever you want, but don't lie to people.
     
  6. Kevin88660
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    Kevin88660 Bronze Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    I will prefer A, underprice yourself moderately to gain market share. I think of it less about getting testimonial. It is more about building trust for future business with existing clients. It is about giving them a discount now so that you can sell to them again at the usual pricing next time when they have the need. In sales new customer acquisition is always more costly and more effort is required.

    I would caution against underpricing yourself too much. If it incurrs too much cost at your own it prevents you from growing quickly and it defeats the purpose of gaining market share too quickly.

    I do not agree with faking it till you make it. Because you cannot really be good without the experience of screwing it up many times. You still have to go back to A to accumate the experience.
     
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  7. Devampre
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    Devampre Contributor

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    Email, Social Networks, and I'm considering cold calling. However, I have temporarily halted as I wasn't aware of the laws regarding cold emailing/calling in Canada. I will make a separate thread about it soon.

    I don't believe I will fake testimonials. That was hyperbole and probably not the best way I could have explained option b. Essentially, I was after the idea of confidently positioning myself as a more established business as opposed to a sole newbie just starting up. So it would embellishing a little bit, but not lying about work I didn't do/faking client testimonial.

    Yeah, working at a discount could work.
     
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  8. Chapas
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    Chapas Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    In Denmark it is illegal to cold email as well. However, I think I found a way to do it without getting in trouble. I think I had around 50 % response rate in my niche. But it was an approach in order to get trial clients. I can make a longer write up later. Think you might be able to use some of it in Canada.
     
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  9. Lex DeVille
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    Lex DeVille Sweeping Shadows from Dreams Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Have you considered just being honest with people about your level of skills and knowledge? Forget fake reviews and anything that will destroy you if clients find out later on. Don't do shady bull crap.

    Based on the options you listed, going the free route would be the better choice. However, you don't have to go the free route. You could just let clients know you're just getting started and that's why you'll offer them a good deal.

    Or you could tell them you're not an expert and that's exactly why they should work with you...because you're still open to new ideas and adaptable. As an novice you're not set in your ways or stuck in bad habits.

    Forget positioning yourself until you have paying customers. If you try to fake it, you will come across as fake. Clients will see right through you. People are more alert to B.S. than at any previous point in time.
     
  10. Andy Black
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    Andy Black Any colour, as long as it's red. Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    a)
     
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  11. Chapas
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    Chapas Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    In Denmark it is illegal to cold email as well. However, I think I found a way to do it without getting in trouble. I think I had around 50 % response rate in my niche. But it was an approax
    Totally agree with you Lex. The worst thing is to bullshit your clients. You want to create long-lasting relationships with them.

    What I did to get started is I basically wrote an email to people in my niche that I have just finished my Masters Degree in International Marketing and have shifted my focus towards Digital Marketing and were willing to work for free for a couple of weeks in order to get some interesting Case Studies and then talk about future cooperation if we both liked working together.

    I think I sent out maybe 20 emails and my response rate was around 50 %. I was suprised of how many were actually interested and I later learned that this was due to the fact that I was genuine and since in my email and did not talk myself up to be a hot-shot (probably also had something to do with the free work haha).

    This is also how I landed my first paid client - after a trial. And she has just referred me to another interesting client, which I hope to land sometime next week.

    Like Lex is writing - people smell B.S. from far away. Especially in these times where EVERYONE is a digital marketeer.

    Working for free to begin with might be the slower option, but then again: while you work for free you actually learn a lot of stuff. Being sincere with your clients from the beginning is the key to have long-lasting relationships. Over promising and presenting your self as something you are not will get found out in the beginning. I rather start of slow and minimize my churn rate by having real long-lasting relationships with people than having stress with finding new clients constantly after 2-3 months when they realize the truth.

    What goes around comes around. Work hard, deliver results, create a good service and it will all pay off in the end!
     
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  12. Rabby
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    Rabby Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Just for perspective, here is an approximation of the thoughts that run through my head if three different freelancers approached me. I'm just using freelancers as an example, but the same applies to a storefront or any other business that makes some presentation of itself.

