The grail… winning new clients. Here’s Strat-Talking’s take on how to find new clients as a freelance strategist.
New clients are the grail for all strategy consultants and freelancers alike – we thrive off of our pitch wins (for clients, for ourselves and for agencies we partner with)… but how can we best identify who we should be targeting and how to talk to the right person at the right time?
In my opinion there are three approaches / schools of thought around gaining new clients…
- Old School Reactive – read magazines and newspapers to see who is doing what, then get in touch
- New School Proactive – set up alerts online for key words relevant to your industry, clients and follow twitter feeds from all the major industry magazines to learn new news as it happens instead of when it is printed next week
- Experience-Reactive – react to what you experience in your day-to-day in order to start honest and open conversations about brands and clients with the purity of what you have seen on the front line
In reality you need a healthy mix of at least two of them but I rarely see people doing the third.
If I have a bad (or a good) brand experience, the strategist in me makes a note and if I spot a significant enough opportunity for that business I will look up their marketing director or CEO on LinkedIn and get in touch to introduce and comment on what I’ve observed, eluding to potential opportunity areas.
They do not always get back in touch but when they do, the conversation is instantly more enjoyable from both sides and more relaxed as s/he gets why I have gotten in touch, has probably looked me up on LinkedIn also and has seen I’m interested in working with them on their brand strategy, not just chasing the next new clients with blanket pitches or cold emails etc.
The middle option of proactivity on social networks is a must for all strategists nowadays – I have landed contracts with new clients and made connections all over the world just by replying to tweets and starting a dialogue on Twitter that leads to email and face to face contact.
What methods do you use to land new clients and what tips do you have for others? What’s your view on how to find new clients as a freelance strategist?