The problem with being very good at something - coding, perhaps, or designing apps - is that you might not also be good at attracting customers for your services.
If you want to get more customers and also be able to justify higher fees, try these four steps:
1.) Craft a repeatable pitch. If you're selling a service, make it easy for others to repeat what it is that you do.
Remember that you are not always selling to experts. Sometimes the decision-maker - and many times the person whose budget is funding your work - will have NO idea what you do, or why they need you. Your pitch needs to make this crystal clear.
If you have difficulty expressing in simple terms what you do, and why it is so worthwhile, ask some former clients what value you added. Then write it down in the simplest words possible. For example, "I manage every detail of creating mobile phone apps for Fortune 1000 companies" is much better than "mobile app development."
2.) Know your audience. To whom are you selling? Are they technical, or not? Do they care more about speed, quality or cost?
The less you try to understand how your prospects think, the less you will get paid. Why? Because you are asking prospects to adjust to your way of doing business, instead of making the extra effort to adjust to theirs.
Clients will pay a lot - much more than they like to admit - to people who make them feel comfortable. (This makes it much easier for clients to sleep at night.)
To get a message into someone's brain, you have to package it in a form they can process. For some people, that means creating a simple checklist and updating it on a daily basis; for others, it means writing a detailed description with actual sentences and nouns and even verbs.
Ask yourself: who is going to read this, and how do they think? To get a clue, re-read anything they have sent to you.
3.) Use examples. Without examples, your pitches are little more than abstract thoughts, and most people ignore abstract thoughts.
Examples show prospects what you do and why they need you.
To the greatest extent possible, take your examples from your previous assignments. For example, if you are seeking government assignments, you might say, "From my service in the armed forces, I am familiar with military protocol and strict deadlines."
If you are trying to break into new areas, create original examples that are based on what you want to do, rather than what you have done in the past.
4.) Write at least three drafts of every message to a client or prospect! People hate this tip, but it is insanely easy to slip back into your own way of communicating, and to forget about speaking to clients with words that clients are most likely to understand.
I even rewrite emails, but have learned to do this very quickly. You can, too. Write as you normally do, then re-read it from the recipient's perspective. Make some changes, then read it again. If necessary, make more changes. Then read it again.
Just as an example, I changed this article about ten times over a 24-hour period.
Don't skip this step! The more you polish your words, the more money you will make.
Image credit: Markus Gann/Shutterstock