This is another great article. Great because it's such a nice blend of strategy and nuts and bolts tactics. Well done. Every recommendation a gem and a starting point for actions that lead to results.
Five More Clients: 12 Ways to Find Them
For many independent business people, just 'five more clients' would make a big difference. Here are some ways to find them.
I was at a Biznik event last night, and we introduced ourselves and our businesses by saying what we were trying to manifest or create. As we went around the room, the most popular answer (by a landslide) turned out to be "Five More Clients." (Or, "five more clients a week.")
For many independent entrepreneurs, just five more massages, five more counseling sessions, five more gardens to maintain would turn their businesses around from "stress to success."
If this describes you, take action to make those five new clients a reality. Stretch yourself and try something new. And when you do, give it a fair shot. Don't "try" something twice and give up. It may take a little time to see if a particular form of publicity or marketing is working or not, or to do it well!
Here are some things you can do starting today to find your Five Clients:
1. Expand your networking universe.
Join a networking or leads group that meets regularly. I love meeting new people at every Biznik event I go to, but there can also be a tremendous value in meeting with a "regular" group of colleagues in business. Whether a mastermind group or a "leads" group, this is a group that you meet with consistently to build relationships and (hopefully!) refer business to each other.
Let's face it: you can meet 50 new people every week (and if you have an unusual service, that might be your best strategy), but how many of those people will know you, like you, trust you, heck, remember you enough to make a referral? Especially for "high trust" professions such as attorney, realtor, or financial planner, you're not likely to refer someone you met once. You must also develop long-burning relationships, not just flit like a moth to every flame.
Be on the lookout for leads for your colleagues as well. It may be a new mindset for you, but you'll get the hang of it.
If you're already IN a regular networking group, visit other chapters and locations (if applicable). You'll be welcomed with open arms and open minds.
2. Look for "Power Partners."
If you're a mortgage lender, find some realtors you can connect with, if you're an interior decorator, find an organizer you can refer to. Look for strategic connections. Who is working with the same target market, but offering a different (yet complimentary) product or service?
3. Show your expertise.
Speak at events, write articles, put on an event or a workshop, be a guest speaker at someone else's event. Author a book in your spare time. (Yes, you can! I coach with the Snow Group, helping entrepreneurs write and publish in as little as 6 months.)
4. Keep in touch with past clients and prospects.
Send a card or a message to let them know you're thinking about them. Use your database list (you DO have a "list", right!?) to keep in touch through eNewsletters or other means on a regular basis, sending them relevant information or items of value.
And don't be "all business" in your promotions. Sometimes clients connect with your hobby, your passion or your pet as much as they do with you, because they also happen to love sailing or jazz or Pug puppies.
And if you don't have time to even THINK about writing a newsletter or ezine, set up a system that will keep in touch for you. I recommend Rick Itskowich's Quote Actions for a "set it and forget it" system that works great for many types of professionals.
5. Run a special enticing new prospects to try you out.
The value of a long-term client is worth taking a small discount up front. Each month I offer a promotional special to Bizniks; it gives me a reason to contact my prospects and past clients, and it gives them a reason to take action.
Sales trainer Terry Murphy recommends "bundling down" your services in this economic climate - i.e., make it easy for someone to hire you if you'd like more business. Shorten your contract term, offer a 30-minutes massage, or throw in a bonus service with the purchase of two others.
6. Target your Twittering; Focus your Facebook.
Do not treat social media like a contest to see how many people you can link with. But DO keep in touch with the people you actually know! Who can predict when your old high school buddy or the new friend you met at a seminar a month ago will need a realtor, a chiropractor, or a new website?
Social media can be useful for networking, or a big waste of time as a business application. If you'd like your social media experience to cultivate leads, develop it with that intention.
Start a Facebook group or a page for your business (or topic). On Twitter, target who you follow by using the search tool.
I searched for the terms "writing book," "writer" and "author" when I started my "BestSellerCoach" Twitter account. I followed people who looked like candidates for my new coaching niche. Tweets led to emails which led to phone conversations... hey, who can resist free, targeted, willing leads who are asking me to call them!?
