Where’s the money?
Until you have people paying you for your work, you don't have a business. You have a hobby. A lot of entrepreneurs dislike this "getting clients" part of running a business. Wouldn't you rather just do what you do best and have people magically show up to buy your products and services?
Unfortunately, that's not how it works.
Getting clients for your new business doesn't have to be haphazard and frustrating. With the right system and tools you can find, attract and convert the right clients.
Let me share ten things you can do to get quality clients for your new business.
1. Develop a deep understanding of your potential clients
It's all about solving a problem for your clients. The #1 question your potential clients are asking themselves, even if they don't know it, is "How can you help me?" That's what they will pay you for: a solution.
So the road to getting new clients always starts with developing a deep understanding of your potential clients.
- What challenges are they facing?
- What are their biggest concerns?
- How can you help them?
You need to have crystal clear answers to these questions.
Every successful marketing strategy, every sales funnel, and every effective advertising campaign is based on a business' ability to understand who their potential clients are and what they need.
If you haven't done this yet, start by defining who your clients are. Begin with broad strokes, then get more intimate. For instance, let's say you're a health coach. You may describe your target audience as women between 35 - 45 years of age. But don't stop there. You'll have more more chance of success if you narrow down into a sub niche, where there's still a lot of demand but much less competition.
>> Women between 35 - 45
>> Women between 35 - 45 who want to become healthier
>> Women between 35 - 45 who want to overcome their sugar addiction and develop healthier eating habits
Can you see how this is going to speak to the smaller group of people who have a specific problem they'd like to overcome? If you can show potential customers that you understand what they need, you are more likely to convert them into paying customers.
2. Clearly and succinctly communicate what you do
Clearly and succinctly. Two magic words every successful entrepreneur understands that value of. There's a lot of noise out there. How do you make people stop and listen?
This is how... by creating a crystal-clear marketing message that's easy to understand, so potential customers know exactly what you do, how you can help them, and why they should buy.
Start by asking... What is the transformation you'll help your clients achieve? What's the one major outcome you'll create for/with them?
Again, using the example above of a health coach, you might say: "I help busy women overcome their sugar addiction and develop healthier eating habits, even if they have no time to cook."
This is how you communicate clearly and succinctly how you help your clients. "I help women become healthier" is too vague and generic, and is unlikely to capture the attention of your potential clients.
To help you come up with the transformation, ask yourself:
- "Out of all the areas I can help my clients with, which one do I feel the most passionate about?"
- "Which one do my clients need help with the most?"
- "What do I want to be known for the most?"
It's important to remember that this is not set in stone. So don't let this be a stumbling block. There's nothing to stop you from changing your focus in the future. But make a decision now to get started, which is usually the most difficult step.
3. Empathise with your potential clients
Empathy is what opens people's hearts, minds and wallets! It's when you show that you understand what your potential clients are going through.
Regardless of what your market research shows you, you have to show that you feel your customer's pain. A big part of landing new clients is joining the conversation they're having in their head. And the conversation is usually about - big surprise - about the client and their problems.
Whichever way you are reaching out to customers, focus on their problems and their solutions. A process called review mining, where you browse through customer reviews for a particular service or product, is a great way to discover these problems. Not only that, you can see what words your potential customers are using to express their feelings and concerns.
You can use the same language to connect with them. From your website headline to ad copy to brochure content, the right words show how well you understand the problems they're facing. This is a much more effective of selling then the usual "Buy our products. We have been in business since ..." Yawn!!
4. Paint a pretty picture
So your potential clients have problems that need solving. It's your job to show them that you can help them, that there is hope, that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Paint a picture of what their lives will be like when their problems are solved, after using your products/services.
This is essentially the "benefits over features" drill that you must have heard a gazillion times. That's because it works. At the end of the day, you're not selling your service or product. You're selling a better life, made better by using your service or product.
As the famous marketing saying goes... "People don't want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole!"
And that's what you have to communicate. A life without stress. A life with extra money in the bank. A life with more quality time with family and friends. A life with the freedom to travel and work at the same time.
5. Create a clear offer with a tangible outcome
Consider these two outcomes:
1. I'll help you step into your brilliance
2. I'll help you get your first 100 subscribers in the next 2 months
Which one do you think is more effective? My money is on the second one.
Clear beats vague any day. Clear beats clever any day too. Don't get me wrong. Clever can be good. The danger is when it's so clever that nobody knows what it means. People are lazy. And they are busy. If they have to work hard to figure out something, they will pass it by.
