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If you don’t ask, you don’t get

A question via Fabian in the Freelance Camp community forum (https://freelance.camp)

What should I be doing to increase my clients? Referrals have been my bread and butter.

If referrals are working for you, see if there are opportunities to double down. You can spend a few hours thinking/reviewing what you’re doing and filling in the holes.

Do you have a Standard Operating Procedure (https://kaidavis.com/standard-operating-procedures/) for asking for a referral? SOPs make referrals (as my Chem teacher used to say) plug and chug.

Are you asking for referrals from your…

  • Leads that don’t convert into clients?
  • Clients at the end of a project?
  • Colleagues and people in your network?

Each of those is a valid lead source.

If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

To get more referrals, ask for more referrals.

Can you get hyper-specific about who an ideal referral is for you?

  • If it’s an agency, what type of agency? What size are they?
  • What kind of client is their most common? What size clients?
  • What solutions or outcomes are they selling to clients? What kinds of projects? Where do they need help?

The more specific you make your ask for a referral, the easier it will be for someone to say, “YES! I know someone who NEEDS your help.”

What would another 3-6 clients this year mean for your business? For many freelancers, that’s the difference between ‘feast’ or ‘famine.’

If you want to get more clients through referrals, then Referral Systems is your guide https://kaidavis.com/referral-systems/

Excelsior!

Kai

🌟🌟🌟🌟…❓

Wait – the Elite Assistant got 4 of 5 stars… what gets 5 stars?! Don’t leave us hanging, man!!

A reader question in reply to “Give your website an elite assistant that keeps the bad leads out.” Here’s the relevant bit:

— ✂️ Snip —

  • Option 1: Just your email address — 🌟 (one star out of five)
  • Option 2: Ya Basic Contact Form — 🌟 🌟
  • Option 3: The Elite Assistant — 🌟🌟🌟🌟

— ✂️ Snip —

The truth is that nothing scores five out of five because everything is a tradeoff.

I use (and love) ‘Elite Assistant’ lead forms in my business. They produce higher quality leads who share more information.

However, tradeoffs.

The more information you ask for on your lead form, the more fields you have. The more fields you add, the more friction you’re adding.

Now, there are a lot of ongoing discussions on the impact that more/fewer form fields have on conversions. The tl;dr in the year of our lady Two Thousand and Nineteen boils down to

Reducing form fields to increase conversions isn’t a myth, but it’s also not an absolute truth. (https://conversionxl.com/blog/reduce-form-fields/)

There isn’t a 5-star recommendation, because there isn’t a clear winner. It depends on you, your business, and your current situation:

  • If you ask fewer questions, you’ll get more leads through your lead form, but you’ll have to invest more energy in qualifying your leads
  • If you ask more questions, you’ll get fewer leads through your lead form, but you’ll have to invest less energy in qualifying your leads

Tradeoffs.

Now, that doesn’t mean you should shrug your shoulders, not change anything, and let the status quo win.

Back to ConversionXL:

Ask yourself whether quality (longer forms) or quantity (shorter forms) is more important. Design your forms accordingly.

and

The length of your form can be as daunting as the number of fields. Be aware of how greedy your form looks.

and

If you need more information, weigh the value of that extra information against the conversion rate. Is it worth it?

As you consider what changes to make to your lead form, you’ll want to act with intention. You’ll want to think about what questions you need to ask and want to ask and then decide what you will ask.

In Quick Start Lead Forms, you’ll learn the ins-and-outs of lead forms in about an hour. You’ll get a pack of videos and lead form video reviews, as well as a reference file full of questions you can ask on your lead form. Read more right over here: https://kaidavis.com/lead-forms/

Excelsior!

Kai

“Are you having a Black Friday event this year, Kai?”

In my inbox? A reader question. In your inbox? An answer.

Are you planning to do a BlackFriday Promo?

Yes! There will be a Black Friday/Cyber Monday event this year.

Lemme answer the next question of “What’s gonna be part of this year’s promo?”

  • A selection of products (digital and physical) from The Kai Davis Store (https://store.kaidavis.com)
  • A pre-order for a new video course on (shhh). This one has been on the ‘to release’ list for a good while. This video course will be releasing to preorder customers in Q1/Q2 of 2020. After this BF/CM promo, pre-orders will vanish back into the night.
  • A special physical product. This offering got rave reviews in 2018, and it’s coming back. Orders will ship in mid-December. (This is one of my favorite things to offer and I think you’ll love it).
  • A year-end service offering to help you get your consulting (or freelance) business tuned-up and ready for the new year 🚀
  • A special collaboration promo with [redacted], [redacted], and [redacted]. This Avengers-esq team-up will help your indie business become more powerful than Iron Man. (And after the promo, it’ll vanish with a snap 👌)

More on this soon.

