Balancing Relationship Building and Selling

Balancing Relationship Building and Selling

You’ve probably spent more time than you’d like to admit deliberating over what exactly to say to potential clients, I know I have.
One of my email subscribers asked: What do I actually write in the email body to be clear about who I am and what I do – but without selling because I want to create a bond?
And so begins the beautiful business balancing act. I’ve got a few thoughts on this.

You’re selling a potential collaboration

You want to avoid being pushy and definitely want to avoid a short sharp interruption to a person’s day: I’m a translator. Buy my stuff! BUT you can’t not sell in business. You may not be selling your translation services off the bat, but you are selling yourself as a useful business partner who can add value to a person’s company.

Your first contact is just the start

Look at the email you want to write as one part of a bigger process.

The key phrase in the original question is create a bond. You’re building relationships with your potential clients and they need to know, like, and trust you before they feel happy enough to hand over a chunky translation assignment.

My best clients are those who have warmed up over time. I’ve started with a small editing or translation task and then after a while, we’ve worked together on bigger projects. That’s probably fairly typical for direct clients who are cautious about who they work with.

Most people don’t want translation right at the very moment they see your marketing. This is why follow-up is so important and why multi-step campaigns are more effective. You keep in touch and stay top of mind for that moment when a person does need you.

Reverse engineer your email 

Put yourself in your potential client’s position. What you say to them depends on your specific situation and who they are. [Absolutely true but an annoying answer, isn’t it?]

Let me explain.

I share samples of my marketing in my courses but don’t work with templates because your ideal clients will be different to mine and they’ll have different problems and desires. Let’s not forget the different nationalities and cultures we’re targeting.

The best question to ask yourself is: What would you need to know as a client before someone new opened the door and invited you into their world?

Imagine you want a new website designed and the perfect person dropped into your inbox. What might encourage you to request more information?

  • I’d want to feel the sender has integrity, is honest and open about their services. They don’t offer everything under the sun because they can’t possibly fulfil that promise.
  • I want to feel that the sender understands my situation. We all like to feel special and don’t like being thrown into a category that doesn’t quite fit.
  • If I wanted a new website and didn’t know where to start, I’d want to receive marketing about how to figure out what I need from my future website before any discussion about the number of pages, hosting SEO and all that jazz.
  • What should I do next? Is there an easy way to find out more without committing to the full service?

Encourage the next step

By all means make a free or low-risk offer in your email. If I’m going to try out a new business partner, I don’t want to lose large sums of money if they do a bad job. Equally, I don’t want to be left hanging. To create a bond with someone, you want more than just a new connection on LinkedIn. You want to move them a small step closer to working with you, preparing them for that next step in a way that feels natural for both parties.

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