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The A-Z of freelance training: Part 4

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Sharon Gaskin runs from Q to U in part four of her series on freelance training.

 

Q is for Quality Clients

One of the best sales directors I ever worked with told me that after each client meeting he used to ask himself the question ‘do I want to work with these people?’ And if the answer was no he didn't pursue it any further even though it may have meant a massively lucrative deal.
This is a pretty amazing attitude to take, especially in the competitive financial services market. His philosophy was that it just wasn't worth the hassle of getting the wrong type of customer. They waste your time, cause you stress and divert your attention away from dealing with the customers who will genuinely appreciate your efforts. Not all customers are good for business!
Spend some time thinking about your ideal client and don't bother chasing after anyone who doesn't tick all the boxes. If you attract the people who you want to spend your time with, they are more likely to be clients who value you and your business. They will be more likely to pay your invoices on time, more likely to agree to a plan of action and stick to it and more likely to buy something that will add value to their organisation.

R is for Reconnecting via LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a fantastic resource that you can use to make new connections and build relationships that are going to be useful to you in your business. But did you know that you could also use it to find people you may have lost touch with?
I have tracked down several ex-colleagues in the past year or so. It has been great to reconnect with all these people, find out what they have been doing, learn about their new jobs and of course to tell them about my business! And now that these connections have been remade it will be easy for me to keep in touch.
It's easy to lose contact with our friends - people move jobs, move house, relocate to different parts of the country or even abroad. Before we had the internet it was virtually impossible to track them down without doing a lot of hard work or hiring a private detective! But now with tools like LinkedIn around there's really no excuse for not making the effort to reignite those old relationships. Who knows what will come of it?

S is for Social Networking

 
Social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are fantastic ways to build your profile, get known for what you do and build relationships with people. Despite the reservations that some trainers seem to have regarding social networking I personally believe it is very powerful, it's going to get more so in the next few years and we certainly can't afford to ignore it. 

T is for Twitter

And in particular... I would recommend you use Twitter. I'm amazed at the number of trainers who come on my workshop who are not actively using it because they either don't understand how it works or believe that it is a waste of time and they will never get business from it.
I have found Twitter to be a great way of connecting with people and building a network fast. I have been amazed at the number of people I have managed to connect with in a short space of time and also how many of these people are now actively helping me with my business and vice versa. Twitter can also help drive traffic to your blog or website. If people start to follow you and like what you are saying they will naturally become interested in your business. And Twitter is no different to other forms of networking in that people will recommend and refer people they like to others.
And yes – as one of my clients will testify (she was offered the opportunity to pitch for the opportunity to develop and run a Teambulding programme for a pharmaceutical company recently which came via a Twitter contact) you can get business from it!

U is for Understanding Your Existing Clients

 
Sometimes I think that in our efforts to continually feed our pipeline and chase new business it can be easy to miss out what is already under our nose. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that this isn't important, of course it is, and your business needs this to be successful year after year. But what about the clients you already have? You already have a relationship with them. They already like, know and trust you. You are already half way there to your next piece of work. 
So, spend some time thinking about your clients. Who are they? When did you last speak to them? What strategies do you use for continually building and maintaining a relationship with them? Do you stay in regular contact or only think about them in your quiet times when you are not delivering training? 
Sharon Gaskin runs The Trainers Training Company which helps freelance trainers to create successful businesses. You can also read her blog here and join her Freelance Trainers' Network group here on TrainingZone.co.uk

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