To target specifically, give yourself a name that fits. "CatsEyeDesign" will attract some followers that might not have noticed "BobDunn." "StayingInTouch" tells something about what Rick Itzkowich does (plus, it's easier to spell!).
7. Get your 15 minutes of fame.
Seek out opportunities for press coverage. I use HARO (HelpAReporterOut.com) and scan for PR opportunities when I have an extra minute. One such email led to an upcoming feature in Women's World Magazine! Pretty good for a free service.
I have found that writing articles and a blog have led to other PR opportunities, including a KIRO news feature and a Daily Candy article. Small local papers are also starving for news. (You can literally write your own article for some of them!)
8. Be ready.
If you have a press story or articles coming out, make sure your website is ready! Without offering an item of value (like a free special report or ebook) and an automatic sign-up, your leads will come and go like waves on the ocean. You need a bucket, so design one! Offer something of interest, and ask for their contact information in return. If the press will be local, consider planning an event that the readers/viewers can come to.
9. Be consistent.
You don't have to blog daily or even weekly, but maintain a level of consistency with your blogs, newsletters, events and articles (whatever your strategies are).
Business is not a sprint, it is a marathon. Sometimes people call me because "they've been following my blog for awhile" or they've come to two or three events.
With some of the press I've gotten, the reporters weren't even sure how they found me! (This happened with Newsweek and Daily Candy.) All I know is that without an online presence through articles/blog (and perhaps without Biznik helping me raise my SEO!) my phone would not be ringing.
10. Work with a team.
Speaking of marathoners... solopreneurs are less like football or basketball players and more like track team members. Individual achievement may be the goal, but it's easier done with a team and coach to keep you motivated and accountable, rather than training all by yourself.
Think about it - few people would train for a sports event alone, even as solo competitors. Business is the same way. Isolation is optional. If you're a solopreneur, find your "training buddies." Biznik helps you do this, especially if you live near a city with active events. If you're not near a critical mass of Bizniks, find another networking group, or even a telephone coaching/mastermind group.
11. Think Differently.
I'm sure you've heard the definition of Insanity: "doing the same thing again and again, expecting a different result."
Mark Gorman says the same thing about our mindset: that THINKING the same THOUGHTS again and again, while expecting a different result is also insanity!
I couldn't agree more. If you're too busy complaining about "needing" more clients, you won't do the things you need to do to attract them! You've got to plan for and expect those Five Clients, or you might not be ready for (or even recognize) them when they show up!
12. Notice what works; rinse and repeat.
Take time to examine your marketing efforts and notice what works and what doesn't work. (Didn't an ancient philosopher say the unexamined business is not worth working!?)
I know it sounds simple, but look at where your clients and leads are coming from. (Also evaluate the quality of the leads.) Do more of what is working, and less (or none!) of what is not.
Not every strategy is going to be effective for every business person. And you don't have to do "everything."
After all, you "just" need Five More Clients!
Learn more about the author, Kate Phillips.
Comment on this article
Posted by Dennis Dilday, D.C., Everett, Washington |
Apr 10, 2009
Posted by Sandra Jones, Bellevue, Washington |
Apr 10, 2009
You've energized me! Thanks for stirring up my thinking and reminding me of what I do know and have not done. With your article, I have a new checklist of possibilities and a commitment to follow-through on a new one for next week.
Thanks! Sandra Strengthen your CORE for Vitality, Joy and Soul Satisfaction
Thanks Dennis and Sandra! Glad it was helpful.
Posted by Terra Paley, Los Angeles, California |
Apr 10, 2009
Hi Kate, You rule and you nailed it! This is a great article-as always. I believe in planning and expecting clients combined with finding the right power partners. A note on power partners, sometimes they come from unexpected sources. Keep writing, you are great and I will buy the book. Terra
Posted by Andy Bromberg, Concord, Massachusetts |
Apr 10, 2009
Wow, great article Kate! Everything you said here is so true, and everyone should be implementing all of them!
Also, I LOVE HARO. I've gotten a couple press opportunities. It's just a great service.
