Make it so the conversation is always about them, not about you.
That is your default mode when finding clients, when wooing clients, when dealing with clients. Or when dealing with humans, period.
If you want the client to buy your proposal, make the whole thing about them.
Don’t ramble on about what you plan to do. Orient the whole thing around what they get. There’s a difference.
(And no, what they get is NOT your brilliance, your experience.)
If you want that prospect to read your email, make the email about them. Write about what they’re interested in, which is themselves.
If you can’t figure out how to write the email so it’s about them, you don’t have an email yet. Keep thinking about it. This is not easy, which is why it works, and why almost no one does it.
Most of my inbox is taken up with people chattering about their stuff, telling me what they want me to do. I skip those emails.
I read the ones about me.
There was a guy named Davey in my dorm at college who never had a shortage of female company, ever. Girls flocked to him. We resented him, mostly.
It’s not that he was sleek and hot-looking. He just had a knack for making every conversation, every casual encounter, about them.
Whoever he was talking to felt like the center of the galaxy for a time.
In the hall, outside his dorm room, there would often be a girl — or two — sitting cross-legged on the floor, reading a book, waiting for him to get back.
To finesse the first meeting with a client, make the whole conversation about them. Steer the talk toward what they want, how they think, what they’re looking to do.
Make the whole conversation about them and you will look like a genius.
And, added bonus, you won’t have to perform, or do your elevator pitch, or dazzle them with your wit.
The more the client talks, the smarter you sound.
And when you do talk, focus on what they get.
I admit I struggle with this. Or I forget it entirely, and start yammering about myself. (As I am doing right now.)
But the richest and busiest freelancers master this, consciously or not.
They have clients sitting cross-legged outside their doors.
A side note about Davey, my college friend: He ended up being smitten by a girl who had a knack for making HIM feel like the center of the galaxy.
They have four kids and are lovers still.