The thicker the folder, the thicker the applicant

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As I prepare for an in-person new client meeting this morning, I’m reminded of an old college admissions officer’s saying: “The thicker the folder, the thicker the applicant.”

It’s always tempting to bombard a prospective client (or employer, or college, or girlfriend/boyfriend, etc., etc.) with a mega-compilation of just how wonderful and accomplished you are. But if you’ve ever sat in the recipient’s chair — as a stack of unprioritized samples lands with a thud — you’ll know why that tactic doesn’t work. [Read more…]

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Who ya gonna cold call?

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Hello Doc: I’ve enjoyed reading your cold-calling tips for freelancers, but wonder if you would break it down even further for newbies like me. For example, who are you calling? No, I don’t want phone numbers, but what I mean is, how do you decide who to call? What do you say?—Trying to think outside the glossies but baffled about where to start

Dear TTTOTGBBAWTS (whew!): You’ve asked an essential strategic question that’s vital to cold calling and sales success. The good news is that a freelancer can construct a high-quality cold calling list with some old-fashioned sweat equity, a bit of sleuthing and minimal expense. But first things first—you need to decide, in a broad sense, what types of clients will provide the best success rate. So, that means: [Read more…]

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How many times should I follow up with a potential client?

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Dr. Freelance, I know it’s a fine line between being persistent and being annoying. If I’ve got a warm lead for a potential client or a new freelance gig, how many times is appropriate for following up?—Getting Warmer

Getting Warmer, As with so many aspects of freelancing, the follow up with a potential client is a matter of understanding the prospect’s style as well as her business needs. No one enjoys a hard sell, and I think it’s particularly ill-suited to something like creative services. If you come across as at all desperate, the Universal Law of Need (i.e., the more you need something, the less likely you will get it) comes into play. [Read more…]

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