    #1 - A seasoned pro who presents himself as a seasoned pro.
    • I wonder if the type of work I need done is suited to this guy.
    • I wonder if the type of work I need done can pay for itself at this guy's rates and level of quality.
    • Can I negotiate this person's services on a recurring basis? Is that better than doing several one-shot deals?
    • I wonder if this guy will be too busy to call me back.
    #2 - A newly minted professional who presents himself as "new and ready to do great work."
    • Thank God, how refreshing.
    • I'll think up a small project and test his skills.
    • Hey, maybe I can find recurring work for this guy, so I don't have to compete for his attention when he picks up more clients. Ah, focus, test project first.
    • I hope he's learned to show up on time and return calls and emails, but I guess I'll find out in the next few days.
    #3 - A newly minted person-who-wants-to-do-some-work who I don't consider a professional, because they claim experience or knowledge that I don't believe they have.
    • Uh oh, something's wrong here.
    • Why am I explaining {x} to someone who presents themselves as established and knowledgeable?
    • ...Excuses for Quickly Exiting a Conversation, page 276, let's see... yes, this is a good one, now run away!
    The other day, I had lunch with two partners in an IT business. Their business is fairly new, but we hit it off right away. I bought their lunch, even. Why did it work out? We were all upfront and honest with each other. I had a few things I needed, they had a few things they needed, and we found some ways to make those things happen. One of the partners will speak at an event I'm organizing for a non-profit. We're developing a course together for a niche market, which we will both profit from. And it turns out they need software that we've already written inside my company, and was looking for a market for.

    I think a lot of the "likeability" that people strive for in sales and business development comes from honesty. Being confident enough, and considerate enough, to just say things like they are, is really appreciated.

    In some cases, revealing your own vulnerabilities (within reason, and not in a cringy way) strengthens the relationship with people. Look, this guy is human too! Sometimes, honestly revealing an advantage your competitor has, or expressing your respect for them (if it's genuine), can strengthen a business relationship. Not every customer fits with one particular business. We don't have to duel our competitors to the death, imagine that.

    If you're marketing, you can be honest without portraying yourself as "green." You just don't say or write anything that's untrue. It's amazing how much of a relief this is when a customer interaction doesn't go well too. You know you never misled anyone... you have moral high ground.

    This, above, is the approach I would recommend. Let's call it "c)." You can take work for lower rates if you think that helps you. I've done it just so I wouldn't stress about under-delivering when I was new at something. But approach it as a way to develop a relationship with someone. You're a human, and they're a human, and we're making promises to each other. You're going to keep your promises, and show people in your market -- probably just a few at first, but more and more as word gets out -- that you are a good friend and trusted ally to your customers.

    Probably not the answer you expected, lol. Sorry for getting a little philosophical here. Anyway, do that, and testimonials/reviews will follow -- especially if you ask for them after delivering on your promises. But those testimonials won't really be the point. They're more like a side effect of what's going on between you and your customers. If they keep appearing, people who aren't yet customers will add them to their evidence for "this is a good business." But the reality has to be the same when they come in and start interacting with you. If it's not, they will feel betrayed. This is why I say the testimonials are a side effect... you only want them if they grow out of relationships of respect or gratitude. Those relationships are what will sustain your business. Focus on the interaction with your customer, and delivering on promises made. "c"
     
  13. PizzaOnTheRoof
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    PizzaOnTheRoof 1% Better Every Day Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Why won’t you hire me? I’ve got 3 freelancers and 2 VA’s that I’ve outsourced every part of my business too!

    Wait, what’s a KPI again?
     
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  14. James Klymus
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    James Klymus Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    I wouldn't do either of those.

    Look a lot of people will tell you to work for free, and that's understandable for 1 or maybe 2 people, but at the end of the day you are in business to make a viable living and not running a charity.

    Learn the basics of selling, cold call (if its legal, some people on the thread are saying its illegal in their country), Connect on linkedin, door knock, network, do what ever you need to do to get clients. And if you convey your value properly and show them exactly how this investment can bring them an ROI they will pay you if you can get them results.

    Think of if you tried selling someone $100 bills for $20. Thats a no brainer offer, and they would be silly to not take it if they could afford it, and if they couldn't, then they would try to secure financing or do whatever it takes because the value and ROI is so apparent.

    Also, A good post on how to get clients on linkedin (I'm using a similar method)
     
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  15. Devampre
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    Devampre Contributor

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    I wouldn't mind hearing about your way. :)

    a) is what I too believe to be more ethical. I agree that people are more alert to B.S. It was apparent when I was doing door to door for some awful businesses. I appreciate all of your wisdom.

