“How to get more clients” and “how to get more customers” are two of the more popular online search topics. Here are five easy decisions that will help answer these important questions for anyone interested in growing their customer base and personal influence.
1. Decide who you want as a client.
The more detailed and specific the greater chance of success in attracting the right customers for you and your business.
Whether you are a business owner, Realtor, attorney, insurance broker, business coach or entrepreneur in any industry, there is a counter-intuitive strategy to attracting the clients you want and who want to do business with you. The strategy is being very, very specific. Once you begin to identify the clients you want, it becomes easier to focus your time, energy, talent and resources to attract that client.
A young entrepreneur I’m doing business with built a $300 million private company within 10 years — without investors — by implementing this strategy. After a few years of frustration working with anyone and everyone in the one-on-one coaching part of his business, he felt burned out and unsuccessful. Then, he decided to focus on two types of clients, he got very specific and even required potential customers to go through an application process to become a member of his inner circle. The two target clients were: male entrepreneurs in their early 40s focused on health care or fitness businesses and women entrepreneurs in their late 30s with online, work-from-home service businesses. He even found photos online that represented his target client avatars and gave them names. Within a few years his client base exploded, along with more profit to the bottom line and greater satisfaction in his work-life balance.
2. Decide the one big problem you’ll solve.
Write down how what you are offering will make your customers lives better.
A friend who is in the website development business told me his company almost went under because of something he called AFAB disease (anything for a buck). He was involved in multiple networking organizations and met all types of business owners in multiple industries. Instead of deciding who his client would be and what problem he would solve, he and his team were trying to create solutions for every request that came in from every conceivable industry. Once he decided who he enjoyed working with and the major problem his company solved, his company began to attract more of the right clients and he no longer worried about the clients he wasn’t serving. His levels of service increased and turn-around time decreased with the new focus, so the clients he was serving were happier. He admitted that not only was his company doing better, he also had more time for his family and the personal hobbies he enjoyed.
3. Decide exactly how you will serve them.
Yes, you are in the service business no matter what you are selling. I used to think we had to make every client happy no matter what. However, I learned that some clients are just naturally unhappy people. So, for me it wasn’t about measuring their happiness, it was about fulfilling their needs and anticipating their wants. Once I focused on fulfilling the needs and wants of already satisfied customers, something miraculous happened. My business grew as my unhappy customers found other places to be unhappy. My satisfied customers stayed, bought more from me and brought their friends. This made me very happy.
4. Decide how you will find your clients.
Ask yourself, where are they likely to gather? Then ask yourself where do you like to show up? You may find your perfect client in multiple places. The big question to ask yourself is: Where do you enjoy showing up, hanging out and getting to know people that have a high likelihood of doing business with you?
My friends and clients have all found business in different places and different ways there isn’t
just one direction. Although I don’t recommend engaging all of them at once, here are examples
of five of my favorite ways to find clients:
• Hobby: A friend who is in aftermarket auto parts is also a vintage car enthusiast. He belongs
to several vintage car groups that are rich in like-minded people who need and trust his expertise.
• Nonprofit: Another friend finds that volunteering for projects that support nonprofits as a Rotary organization member is the best way to find new clients for her accounting firm. Her above-and-beyond service to every encounter with her fellow Rotary members puts her in the position to be top-of-mind when they are considering hiring a new accounting firm. They already know and have experienced her work ethic and integrity. The best part for her is getting to do the volunteer service she loves while attracting clients who love her.
• Professional business groups: Chambers of Commerce are famous for attracting business professionals who want to get to know and do business with other chamber members. Volunteering for a committee gives you even more opportunity to become known and trusted. Just be sure not to over-commit and under deliver here.
• Professional development: Becoming a member and volunteering on a committee in a professional development or industry organization gives you the opportunity to share your talents, and attract more customers. The talent most often needed is leadership. This is a perfect way for you to hone those skills and attract new customers. When I became the president of the American Marketing Association (AMA), I really enjoyed being of service, however, I was concerned about the return on investment of my time. When I did an analysis of where my clients were coming from, I stopped worrying about my time spent on AMA responsibilities because more that 25 percent of my customers were either members or referrals from members of AMA.
• Social media: The social media phenomenon is not going away any time soon. Savvy business owners have found a way to blend business and personal content in a way that gives potential clients a peek behind the curtain into the lives of the people they want to do business with. The key to success is a consistent schedule of content your target audience finds interesting and interactive.
5. Decide when you’ll reach out.
It is a cliché, but timing is everything.
Once you’ve made the first four decisions above, some would say now is the perfect time to start reaching out to your perfect client. I disagree on that general statement. Now, that you have all the answers above, there may be an excellent strategic time to launch your business, a product line or service, depending on how you will find your clients.
If there is a big national convention for an industry organization you’re involved in, or planning to be involved in, there may be steps to take leading up to the event that will make your entrance more effective. If you have your sites set on getting involved with a service organization like Rotary, you may need to find someone who is already a member and learn more about the local chapter.
Regardless of when you actually reach out, it’s never too soon to take the first step in developing an action plan.
These five easy decisions have been made by countless successful entrepreneurs in their relentless pursuit of getting and keeping customers.
Debbie Donaldson is founder and CEO of www.b2bENTREPRENEUR.org a membership organization of entrepreneurs interested in accelerated, profitable, enjoyable business growth. Download a free copy of her new eBook “SALES FUEL” at www.FreeSalesFuel.com.