How To Take The Fear Out Of Winning New Clients
Have you ever dreaded getting a client email asking for a quote?
I know it sounds like a weird because we all want more work, right? I mean, it’s awesome that someone has found us online or been referred or heard about our services.
But what’s less awesome is that feeling of "Oh no, what do I do now?"
I’ve got to write a proposal.
I’ve got to send a quote.
I don’t know how much to charge.
There are too many back and forth emails.
I don’t have time to do this right now.
Let me say that I have most definitely been there. Some days I still am.
New client emails are both exciting and scary. Because we want everything to be perfect, right? We want to show potential clients our perfect services, starting with that first quote.
For me, this often mean that I go overboard and turn what should be a simple process into a big, stressful effort.
I confess that I’ve taken 2 hours to write a quote. I’ve missed job proposal deadlines because I was agonising over formatting. And I’ve put off responding to new clients because I didn’t feel confident of my prices.
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Well, then you too may be letting the fear stop you from winning new clients. Or from at least doing a happy dance when that new email dings in your inbox. Which is awful! Everyone deserves to get their dance on.
So, from one perfectionist to another, let me give you some tough love.
It's quite simple: let it go.
Let go of the need for perfectionism. Forget formatting or the right font or perfect sentences. As long as your client documents are neat and clear, nothing else matters.
Decide your prices and stick to them. Let go of the worry of what others may be charging. There’s loads of helpful info online about what to charge. Find your sweet spot and go with it.
Don’t deviate from your price list because you think you might not get the job. Maybe you won’t. But there could be 10 other reasons that have nothing to do with you. Don’t let fear dictate how you operate.
Let go of the idea of a perfect proposal. The truth is that clients don’t care about fonts and layout. They don't notice whether you use round or square bullet points (yes, I'm that finnicky!)
Clients care about two things: 1) how much it costs. That big bold number at the bottom. And 2) what they get for their money. The breakdown of the costs.
Everything else is nice packaging.
So, put together a simple job proposal, or scope or quote or whatever you like to call it. Have a master copy for each of your standard services. Then each time you need to create a proposal, copy it, drop in the client details at the top, tweak a few features and it’s done.
I’ve spent an age writing up my standard web design proposal and I want to share it with you today. Maybe you’ve been wondering how to write one and whether you’re on the right track. It’s likely that yours will look very similar.
And as for back and forth emails, let go of that big waste of time now. Set up canned email responses or draft emails. Have an email lined up for all your usual new clients email topics. Then copy and paste your responses as needed. It will save you oodles of time and stress.
Don't overthink it. Just do it (how great a slogan is that?) Remember that this is only the first stage of the new client process.
The most important thing is to respond. Answer that initial query fast and fearlessly. Be yourself. Trust me, that says a lot more about your winning services than a perfectly formatted proposal ever could.
About the author: Lilani Goonesena is a freelance communications specialist for small businesses and organisations, based in Canberra. She works on Squarerspace web design, SEO content and digital marketing strategy. She writes an awesome newsletter on digital marketing, social media, blogging, web design and "all that online stuff".