Excelsior!

Kai

“I’ve gotten more and more leads after reading your latest book on lead gen”

Brad shares the outcomes he’s seeing after reading Get More Leads

I went from zero leads…to a couple leads a week…to averaging a couple leads per day. I need to filter them better just to be able to gracefully handle them all!

It’s crazy. I’ve made over $2000 since reading your book and implementing it. I’ve got two project proposals out right now for another $2k each.

The most surprising outcome has been that with all the leads I can now see a trend and I have developed a productized service roadmapping session based off the inquiries and feedback.

I agonized over what to offer, but without enough leads I didn’t understand what my potential clients valued. Now? It’s easy!

Congratulations, Brad! 🌟

Reader, If you’re looking for more leads, you’ll want to run down to The Kai Davis Store (https://store.kaidavis.com) and grab your copy of Get More Leads: https://store.kaidavis.com/products/get-more-leads

Excelsior!

Kai

Give your website an elite assistant that keeps the bad leads out

Leads come in all shapes, sizes, and qualities.

There are good leads that are a pleasure to work with. And there are bad leads who eat up your time and attention.

The best way to keep the bad leads out of your life? Give your website an elite assistant that keeps the monsters out.

Let’s talk about the three ways you can take leads in through your website, and what each looks like for you and your business.

Option 1: Just your email address

Slapping your email address on your website is the easiest way to get started. You put your email address up and let leads reach out to you.

Upside? Convenience.

This approach is simple and easy, both for you and the lead. Your lead can tap the link, jot down a quick email, and get in touch.

Downside? Low quality.

You’re going to get inbound messages from people ranging from “Hello, I need help — end of message.” to multi-paragraph descriptions of their pains and problems.

The burden of sorting through these falls on you, dear reader. You get to poke through the messages, figure out what to say, and reach out to people and see if you can stimulate a conversation to learn more about their needs.

Kai’s Score: 🌟 (one star out of five)

This approach is easy and fast but kicks the work down the road to Future You. Good enough to get started, but it can be much better.

Option 2: Ya Basic Contact Form

You’ve seen a hundred of these contact forms in your life:

  • Name
  • Email
  • Message

A basic contact form is better than just having your email address on your site but not much better.

Friction

A contact form adds a bit of friction to weed out low effort, low-quality messages. You’ll get fewer messages than you do with just the naked email address, and the messages will be of a slightly higher quality.

Kai’s Score: 🌟 🌟

A contact form is a good upgrade from the naked email address, but it can be much more useful with just a few changes.

Option 3: The Elite Assistant

The Elite Assistant is a more advanced contact form: a Lead Form.

You’re asking specific questions on your lead form to learn about the lead’s needs and see if they’re a fit for working with you.

Specific Context

When you upgrade your contact form to a Lead Form, you can start asking specific questions about the lead’s current situation, like “What problem are you experiencing?”, “Is there a specific outcome you’re looking for?”, or “Do you have a budget in mind?”

These questions help give you a better idea about their current situation. The more you know, the more you’ll be able to help.

Assess Fit

Someone who has no budget, but is looking for the stars and the moon may not be an ideal fit.

Someone with a budget and a specific outcome in mind may be a much better fit.

With a Lead Form, you get to learn more about them before you get on that initial call.

Kai’s Score: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Your time and attention are protected by your elite assistant, keeping the low quality, not-a-fit leads away.

You’ll be getting fewer messages than with the other options, but the messages you get are higher quality.


Ready to give your website an elite assistant (Lead Form) that keeps the bad leads out? You’ll want to check out Quick Start Lead Forms https://kaidavis.com/lead-forms.

Excelsior!

Kai

Stop leaking leads

The other day I realized I didn’t have a Standard Operating Procedure for “A Lead Appeared In Your Inbox, Kai!” I immediately went to work to remedy this oversight and stop leaking leads.

Lead intake can be challenging and confusing. There are a lot of moving parts: your webpage, lead form, reviewing the lead’s information, writing and sending your reply email, and booking your initial call with that lead. And follow-up.

What’s the essential bit of lead intake? You need to have a reply email to send to your new lead to move them forward. It doesn’t matter if you’re sending your lead intake email manually or automatically. It doesn’t matter if you have a finely tuned Lead Form (https://kaidavis.com/lead-forms/) or an “Email me” link.

