How to Turn Your Project Leads into Paying Clients: Real Engagement Strategies

by Evane

Getting new clients is like playing chess. You need outstanding strategies to win.

In this article, we will explore the reasons why many fail to turn their project leads into regular clients, and of course, the corresponding solutions.

But… Before we delve into this, let’s lay out a few assumptions first.

  • You offer services relevant to the client’s needs.
  • You acknowledge these and your desire is to help them in their business.
  • You have an impressive portfolio that you want to share.
  • You have one of the most competitive offers.
  • You have that winning proposal prepared.

Simply, you are, without doubt, ready to be of service.

Yes? Now, consider these…

  • Your time and their time are precious.
  • You are communicating with humans.
  • And, you are new to them.

Agree? What should be your goals then?

When engaging project leads, it is your goal that they:

  • Acknowledge “YOU”
  • Listen to what you have to say
  • Gain interest about your services
  • Respond to your offer
  • Have the desire to know more
  • Try your services
  • Become a long-term regular client

So how can you achieve these?


We start with creating emails.

It is actually possible for influential people to receive more than 500 emails each day. And with their busy lifestyle, we can’t expect they will read all of these. However, this doesn’t mean that you lose hope and stop. There’s always a way. It might only take a few improvements to make it readable.

You’ll want to impress a fun and creative yet professional tone in all our emails. And, using HTML template is a big help. Although plaintext appears to be more like a personal message, clean and lean, but it has lots of disadvantages, such as:

  • It doesn’t allow us to use graphics and colors;
  • It is hard to dissect in sections;
  • It can’t monitor email opens;
  • It doesn’t permit clickable text links; and
  • It does not welcome multiple formatting (bold, italics, etc.)

But with an HTML template, we can do all of these.

Subject Line
Featuring a specific subject line is more personal than generic ones. You’ll get their interest if you use something like these, “Hi (name), we met at the annual conference yesterday” or “I’ve read your book, (title) and think it’s great!”, and so on.

Again, time is of the essence. So it is best to write an email that is short, brief, concise, and direct. By being direct, you can actually use the subject to say the main idea of the email as well.

How can they benefit from reading the email? A short introduction about your company is enough. Including two or more paragraphs can be a big turn off. You should really focus on what you can offer them, how you can make their life easier through your services. In short, the email should be about them, not you.

Going back to what we have laid out at the onset, we are engaging with humans here – and influential people love a good laugh too. You will want to brighten up their day or start it with a smile by giving a fun, entertaining yet substantial content. Be open to adding a little humor in your email, when appropriate.

Bullet Style
This is especially relevant if you need to list a few ideas or raise some questions. It will be easier for them to read and follow your line of thought.

Clients will not bother reading their email during busy hours no matter how interesting the subject line is. As a rule, the best time to send emails are early morning, during lunch, and late night. So you better check their time zone before hitting the send button.

You want your project leads to know exactly what you want them to do next. Do you want them to contact you? To click the link provided? Or perhaps, to set a meeting with you? You have to state your goal clearly and in a polite manner.


Next, we talk about making calls.

Calling project leads can be non-intrusive if you make an effort to connect with them beforehand.

For instance, you should’ve already sent an email, mail, or text message to introduce yourself. Although it is best to call once you get a response, letting them know you exist is enough.

We mean nobody, especially influential people, wants to talk to strangers. And, insisting may only increase resistance. In fact, there have been many complaints made regarding cold-calling.

What you do instead is to make them receptive by:

  • Greeting them cheerfully and professionally by starting with Mr., Ms, or Mrs.
  • Giving thanks for taking the call and listening.
  • Providing a brief introduction of who we are and our company.
  • Taking down notes of important points during the call.
  • Stating the purpose of your call. It is highly recommended to reveal this within a query. For example, “Mr. Smith, if we can share with you a way to increase your website’s traffic fast and easy, would you be interested to learn more?”
  • Being very creative and flexible in setting an appointment. Take for instance, they’d like to meet you but they have a tight schedule. In this scenario, you can suggest a breakfast, lunch or dinner meeting or even politely ask if you can accompany them towards their office from their car.
  • Sending details of the appointment immediately after you talked to them. You can then confirm the meeting a day before. And, if ever, there’s no response, call them.
  • Conveying gratitude for their time and of course, thank them for saying yes to the appointment.

All throughout the call, always:

  • Express professionalism
  • Maintain a perky tone
  • Extend your patience
  • Keep calm
  • Show confidence
  • Be very attentive
  • Manifest respect

So, you think you can get the client’s ‘Yes’? We do hope so that you can!


Lastly, we tackle instant messaging or online chat.

Adding a live chat on your website can be very effective to engage with your soon-to-be clients. It provides a platform where they have absolute freedom to express whatever is on their mind and get a response in real time.

However, if this feature isn’t given that much attention, it will remain a web feature, an additional functionality, or worst, a hindrance for them to communicate with you.

If you want to maximize the potential of communication channel, here are four important rules:

Greet like a human
These people are looking forward to chatting with humans, so as much as possible, you have to minimize using auto-generated looking salutation. For example, you can start with something like this: “Hello Mrs. Smith! This is John Doe.”

Mean what you say
If you currently display, “Online Chat Available” or “Chat Now” – make sure that it’s true.

Respond immediately
They might leave your site and never come back if you keep them waiting.

Provide assistance
Obviously, they want to know more, so get ready to satisfy their curiosity. When offering something, a tailored one can be very impressive and convincing.

That’s it!

We hope that these engagement strategies, particularly when sending emails, making calls, and using instant messaging, can help you turn all your project leads into long-term paying clients.

Give your thoughts or share more of your tips in the comments section below.

Photo credits: ben_grey, pazca and cdharrison

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