How To “Flip The Script” And Get Clients

By Jamie McSloy / July 27, 2017
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Yesterday I wrote about flipping the script so far as what the average freelancer does to try and get clients.

I meant to talk about flipping the script and making clients feel like they need you more than you want to get paid, but the words got away from me.

That’s what this article is about, and so if you want to get more clients (and probably do less work over time to do so) then this article is for you.

Before we get started, here’s a section from yesterday’s article that’s relevant when it comes to getting clients:

Make Your Own System

In a moment, you’ll be reading about ways to flip the script and differentiate yourself from other cold-emailers, network marketers and cheap Indian freelancers.

Before that though, let’s talk about the elephant in the introduction. You are going to need to build your own system for getting clients. There’s no way around this, no magic bullet you can buy, no short cut you can take and nobody that’s going to magically take you from earning nothing to landing seven figure clients.

Your system will be unique to you and you should know your own strengths before you start to build it. If you’re among the many people who aren’t blessed with charisma and don’t like person-to-person sales, then that’s fine, but you’re going to have to work around that. If you’re terrible at cold emails (you send a thousand emails and don’t convert) then you either need to change your strategy entirely or seriously look at your skills. Ditto building website funnels or attending network meetings.

(Time Out: If you’re enjoying this article, then you should probably sign up to my mailing list, where I give out ideas and business tricks that I don’t share publicly. Click here, fill out your details and get yourself on the list! You won’t leave this page.

Now Back To The Regular Programming Schedule…)

With that said… let’s talk about flipping the script.

Getting Clients By Flipping The Script

When you cold email, every client knows that you’re after their money. So the first and most important part of getting a freelance client is to either understate the fact that you want money or even outwardly state “I’m not after your money” (with the caveat being that you’re not after their money this time.)

I get emails all the time from spammers and scammers across all my sites. Most are too stupid to follow that basic above rule… “Hi, we offer web design services call us for great website!”

Some even put their prices in the cold email. Don’t do that, because it’ll never work. Don’t cold email at all saying “I offer these services.”

Think: Who wants to read that?

Outside of flyers for the local kebab shop, you can’t just send a list of stuff for a person to buy and hope it will convert.

Instead, your cold email is literally an attempt to get the person’s attention and flip the script. Everything you do in that cold email should say, “This guy is what I need but he’s not actually offering his services to me.”

How I’ve done this is simple: Just send something out that’s valuable. No obligation. I used to look at people’s websites and find something wrong with it and then email them. No lead-ups, no upsells, no mention of my service whatsoever.

Save that for after they email you back to say thanks.

That’s when you put them into a box.

And the box depends on what their answer looks like. But that’s a topic for another day in a more private situation.

Flip The Script Entirely: Be Where Others Aren’t

The best results you’re going to get aren’t with a cold approach to a business, especially not with cold emails. You can get responses and you can get quite a high response rate if you really split-test and master your copy skills, but it’s never going to convert quite like other means of client acquisition.

Namely, everything that freelancers don’t do.

Going to “networking events” is a step up from cold email, but what we really need to do is this: Intercept your potential clients when they’re doing business and open to buying or outsourcing something.

That’s the magic ingredient to getting clients. From yesterday’s article:

You might go to a networking event but the above could also mean “write a blog post about a specific topic and then close that with a call to action.”

Think of all the different industries that hire freelancers and do that. It doesn’t have to be a blog post, a website or anything. I’ll give you an example in tomorrow’s article where I talk more about flipping the script on potential clients, but for now, understand that most freelancers don’t do this.

Just as an example…

Imagine a restaurant owner. He has a £500 website that he paid some agency £5000 for and it doesn’t make any money. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about, so he has some mystical reason why it’s not working. (Basic SEO, probably.)

Anyway, he figures he can at least update the menu on his website. So he Google’s “How to update my menu on my restaurant website.”

Lo and behold… he finds an article funnily titled with his exact question. It’s just straight information, but at the end it says, “Oh, by the way, sign up for our exclusive guide to running a restaurant website that’s great if you’ve overpaid for a rubbish website and don’t know how to work it.”

You get the picture.

This is a single example of a very simple system that can be tailored to any industry, any situation and requires nothing more than a simple landing page. You could build hundreds of these and never have to cold-approach a client ever again…

Final Thoughts

… Or you could take the basic principle “intercept your potential client” and make something totally different. The above works with my skills and temperament. Some people I know would hate that approach and it’d bring out the worst in them. Instead, they could hang out at a golf club or take people for drinks or whatever.

Essentially though, to flip the script and get clients, you have to do one basic thing: find a place and time where they are receptive and that isn’t swamped by other freelancers. Luckily, this is still very easy because most freelancers are busy spam emailing pitches on Upwork.

  • Kyle says:

    That’s a good tip, but you would think that hundreds of freelancers would have already pounced on this.

    I guess if you niche down really far it could work.

    • Jamie McSloy says:

      You would think so…
      …but they haven’t.

      Maybe if you’re a web design freelancer or SEO consultant they have, but just take a quick look around.

      You don’t need to niche down far at all. I’ve snagged some domains that are literally [industry]

      Write a handful of articles, easy lead generation. If you do niche down to more local competition, that’s all you need.

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