In a recent subscriber survey I conducted at ClientsSuck.net, 56.8% of the service providers surveyed cited “how to get clients” as the #1 challenge they face in their business. 34.7% of them said that the lack of “how to do it” marketing skill was the primary obstacle holding them back from success.
Today, I’m going to address both issues in an effort to demystify this topic and help you attract better clients, more easily. (I didn’t say faster. More on that in a moment.)
A few weeks ago, I presented a webinar about attracting clients. In the webinar, I talked about how to create a “solar system” of things that slowly and gently PULL clients into your world. (The emphasis is on the words slowly and gently.)
To answer that question, let me tell you a short story.
Right now, my wife is pregnant with our sixth child. She’s a midwife, so I know a lot more about the birth process than probably 99.9% of men on this planet.
It is truly amazing when you understand the thousands and thousands of things that are going on as a little one grows from a tiny little spec into a full grown baby.
Perhaps the MOST amazing thing, however, is that the instructions and blueprint for that entire being are included right from the getgo.
Just like a plant growing in the garden, the course of its entire development (environmental influences aside) is programmed into that tiny seed.
The Same Thing Can Be Said About Your Clients
When your clients show up, they too contain just about everything for their development as a client of yours.
Where do they get their programming?
From your marketing of course. They get it from the system you use to attract clients.
If you have clients that balk at your fees, are annoying to work with and just make your life crazy, then take a look at your client attraction process.
Something in there led them to believe that their current behavior is acceptable to you.
Something in there attracted those folks to you.
You have to find out what that is and change it.
It all begins with…
The Care and Feeding of Leads
It’s easy to get frustrated when you’re trying to generate leads.
I’m sure you can think back to a time when you were talking to a prospect on the phone, everything seemed great, and you were 110% sure you’d get the business.
And then the business just up and disappeared.
Understand this: leads are just like plants. They require time to grow.
You don’t just generate leads, you grow them.
You don’t “get” clients, you grow them.
Think of yourself planting a garden. (This is hard for me because everything green I touch seems to die a very quick death. Hopefully you fare better with the plant kingdom.) When you plant your seeds, you don’t expect to wake up the next day and find a beautiful garden.
In that case, you know that you have to provide the food and care required for the seeds to grow. If you rush things, you run the risk of killing the plants before they even have a chance.
It’s no different with leads.
The process of generating a lead and having that lead become a client can take a long time.
It can require phone calls, and many, many touches where you deliver value to your prospect.
There is nothing wrong with this.
In fact, a long process is often preferable. If you force things, you become an obvious salesman in the eyes of your prospect.
If you don’t force things, it is easier to cement yourself as a professional in the mind of your prospect.
As the leads come in, don’t put pressure on yourself to “sell them.” Simply take them as far as they will go and then put them on your follow-up system (you do have a follow-up system right?).
Some of the leads will close right away and others won’t. This is how you fill your pipeline with business at various stages of development.
Then, you allow your systems (email, direct mail, public speaking, etc.) to provide the food and care required to grow them into a client.
But What If You Need Clients Fast?
I repeat: the best clients are the ones that slowly and gently end up at your doorstep, NOT the ones you beat over the head and drag back home. (As if that’s a smart way to get a client anyway.)
My recommendation is to give up on the idea of getting clients fast. It can happen, it does happen and it will happen, but to make that your goal is not going to allow you to attract the quality clients you really want to be working with.
You have to have a SYSTEM. (Don’t freak thinking this sounds complicated. A system can be one simple thing you do consistently.)
Do you have a system?
Or do you just go through life hoping someone shows up?
What tools do you have out there (newsletters, videos, interviews, blog posts, strategic referral relationships, etc.) slowly creating relationships and communicating value?
If you have nothing, then there’s something for your TODO list for today.
Don’t wait. I don’t care if the media says you’re supposed to be out shopping. Screw that. Your well-being is a bit more important don’t you think?
Ideally, you need a system like this in place months before it can generate a client. In a pinch, starting NOW will also do.
Remember, you don’t go GET clients. That’s the wrong energy completely. And it’s a terrible way to go into things… as pursuer.
You attract clients, pure and simple.
How are you doing that for your business?
Think about it and take action today.[Ed. Note: Jason Leister is an internet entrepreneur, direct response copywriter and editor of “The Client Letter,“ the daily e-letter from ClientsSuck.net, where he helps independent professionals create success. You can contact him via his website at JasonLeister.com.]