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Freelancing and Whale Hunting -- Guest Post by Barbara Weaver Smith

Dr. Barbara Weaver Smith has kindly offered a guest post today.  Read on for some wonderful advice:

Freelance Whale Hunting

If you have heard of my book, Whale Hunting: How to Land Big Sales and Transform Your Company, then you may know that ”whale hunting” is about growing your business by making bigger sales to bigger customers. It’s a business-to-business strategy typically undertaken by a team of people, not an individual freelancer.

That said, there are many whale hunting practices—strategies, tactics, and states of mind—that can be very useful to a “solopreneur.” You too can think like a whale hunter, act like a whale hunter, and sell like a whale hunter!

Today I’m going to offer three of the Whale Hunting practices that are useful to freelancers who want to grow their business.

1. Create Your Target Filter. This is a tool that helps you define your ideal customer. If you’re thinking like a whale hunter, your ideal customer is one that can give you orders that are ten to twenty times your current average job. You may have industry verticals, key needs that you fulfill, specific characteristics that make a prospect ideal for you. The goal is to identify characteristics of those clients who can provide you with continually recurring business, rather than selling piece by piece or project by project.

2. Populate Your Boat. The Whale Hunters define the “boat” as the team of people who hunt a particular whale. You, as a freelancer, may do all your hunting alone. But what could you hunt if you teamed up with some other freelancers—say, if you are a writer, team up with an illustrator and a graphic designer to offer a complete outsourced service? Or, if you want to go after big technical writing jobs (say, revising all of the Department of Motor Vehicles documents for a state), you could bid as a team of technical writers and design artists who can complete the entire project in record time. These are ways you can compete against larger companies.

3. Find Your Whales in Pods. If there is a particular kind of customer who is especially good for you, think about and research where these customers gather. With whom do they associate? What conferences, conventions, online communities, etc. draw them? What organizations do they join? Any time you can send a single message to a large number of ideal targets, you are whale hunting. Can you do a joint venture with a membership association, offering a discount to each of their members who engages your services.

Of course, there are as many flavors of freelance services as there are of ice cream. But if you are accustomed to finding your jobs one by one, if your customers do not have frequent repeat business to offer, or if you have to pass up bigger opportunities because you lack the capacity, these are problems that Whale Hunting can help you resolve.

I invite you to join our online sales and business development community at http://www.thewhalehunters.com . Basic membership is free. You will find the Target Filter and other tools for growing your business plus a wealth of resources dedicated to the fast growth of small companies.

Thank you, Joyce, for hosting me today!

Barbara Weaver Smith

October 2010

The Whale Hunters is a strategic sales coaching company that helps small businesses achieve explosive growth by landing bigger deals with bigger customers. Our business development process has consistently helped hundreds of companies create a repeatable, disciplined sales culture that optimizes the company’s ability to land and harvest whale-sized accounts in any economic climate.

Small business is the best way to reinvigorate the American economy. Barbara Weaver Smith, founder of The Whale Hunters, shares a lot of information of benefit to business people who want to grow their business. The question is how can small businesses grow at a rate that will show results sooner rather than later? That’s where The Whale Hunters comes in – and we invite you to register for a free account which gives you access to the wealth of information on the new expanded Whale Hunters website– http://www.thewhalehunters.com/

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