    I would associate c) with what I meant for a). It's ultimately the more honest/ethical approach. Option b) is anything that is done to marketeer and go after higher earnings.

    I believe that I am able to cold call/email businesses in other countries where it isn't illegal to do so. But, I think messaging on LinkedIn or other social networking sites could be a 'workaround' without running into a fine. And I'll be sure to read that post. Thanks

    Thanks for the replies so far everyone. This will now help me to now stay focused on my sales approach without excessive rumination. :)
     
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  16. Zcott
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    Zcott Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Maybe try a different way to get clients, like face to face networking.

    Where in Canada are you?
     
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  17. Devampre
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    Devampre Contributor

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    I'm in rural Saskatchewan. Face to face networking is a little difficult considering the nearest cities are about a four hour drive away. I can try walkins and face to face networking when I am in a city. But, I think an online approach will be more wise to reduce travelling costs and time.
     
  18. Zcott
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    Zcott Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Have you looked on www.meetup.com to see if there are any business groups in your area? If there are none, you can start one and that is a great way to meet business owners.
     
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  19. Maxboost
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    What are you selling? LOL, no one asked the most important question..

    In my experience, giving away free labour is a waste for both you and the business that never asked for it in the first place. People don't appreciate it since they never paid for it.
     
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  20. PizzaOnTheRoof
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    Those who pay, pay attention
     
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  21. The Abundant Man
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    The Abundant Man Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    I remember when I used to work in customer service. A guy received an offer for $2/week for 8 weeks in the mail. But we only offered $4/week for 8 weeks in his area. I told him that he got angry and threatened to sue claiming fraud. "You're going to hear from my lawyer...what's your name and employee number to give to my attourney. blah blah blah"

    Please do not fake testimonials
     
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  22. Devampre
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    I tried meetup in the cities. Most groups seemed to be more about MLM that I wasn't exactly interested in. I could potentially start one and coordinate locations for meetups. Forming my own little business alliance would be nice.

    Leads that have consented/opted in to their preferred product/service, though that could change as I have other skills. The question some may have is that "why don't you get your own leads from the same ways you'll be getting your clients." It's ultimately because I wanted to keep my expenses down and get my first client(s) via time/effort. As opposed to paid advertising or ranking a new site/landing page.

    :thumbsup:

    People are crazy. And I won't fake testimonials. It was hyperbole and not the best way I could have explained option b.
     
  23. André Casal
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    I've come across this divide very often as well. To me it's a matter of principles like honesty, transparency and professionalism. Think about what principles you want to base your business on.

    What I think you should do is price yourself at market value and as someone who can help. If you genuinely believe you require more experience, go get it. Work for free for 1 or 2 clients. But don't make the mistake of pricing cheaper.

    I made the same mistake of pricing myself below the market rate. Naturally, I got stingy clients. Not fun. Price yourself at market value and if someone says you're too expensive, you shouldn't lower your price but instead say that there are cheaper *whatever you do* out there. As for the way you communicate who you are or what your business is, do it thinking about what you can help your clients with. Help them understand how you can help them. Be clear.

    If you need help with this, I'd be happy to have a voice chat with you.
     
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  24. HackVenture
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    HackVenture Digital Marketer, Crypto Guy Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass Summit Attendee

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    I'm in a similar situation right now.

    I'm using this situation to motivate me into completing my bunch of internal projects after which I can use them as a portfolio to convince customers.

    I know my shit but new to agency business so prospects would understandably want to see something. So since I don't have testimonials, a portfolio could work nicely.
     
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  25. Eric Flathers
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    I agree with Lex DeVille. NEVER lie to your clients you can't buy back the trust at any cost.

    Be honest, tell them you are new to this line of work but present what qualifications you do have that can help them. Like I'm new to the whole business consulting thing but I have been running Hollywood TV shows for decades. I tell people up front look I'm new to this so I'm giving a deal till I'm more established. But I have the real-life hard experience of managing multi-million dollar productions and here is what I learned about making them run smooth.

    Fake reviews should never be used, work with a few people at a lower rate and have them do a video review if possible. Fake testimonials with a photo and a blurb are to easy to be faked and people know this. But a video and the permission to link to your client's website or LinkedIn page, well that screams trust. Just make sure to ask permission from your client to do this.

    If you over deliver on your promise to them and truly help them, then most people won't have an issue with it, plus they might get some business from it if they offer something a prospective client might need when going to their website.
     
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