When I worked as an agent for art directors, copywriters and fashion illustrators, and was considering taking on someone new, my litmus test was always “would I want to have dinner with this person”? If the answer was “no” I’d pass, no matter how talented they were. Talent alone, like good looks, only gets you so far. The most successful freelancers I worked with were those able to quickly establish a connection and build trust with their clients.
As freelancers or creative entrepreneurs, we tend to work with clients on a project-by-project basis. When it comes to establishing a relationship, we don’t have the luxury of time. Connection needs to be genuine and it needs to be established from the get-go. If your communications (from your website to how you speak with clients) are all business and no personality, you run the risk of losing them to someone who delivers the goods and makes them feel something.
So how do you go about building the “know, like and trust” factor with your ideal clients? The answer is authentically, intentionally and over time. While it’s a long-game strategy, there are ways you can boost your connection right now.
Video allows us to create an intimate connection with many, many people. That said, video is all about quality and content, so you need to do it right. I’ll go into more detail about what makes a good video in another post, but here are a few tips:
- Hire the best video producer you can afford. Aside from technical and creative ability, they should also give you feedback on your content ahead of time and be able coax the best performance from you during the shoot.
- Talk to your video producer about what you want the video to achieve. Do you want people to sign up for your mailing list? Do you want them to call you for a free consultation? Is it more of a mood piece? The desired outcome will inform the content and shooting style.
- Choose an environment that’s consistent with the impression you want to make. If it’s clear you’re sitting in your spare bedroom, but you’re ideal client is corporate executives, there will be a disconnect that no amount of great content will be able to bridge.
NB My new video is in production as we speak, so please, judge me on the one to come, not the one you see now!
2) Get a professional headshot
I’ve talked about this before, but it’s worth mentioning again. If you want to play with the big boys and girls, it’s imperative that you have a professional photo. There is no excuse for having a photo of you in a bar on ANY of your communications! I know that posing for pictures is uncomfortable for most of us, and hiring a pro can feel like a big expense, but it’s always worth it. Added bonus: pros have make-up artists and photoshop….woo hoo!
Do you need a new portrait? I love Walling McGarity for creating beautiful professional, yet beautifully creative photos.
3) Ditch the bio
No one cares where you went to school or what awards you’ve won. They care about why you’re passionate about what you do and how that passion benefits them. A story about how you came to be doing what you love will resonate much more powerfully with your ideal clients than a bio ever will.
4) Get (a little) personal
When I first started writing my newsletter, it consisted only of the article. Maybe it’s because I’m a Brit, but sharing personal details seemed like dangerous territory in a world rife with too much information. But as I got to know my tribe better, I realized that they liked hearing a little about my life. By sharing my challenges, as well as successes, I was able to connect with my readers on a much more real level. While tempting (and definitely sexier), projecting a perfectly curated image of one’s life and career isn’t believable. And when people don’t believe you, they don’t trust you.
Feel the fear of being vulnerable and do it anyway. What you gain is far greater than what you give up.
Are you ready to let your personality shine through, but feel a little hesitant? Why not set up a time to chat with me and we can talk about solutions? I’ll talk to you soon!