I think I’ve finally crossed the path out of complete beginner. I closed my first client two weeks ago, got paid for the first time last week, and I’m waiting for 3 potential clients to sign and pay the deposit. For a while I thought I’d be sending out cold emails forever. I also thought I’d be clueless when pitching to clients forever. Now, my hands still jitter when I walk into a meeting, but I enjoy pitching to clients face to face now. I can honestly say that the thought “Why do I have to meet them in person, can’t I just pitch to them through email?” has completely left my mind.
There’s a few things I’ve noticed from my progression that I’d like to highlight:
-I’ve found books like The Sales Bible, Selling to Vito, Spin Selling to be very boring. I learned the most about sales from Ramit Sethi’s creative live session. (Note: I would get Earn1k but I can’t afford it. Also, I don’t really like Ramit, or his blog. I find his style of writing arrogant and his free material gimmicky. But his creative live session really is what’s helped me the most).
-When starting out, it’s very tricky to balance doing work for cheap to get experience, and saying no to jobs that constrict you in pay and/or creativity.
-Mentors save you a lot of time, although, finding a good mentor is really hard. I was asking everyone for advice: my professors, my parent’s friends, friends, even strangers at networking events.
-Pitching to clients—when in doubt, ask questions. At best, asking questions reveals your client’s needs, and at worst you look a little nosy. You really can’t go wrong with asking questions.
-Being young actually helps you. I used to think “Man I look like I’m 18, people won’t take me seriously”. But I’ve found most people give me a “You’re young and ambitious, I want to help you out” kinda vibe.
-Sales isn’t about pitching to clients, market research is the bulk of the work.
-Closing isn’t about getting your clients to pay, it’s about scheduling the next appointment. I make an appointment with my leads to talk about how we can help, then I make an appointment to brainstorm ideas and go over details, then I make an appointment to finalize preproduction.
What about you? What were some beginner insights or resources that really made a difference when you first started?
I am also a freelance video producer and i am looking to start producing "Business Profile Videos" for businesses here in Trinidad. Do you have any advice of how to approach clients and sell them the idea of hiring me to create a "Business Profile Video" for them? Also, do you have any examples of "Cold Emails" that i can use to make first contact to potential business owners?
Jason, I recommend doing a google search of all the video production houses in your area and send them an email saying: subject: just wanted to say himessage: Hey name, My name is jason and I'm freelancing as a local videographer. Anyways, I just wanted to say hi and meet other videographers in my area, I'd love to drop by and get to know you.
...when you meet them, ask them for advice, who their clients are, what their background is, what do they do for their marketing. Then at the end say if they're looking for contractors, you'd love to work for them as a contractor.
The point of this is to get a feel for the market/niche. What industries look for what kind of videos etc. Also, you might get a handful of jobs like this to get your started.
Once you've done this, do a google search for SEO/web development businesses and do basically the same thing. Let me know how it goes! :)
What does your company do? Who are your clients, and how did you reach them?
I do video production. My clients are local small businesses, we make videos for their marketing campaigns or website.
I reached them by going on yelp looking up their websites and filling out their contact forms or emailing them.
Other than that, i went to the local chamber of commerce events and meeting them.
If you have more questions, by all means ask away :)
Thanks for getting back to me! I'm going into full time freelancing within the next season, which is why I'm very interested in how you're doing it.
For video production I would assume that you've got a very niche clientele. Your average local mom and pop shop aren't necessarily that advanced and probably don't even have their own website set up... so whom do you reach out to specifically? What makes a local small business your customer? How have you had to sell them on their need for videos? Or are you targeting only customers that already know they need that?
tl;dr, question is how do you pick your customers
Yes, and its actually very hard to figure out the niche. Our niche is mom and pops for now, but thats not the right niche for us. We want to move toward medium sized businesses with the budget. But for now, i only have access to mom and pop shops.
Now, how do i know which mom and pop shop would be willing to pay? I go on yelp and click on their website. If they don't have a website then that weeds out like 50% of the mom and pops. Then i look at their website and if they have an email i'll send them an email. It doesn't take much time for me to send an email. So really, i'm not being specific.
I also reach out to middlemen, that is the people who may have mom and pop shops as clients. I wrote about that here:
As for how do i sell them on their need or do I only sell to those who need it. Yeah, I only sell to those who need it, since only these people respond to my emails. Also, I get alot of emails that say "I don't need video right now but I'll keep your information for the future".
But, I also recently realized that I need to do more market research because I don't even know how to answer the question: do most of my prospects know they need video?
I intend to do this market research through networking events and trade shows.
A lot of the times when I’m out networking there aren’t many people who actually need my services. But this doesn’t mean I should give up, a lot of them can act as connectors.
So, after a good conversation use this script:
“I don’t need anything right now, but I just want to let you know that I am looking for a few new clients for my video production services and I’d love it if you introduced me if you think of anyone who’s a good fit”
“John, great talking to you. I’m always taking on new clients, so if you know anyone who needs video production, feel free to give them my contact. And let me know if there’s ever anything I can do to help you too”
## Warning: This is a long post with some longer-than-usual paragraphs, and less headings than normally. This is to keep unserious people from reading. I know it looks like an intimidating read if you just glance down (DON'T!!) - but just start reading and you'll get there in a few minutes... Uh, so, anyway... If you really want to create an income online, you might find this interesting. After 5 (almost 6) years in the game, this is my perspective, and some thoughts on what I'd do if I were to start all over again.) ##
Out of all the people who want to make money doing what they love, they generally fall into two categories, and should strategize accordingly. No one-size-fits-all “follow your passion” biz plan.
The problem with the first category is that you need an entirely different skillset to make money than to perform in your existing field of expertise.
Being able to write a book or paint a portrait or sing a song, is not the same skillset as being able to sell a book, get someone to pay for a portrait or sell out a concert.
It’s an entirely different skillset. Business skills. Marketing skills.