What have you done TODAY to find a new client?Some might ask at this point, “Isn’t making a sale and finding a new client the same thing?” In the past, my answer was yeah, sure. However, as I’ve thought about it more, I realize that I can make one sale today but then never, ever see that customer again. On the other hand, if my goal is to find CLIENTS, I’m really not only looking for a “sale”, but I’m also looking for a long-term business relationship that I can develop, leading to sale after sale after sale to the same client. I was reading an article today titled “5 Smart Ways to Find Clients“. They mentioned that finding clients is something almost every small business owner struggles with from time to time. There are quite a few ways to do it, but finding new clients really boils down to putting yourself where your clients are, being approachable, and fulfilling a need or solving a problem. It doesnt have to be much more complicated than that.
Who’s Your Ideal “Golden” Client?One of the things I liked best about this article was how they talked about finding your “ideal client”. It made me think about the clients I’ve worked with over the last few months and years. To define my “golden client”, I asked myself these questions:
- Who are my clients, past and present?
- Do I like working with them?
- Why or Why Not?
- If I could pick my best client, who would it be and why?
- How could I duplicate that client over and over again?
Consider working some new activities into your marketing plan that focus solely on putting your name where your ideal clients will see it. Explore advertising on websites frequented by your ideal clients, writing copy that feels more personal and relevant, and repeating some of your marketing messages in different ways to the same group of desirable clients.After I clearly defined who my ideal client was, the next four action items made a lot more sense:
- Be Visible: have you ever had the ideal client come to you on their own? This has happened to me a few times, but I’ve always asked myself the question: “How can I make this happen over and over again?” Some of the suggestions were to optimize your website and blog, participate in industry specific blogs and forums, comment on relevant blogs that share your “ideal target audience”, and be active and consistent in social networks where your audience hangs out.
- Be a Local Networker: yesterday I went to a local conference with guest speaker Peter Shankman. The dude was ADHD on steroids; but overall, I felt an event like that was great for a few reasons: 1) He was an entertaining and informative speaker. Local events like this one get the wheels spinning and cause me to evaluate what specific things I’m doing (or not doing) to maximize my time and energy. 2) I was able to talk to other leaders in the industry, let them know what I was up to, and just “make face”. There is a lot of value in local networking. Some of the best ways to network locally: conferences like the one I mentioned, local industry organizations, speaking opportunities where you can share your specialties and knowledge, offering live classes and seminars.
- Be a Pleaser: yes, this one may sound a bit odd, but go with me on it. If you have a “golden client” who you wish you could work with every day of the week, TAKE CARE OF THEM. Communicate! Let them know what’s happening. Get their feedback. Make sure you’re on the same page. Focus on keeping them happy and exploring different things you can do to build the relationship. Once you feel like things are going well and they are seeing value in what you’re offering, ask for referrals or recommendations. Most of the time, “Birds of a feather flock together!”
- Be the Best JV Out There: Joint Ventures are where a small to medium sized business takes a leap to the next level. If you can find clients who offer complementary but not competitive services, put together a proposal that’s great for them and great for you too. Bundle services together, share email lists, simply offer added value to each of your email lists and watch both your businesses grow!