Freelancers - How to Make More Money from Clients You Already Have

Yuwanda Black

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Upselling is a skill that most freelancers don't use nearly enough. What exactly is upselling? Simply put, selling a client another, usually closely related product, after you've made an initial sale.

For example, if you complete a brochure for a client, you might pitch them on adding it to their website, in the form of web copy.

When most small business owners outside of the publishing/advertising/communications realm first start to use freelance writers, they have no idea how they can grow their business.

So, it's up to you, the freelance writer (graphic designer, web designer, illustrator) to let them know. All that being said, how do you upsell a client? Following are 3 things I've found that work well for me:

1. Make it a Habit: Most freelancers will finish a project, turn it and say something to the effect of, “Keep me in mind for all your freelance writing needs. "

This is not upselling! To effectively upsell, you need to make it a habit, and this means having procedures in place so that you don't forget. A good way to do this is a Project Follow-up Calendar.

What is a Project Follow-up Calendar? It lists specific actions that you take each time you turn a project in. For example, if you vow make three follow-up actions every time you turn a project in, it might look something like this:

2/12: Turn Project in

2/19: Follow up Action #1: Call to make sure all was well with project turned in last week and ask about brochure* I sent along with project. Depending on answer to this, do the following:

2/26: Follow up Action #2: Do follow-up on brochure I re-sent after last week's call

3/5: Follow up Action #3: Touch base to see if they want to move ahead with e-book we discussed last week

*Do a brochure that lists all of your services - and include it with every project you turn in. A week or so after you turn the project in, follow up and ask if they've had a chance to look over the brochure with the other services you offer. If they say no, offer to follow up again in another week or so. [Follow the actions outlined in your project follow-up calendar].

2. Get Specific to Their Business: While including a brochure listing all the services you offer is a great idea, one that works even better in my opinion is to get specific to their business.

Eg, I noticed an article on your website about the benefits of Flood Insurance. Have you ever thought about making this a direct mail piece and/or or a full-fledged e-book detail the pros and cons of this type of insurance?

Research has shown that the more serious prospects are about buying a product, the more information they want about it. Having an e-book and/or mailer done about this can dramatically increase sales.

A 7-page e-book on the above can be completed within a week. It can be a wonderful promotional tool for homeownership seminars, networking conferences, stand-alone giveaways, etc.

I'll follow up in the next three days about this, after you've looked over this project. This type of follow up shows clients that you: i) have researched their business; and ii) are proactive in thinking of ways to help them grow it.

Did you know? NOTHING can happen with a contact unless you stay in touch. Waiting for them to call you is a crap shoot. They may meet another freelancer who does stay in touch, or lose your card, or forget your website.

3. Stay in Contact: Most freelancers - in fact, most small business owners - fall on their sword here.

To repeat, NOTHING can happen with a contact unless you stay in touch. Waiting for them to call you is a crap shoot. They may meet another freelancer who does stay in touch, or lose your card, or forget your website.

The onus is upon you to stay in touch because when someone needs a writer (graphic designer, illustrator, web designer, etc. ), you want to be among the first they think of.

May be reprinted with the following, in full: Yuwanda Black is the publisher of THE business portal for and about the editorial and creative industries. First-hand freelance success stories, e-courses, job postings, resume tips, advice on the business of freelancing, and more! Commercial Freelance Writing Seminar: Learn how to launch a successful freelance writing career via this informative, one-day seminar. Log on to for full details.


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