If you aren’t sending a reply to your leads to say, “Great to hear from you, I’d love to help. The next step is…” your lead intake will flop.

To stop leaking leads, you need an initial email that you can save, customize, and send as a reply, like:

NAME,
Great to hear from you. Thanks for telling me about PROBLEM and OUTCOME. I’d love to help.
The next step would be for us to have an initial call so I can learn more about you, your business, and the outcomes you’re looking for help with. And, so I can answer any questions you have for me.
Pick the time that works best for you here: CALENDAR BOOKING LINK.
Looking forward to speaking with you,
YOUR SIGNATURE

Is this perfect? Na. Is it good enough to save in your template or resource folder? Is it good enough to use a few times until you find opportunities for improvement? Hell yeah.

Copy, customize, and send this to your new leads to help move them forward to your initial call.

Excelsior!

Kai

How to get on podcasts

It’s the year of our lady two thousand and nineteen and the most common question that your friend Kai gets asked is a riff on

How do I get on podcasts? I want to do a podcast tour!

Which, honestly, is a great question.

Podcast guesting continues to be a great way to reach a market and audience, demonstrate your expertise, promote your book/product/services, and grow your audience and leads.

Today? Let’s talk about, at a 50,000 ft view, how to get on podcasts. If you’re looking for down in the trenches advice on how to get on podcasts, then you should book a 1-on-1 ⚡ Clarity Call: https://calendly.com/kaid/call.

A podcast tour is similar to any other outreach-based marketing campaign

First, make a list of prospects

You want your prospect list to be a small, targeted list of up to a dozen or so shows. You want these prospects to be podcasts that

  • Accept guests
  • Match the target market you want to reach
  • Are currently publishing and releasing new episodes
  • Match your current expertise, positioning, and specialization

Why just a dozen? Because you don’t want to overwhelm yourself.

As always, there’s an article from me in the archives to help you make a list of podcast prospects: https://kaidavis.com/podcast-prospecting/.

Then, write your pitch

You want to have three or so topic ideas to share with the podcast, similar to

I can help teach your audience about

TOPIC A:

TOPIC B:

TOPIC C:

Which topic would they be most interested in?

By putting in three topics, you transform your pitch from a yes/no choice (“Do I have this guest on… or not?”) to a selection of yeses (“Which of these topics do I want this guest to explore?”)

In my half-decade plus of helping clients get on podcasts, a selection of yeses helps — a lot.

Here’s an article from the vault on “How do you write an email to get on a podcast?” https://kaidavis.com/podcast-outreach-email/.

Next, send your pitch to the podcast hosts

This step is all about taking action. Take your prospects and send them your email pitch.

Finally, remember to follow-up

You need to develop a habit of persistently, politely following-up every week until you get a ‘yes’ or a ‘no thanks.’

Your outreach isn’t done when you hit ‘send’ on your first email. That’s just the start of your campaign.

If the host doesn’t respond to your first email, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t interested. It means they’re busy and didn’t (yet) have time to respond to your message.

You need to follow-up. 90% of your success will come from your follow-up. After all, if you don’t follow-up, how important could your message be?

Here’s an article to help inspire you to become a follow-up fanatic: https://kaidavis.com/follow-up/


If you’re looking for down in the trenches advice on how to get on podcasts, then you should book a 1-on-1 ⚡ Clarity Call: https://calendly.com/kaid/call.

We’ll dive in and answer your questions, like:

  • What should you say in your initial email?
  • What do you say in your follow-up emails?
  • How often should you follow-up?
  • What should you include in your pitches?
  • And, most importantly, how do you find a list of podcast hosts to reach out to?

Excelsior!

Kai

How do you start your workday?

After a decade in the consulting mines, I’ve found that, for me, the best way to start work is to have a standard process to follow.

Here’s my Start of Business Day Procedure. There are many like it. This one is mine.

🚰 Get a glass and fill it with lemon water

Stay hydrated.

🧼 Clean your workspace for 5 minutes

Take any lost dishes, glasses, or loose pieces of paper and bring them to their homes.

💡 Adjust office lighting

Open the blinds. Turn on the light.

🖥️ Turn on the computer

A necessary step.

🎵 Start Focus At Will

Focus At Will is a quick and easy source of music to help me focus. I’ve been a customer for 4+ years now (https://www.focusatwill.com/).

⏲️ Start Noko

Noko (nokotime.com) is an excellent time tracking app. I use Noko daily and recommend it.

