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I'm starting as a freelancer in the web development sector. I'm constantly searching for new projects on (Dutch equivalents of) websites like oDesk.

Many clients add both an e-mail and a telephone number to their vacancies. Up to now, I always reply by e-mail or send a text via the system. Often, I don't get a response. I'm considering calling more often to actually get to speak someone, so that I can attract more clients. This would also give me some implicit feedback on my selling skills.

Would it be a good idea to call more often? Is it, in some way, expected that I call? Would it be considered annoying if I call instead of just leaving a message?

  • Both should be necessary while contacting to any client it is better to use both ways, initially you have to attract the client through the mail when you not got the response so you just call them as a feedback call. It will put better effect on them. At-least they will give you response. – user2716 Apr 25 '14 at 7:29
  • Hi user, welcome to Freelancing.SE! This answer is quite low in quality, and really belongs as a comment. If you can expand on it to improve beyond the other answers, then feel free to post as a new answer. Thanks – Canadian Luke Apr 30 '14 at 22:45
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I would start off as you have by emailing in the first instance. It allows you to set out your offering clearly in a passive manner to begin with. If you haven't heard back after 48 hours, I would then follow up with a phone call. The advantages that I have found with this approach are that:

  1. The client has hopefully read your initial email and if not, you have something to direct them to to start the conversation with.
  2. You get to build up a rapport with the client due to having a direct conversation, which could swing things in your direction in terms of getting the assignment, provided that you negotiate well.

The fact that clients add a phone number means that they should expect a call, otherwise why are they putting a phone number up in the first place. Because they are coming to the market with a requirement, the fact that you are going that extra step and following up your initial email with a phone call, should be well received and will allow both parties to discuss the finer details of the assignment which may not be immediately obvious from the original advert.

4

Levelnis provided decent answer, but I think that it is applicable only for established freelancers who do not need to approach all clients actively (at least they won't be out of business if they don't).

If you are a "new guy" and you are looking at big sites that are used by companies to find vendors and freelancers, then time is key. You should call as soon as you discover prospect who is looking for services you provide. Everyone makes decisions based on emotions and justifies them with logic.

If 20 people send emails and only one calls, he/she might be actually the first one to contact the client (those emails might sit in email box for a day or two before someone reads them). And whoever comes first has big advantage. If you don't waste it, you might close the deal and email offers from your competitors will end up rejected or unanswered (like yours are sometimes rejected or unanswered now).

To make sure you won't blow your chance:

1) Try to dig up some info about the client (it will give you a big bonus if the client sees you care about his company and his business)

2) Summarize what is your offer in writing (it will serve both as guideline for the call and as followup email after the call). Make sure you will use whatever you discovered at point one - you should tailor your offer to clients situation so client sees you care about his business and you are trying to bring benefit to it with your work. (i.e. compare this:

"For restaurant like yours, which focuses on dinners and lunches its website is a place where people come around noon when they are hungry and when they are choosing a place to dine. So I will create a site where you can present them your offers in most efficient way, accompanying it with pictures of your tasty meals - so your visitors will just run to your place and have a dinner instead of browsing to your competition to see their offer. And I will make sure happy customers will be able to express their happiness easily on your site, so your great offers will be backed by genuine testimonials from your customers."

with this:

"I will create professional website for you that will attract customers and I will include integration with social networks."

First one is longer and could probably be shortened a bit, but which one will be more interesting for you if you are starting a restaurant and need to attract regular customers that will be coming for dinner to you?

3) Think about what could be possible questions and how will you answer them (even those you might not like must be answered in a polite way that will show your expertise)

4) Call the prospect and present your offer (btw the communication with the client doesn't end with one call, but that's not in the scope of the question).

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, sometimes it will be utter waste of time. But active approach will always get you more clients (and happier clients) in the long run. Just do your homework, so you can show your expertise properly. And call first, then follow up with email. And don't let the contact go cold.

  • "Everyone makes decisions based on emotions and justifies them with logic": I enjoyed that. – Harry Cover Oct 30 '15 at 10:52
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I truly believe that the best way to attract your clients would be to give them a call ...Speaking for my self it's better to hear a voice than to email that is how you build trust and loyalty also understanding .I know it sometimes take me weeks before I look at an e-mail but if you call then you would be able to explain whatever questions needed to be answered by your clients, buyer, or agency ..

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Here's what I would do when reaching out.

  1. Send a short and sweet email with no more than 50 words. This makes sure your email is to the point, which makes it more likely for them to read it.
  2. Make sure to include a Next Step in the Email. In marketing, thi is called a Call to Action. This is where you tell your prospect to take a next step towards becoming a client. A good example could be asking to set up a Skype session to go over ideas you had for their project.
  3. Have a Scheduled Call/Skype Session. This is infinitely better than cold-calling because they'll be expecting it and be more open to how you can help them.

However, clients often don't reply to unsolciited emails, or even after they're presented with a proposal. What do you do?

The Best Solution I've found is The Magic Email. Essentially, this is an emila to send to prospect that have gone "cold". The email stats "Since I haven't heard back for your regarding this, I'm going to assume you've gone a different direction or your priorities have changed".

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