How to Turn Potential Clients into
Paying Clients

When dealing with a potential client, you need to build a relationship with them in order for them to feel comfortable enough to give you their money in exchange for your services.

That can be quite a process. But there are several things you can do to put their worries at ease and secure their business.

It all starts with a common marketing principle that you may have heard about: the “Know-Like-Trust Factor.”

Remembering and using the “know-like-trust factor” will help you build a relationship with potential clients.

Here’s how you can apply this principle to your business:

1. Know

It all starts with letting your potential clients get to know you. This is best accomplished with your freelance website. Ideally, your website will give anyone wanting to get to know you – like potential clients – a direct path to all the information they need.

Just by looking at your site, they need to know that you can solve their problem either because you have the right training or experience. They need to know what you can do for them. And they need to know that you’re a real person who won’t take their money and run.

Here’s how you can do that:

  • As you share things about yourself, make sure the customer always understands what’s in it for them. Share things that add to your credibility. For example, if your niche is food writing, then your experience as a chef is a great thing to talk about. If you don’t have that much experience, you could talk about your passion for cooking, how you never want to leave the kitchen, or how you travel the world to try new flavors. Explain how your passion or experience is of value to them.
  • Add a little personality into your marketing messages. You want to be seen as a professional, but that doesn’t mean you have to be stuffy or uptight. If you’re a funny person, add some humor. This will help your clients realize that you’re a real person.
  • Include a contact form or contact information on your website so potential clients can reach out to you. Then respond to messages and emails in a timely manner.
  • If you have a blog, use it to help potential clients by writing about the biggest issues or questions in your niche and how you’d deal with them. You’ll be their hero, and they’ll consider you an expert. This will lead to them hiring you and referring you to others.

2. Like

Once a potential client has a good understanding of who you are, you’ll want to do things to make them like you. This is a lot like building a real relationship – it takes time.

The average website visitor won’t be ready to buy the first time they find your website. That’s okay. Instead of getting upset, you can do things to bring them back to your site and build a relationship over time so when they are ready to buy, you’re the one they come to.

The best way to follow up with them later is via email. Basically, you offer them something they really want, a “bait piece,” so they’ll give you their email address to get it. This is usually some form of information – like a free report, email series, video training, or critique.

Later, you send them emails that share more of your personality and make your name familiar to them. The more often you follow up with them, the more they’ll know, like, and trust you.

For more help creating your own bait piece so you can gather email addresses of potential clients, check out these articles:

3. Trust

When people are looking for copywriters online, it’s easy for doubt to creep in. That can create hesitation and kill your ability to get hired.

To overcome this doubt and create trust, you need to reduce their risk. When someone is ready to hire you, you don’t want anything to scare him or her away.

Here are two ways to get your website visitors to trust (and hire) you:

Offer an ironclad guarantee.

A guarantee for services is different from the guarantee you’ll see for products, but the purpose is the same: to dissolve the fear that what you’re offering might not be as good as you claim. While you probably don’t want to guarantee specific results from your copy, you can guarantee things like on-time delivery or that you’ll do revisions until they’re satisfied. Just make sure your terms are clear – you don’t want them to think a revision means they can change the entire scope of the project after the work is done.

Give proof that others know, like, and trust you.

Potential clients will feel more at ease if they see other people trusted you and it went well for them. Become more active in social media and get more followers. Add links to these profiles on your website. Also, interact with people online – in a professional capacity – as often as possible. This will increase your search engine results and make you much more trustworthy. (The more you can find on a person online, the more real they seem.)

Also, every time you do a project or help someone out, ask for a testimonial. Then add them to your website as proof that other people know, like, and trust you.

Testimonials should include the name of the person who wrote it, job position, and everything that makes them important to listen to – the more the better. It’s best if you can get a video testimonial from happy clients, but if you can’t, a picture of the person is still good. If you can’t get a picture either, use the testimonial anyway. A testimonial without a picture is better than no testimonial.

Of course, there are many other ways to build credibility and help potential clients know, like, and trust you.

What have you tried? Have you found a great way to quickly build a solid relationship with a potential client? Comment below to let us know.

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Published: October 9, 2012

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