⏲️ Start a new “business admin” project timer in Noko

Start of day stuff? It has a project, so I know how much time I’m spending on it.

Your friend Kai hates hourly billing, but he loves knowing how much time it took to do that thing.

📂 Open Results.md and update the day

On the advice of the excellent Eric Davis (no relation) of Little Stream Software (https://littlestreamsoftware.com), I keep a text file with a running list of everything I complete in a day. Big, small, and everything in-between!

📕 Open Today’s Daily Journal in Notion

I keep a daily journal for life and business.

I keep my journal (and my projects, actions, and notes) in Notion, an all-in-one workspace that helps me write, plan, collaborate, and get organized.

https://notion.so, if you want to check Notion out. It’s awesome.

https://kaidavis.com/loves/notion, if you want to check Notion out and get $10 in credit (and I’ll get $5 in credit).

📂 Open my BattleBoard

I keep my actions and tasks in what I affectionately call my BattleBoard (https://kaidavis.com/battleboard/).

My BattleBoard is a Kanban Board in Notion, through Trello works quite well.

Here’s what a pair of cards (Actions) looks like:

Battleboard Peek
Battleboard Peek

🆓 Start Freedom

The internet is a very distracting place. Freedom (https://freedom.to) frees me from this distraction.

  • You enter in the sites you want to block (e.g., Facebook, Reddit, Google News, Slack)
  • You schedule a recurring time for Freedom to run and block these distracting sites (e.g., 7 am – 6 pm)
  • You are now free

Go and celebrate.

⏰ Start Timebar

Timebar is a small, focused app that stays out of your way and makes sure you don’t lose track of time.

I use Timebar to track my pomodoros/work sprints during the work day.

Timebar turns your entire menubar into a subtle progress bar that slowly slides away.

Check Timebar out here: https://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/47506/timebar.

✍️ Open Ulysses

I write my letters and #content in Ulysses, a fantastic writing app that’s markdown compatible (https://ulysses.app/).

✍️ Write The Daily Letter for 25 minutes

I swap Noko over to the “Daily Letter” project, I set Timebar for a 25-minute sprint, and then I get to work.


Now it’s time for you to get to work, my friend.

Excelsior!

Kai

The “Windup & Pitch” Email

Every question your client asks is a problem (for them) in disguise.

Hey, can you recommend an app for <BLANK>?

Yes, I can.

But, the recommendation alone isn’t that helpful.

Once my client gets the recommendation, what will they need to do with it?

They’ll need to know:

  • What to do next
  • Why they’re doing it
  • How to get started with that next step

And then they’ll still need to find the gosh darn time to take care of it.

So, I Windup and make a Pitch.

Every question is an opportunity to say:

  • Here’s what to do next
  • Here’s why you should do it
  • Here’s how to get started with that next step
  • And, I can take care of that for you. Here’s how much that will be.

Here’s what a Windup & Pitch email looks like:

(Link: https://cl.ly/b39d6ea93dfd/The%20%22Windup%20&%20Pitch%22%20Email.png)

Next time a client asks you a question, write a short email to them. Include a Windup (your explanation for them on what they’ll need to do) and a Pitch (to do it for them).

Excelsior!

Kai

Become a Follow-Up Fanatic

Send more follow-up emails. You’ll make more money.


Sending follow-up emails is the most critical skill you’ll learn in life and business.

How vital could your message be if you aren’t willing to follow-up?

Following-up on a conversation, project, or email is not rude. Follow-up is a polite, proactive action that demonstrates confidence, authority, and experience.

You’re following up on your message because you understand that your clients, leads, and contacts are busy people with a lot going on. You’re doing them a service by proactively, politely following-up.

If you have your leads, clients, and contacts best interests at heart, why wouldn’t you follow-up?

If someone contacted you and said

I’ve got this enormous problem, it costs me a ton money, and I need help!1

You’d be doing them a service by following-up with them even if they didn’t respond to your first, second, or third email.

After all, if you sent your doctor a message and said

Doc, I’m feeling sick…

And then your doctor’s office called you back, you missed their call, and then they followed-up and called again, would you feel happy or annoyed?

You’d most likely feel happy. Your doctor’s follow-up is a signal that you aren’t just another name, number, or face.

You’re someone who is under their care.

Share that same level of concern for your clients and their businesses. Follow-up more often.

Want to learn how to email anyone and get a reply?

You’ll want The Outreach Blueprint: http://outreachblueprint.com

Excelsior!

Kai

  1. Directly or indirectly, this is what most of your leads are saying/thinking/feeling when they get in touch with you.