Best regards, Andy
Thanks Terra! Good to see you the other night.
And thanks Andy! Love the action shot. Glad to hear you're having some PR success, too.
Posted by Rick Itzkowich, La Jolla, California |
Apr 10, 2009
Excellent article. You give some excellent, practical and actionable ideas. The Referral Institute has something they call VCP - which stands for Visibility, Credibility & Profitability. People need to know who you are, trust that you care and know what you are doing and only then will they do business with you.
Having a strategic approach to increase the Visibility & Credibility will inevitably lead to Profitability.
You've given us plenty of resources to do this.
Posted by Kathy Johnson, Seattle, Washington |
Apr 10, 2009
Kate, Wonderful article with terrific action ideas! There is no question that people have to become acquainted & trust you before doing business. Kathy P.S. Weren't we sitting next to one another at Colby's presentation?
Posted by Judy Dunn, Seattle, Washington |
Apr 10, 2009
We're on the same wave length, Kate. Good, practical, actionable tips.
Must be synchronicity, because your #9 ("Business is not a sprint, it is a marathon") is the subject of my blog post this week, Slow and Steady:The Tortoise Marketing Strategy.
Love your suggestion for giving yourself a meaningful twitter username, too. @catseyewriter is attracting more of the people I want to interact with than JudyDunn.
Thanks for the time you put into turning out these articles, Kate. It's a great service to the community.
Thanks for your valuable insights and resources, Rick!
Why yes, Kathy, we did meet! We were the sleepy gals in the second row. Good to "see" you again.
Hi Judy, thank-you and you're welcome! I look forward to your blog post.
I started out on Twitter as "MsKatePhillips" but if people don't already know me, that says nothing. Now I've got two accounts, MoneyHealer and BestSellerCoach (although I've been too busy working on articles and my ebook to Tweet much lately!)
Posted by Cindy Engquist, Annandale, Virginia |
Apr 14, 2009
Great article! I like the way Kate has shown how ongoing contact, and ultimately, in-person interaction, as in an in-person networking group, still works. While online networking has expanded the "networking playing field" for small businesses, having the opportunity to meet prospective clients in person is important, especially for small businesses who operate in a geographically local area.
Posted by Kate Phillips, Seattle, Washington |
Apr 14, 2009
Someone must have given me what, a 1 or 2 to knock it down this far with one vote? (People, be NICE! Santa is watching!)
Yes, Cindy, face-to-face is still very important! Especially for "local" businesses.
I don't know what the Biznik community is like in Virginia, but we have lots of face-to-face events here at Biznik in Seattle. It's a great one-two punch effect to have both online and in person networking. But at the events, you're not typically seeing the same people each time, it's a big pool. (Not that you couldn't start that kind of group on Biznik.)
Posted by Katherine Wichmann Zacharias, Encinitas, California |
Apr 17, 2009
Great article! Thanks!
Posted by Jennifer Taylor, Seattle, Washington |
May 20, 2009
Another brilliant article. I might be here all day!
Posted by Kate Phillips, Seattle, Washington |
May 21, 2009
Thanks Katherine and Jennifer. I don't know about "brilliant," but I think it's helpful!
Posted by Hilary Harwell, Smyrna, Georgia |
Jun 09, 2009
Another great article! Thanks for the reference to HelpaReporterOut.com...I'll definitely be perusing their services!
Posted by Susan Anderson, Ridgewood, New York |
Jul 03, 2009
I loved your article and it made me think about my own practices. Recently my husband and I were alking (complaining??) about how difficult it can be to network here in New York. One of my little annoyances is people who don't give a mailing address on their business card. I don't like it because I feel like they are not open to contacts that they cannot control. From my side of it, my cards are very visual and tactile and it makes sense for people to se them and feel them.
But as I think about your article, not having a mailing address is a great reason for me to call some of these people and engage them in a conversation to break the ice and get to know them better. So, I am realigning my thinking!
- kate phillips
- business coach
- more clients
- total wealth coaching
- publishing coach
- best seller coach