This is not to say that you can't describe an outcome that isn't just numbers and facts. But when it comes to the offer, the promise - clarity is the name of the game. Be clear and specific. And see your sales grow.
6. Build credibility & authority
People respond to people who know what they're talking about. They listen to, respect and follow experts. That's why you need to build credibility and authority in your niche. This will go a long way in pulling in new business, and help you attract more clients and command higher fees.
Here are a few things you can do to build credibility and authority even as you're starting out:
Develop a strong online presence
Build a clear and compelling online presence to showcase your skills, talent and previous work. This will go a long way to building your authority. The more ubiquitous you are online, the more credible and trustworthy you'll appear.
Create quality content
If you want to become an expert in your chosen niche, stop just consuming content, and start creating your own! Most influencers have a large collection of quality content online. People need to see what you've produced in order to consider you as a person of influence and authority. So, get creating!
Take a stand on something
If there's a topic you're passionate about in your industry, or there're things you feel that should be done differently, don't be afraid to take a stand and make it part of your marketing message. Write about it, speak out, engage others in conversations around the topic, as well as consider how you can bring about change.
You may offend some people along the way, but that's okay. No-one has ever become a true leader without offending others.
7. Collaborate with complementary businesses
Consider collaborating with other business owners who serve the same target market as you, but are not in direct competition. For instance, as a wedding photographer you can reach out to wedding planners. Or as a copywriter you can connect with web designers.
Also known as a host-beneficiary relationship, this is a smart way to tap into your target market and increase your reach without spending a fortune on marketing. Both you and your collaborator will benefit from the relationship. It's a clear low-cost win-win situation for everyone.
8. Master the initial sales calls
"And there is no such thing as a no-sale call. A sale is made on every call you make. Either you sell the client some stock or he sells you a reason he can't."
That's Ben Affleck's character talking about sales calls from the 2000 Hollywood movie Boiler Room.
Whether or not you subscribe to aggressive sales call strategies, the underlying lesson is pure gold. You need to learn, practice and master the initial sales calls.
Customers invariably warm up to business contacts who are masters at their craft. And as an entrepreneur, whether you like it or not, sales is your craft.
And selling doesn't have to feel salesy and icky. Just focus on being of service instead of pushing your own agenda. Listen to your clients, build rapport, show them how you can help them and guide them to make the right decisions for themselves. When you can demonstrate a deep understanding of their problems, ANd you can provide solutions to those problems, working with you is a natural next step that requires very little selling.
9. Collect testimonials
Don't be afraid to toot your own horn. Make sure you publish testimonials, reviews and endorsements from previous clients on your website and social media profiles. This will provide the social proof needed to bolster your credibility. The more positive personal recommendations you can get, the more trustworthy and credible you'll seem to potential clients.
Social proof is one of the key principles of persuasion. When a potential customer sees others praising your product/service, they are much more likely to buy from you.
If you're starting out, you may have to work with a few clients for little or no money, in exchange for an honest testimonial. The credibility it will add to your business is well worth foregoing your fee.
10. Follow up in a helpful way
So much money is lost due to improper (or lack of) follow-up. Building strong relationships with both current and potential clients takes time. So once you've spent the time and energy making the initial contact, it makes sense to follow up in order to build on those relationships. Not doing so is just leaving money on the table.
But following-up doesn't mean pestering the person with persistent "please work with me" type of communications. That doesn't work. What you need is to follow up by bringing value at the same time.
For instance, instead of shooting a generic hey-it-was-nice-talking-to-you-haven't-heard-from-you email, share something interesting and valuable. Think about this person's needs and what you discussed. Share with them an article on the topic (preferably from your own blog) or a piece of information that's relevant to their pain points.
This is a seemingly simple yet powerful follow-up technique. It continues the narrative that you are an expert in your field and willing to help them. If you are truly in a position to improve other people's lives, not following up is actually doing your potential clients a disservice! Think about that.
You will be surprised by the number of people who are going to thank you for such valuable follow-ups. And even more pleased when they become your client. Remember, it's your job to keep the conversation going. So if you stop talking, you stop selling.
Ready to take action?
I'd like to add one more thing before I go. As you go out and implement the ten lessons outlined above, don't be afraid to make mistakes. You'll likely have to fine-tune your own process. Don't wait until everything is perfect. We all have to start somewhere, from zero. And even the most successful entrepreneurs will tell you they got where they are not just by successful strategies, but also by learning from mistakes.
So trust the process and learn from every move you make. You will not always be closing, but you'll always be learning. And you'll end up with a solid, loyal, and growing customer base.