4 Ways to get new clients or customers

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Executive Summary

Before you start: make sure you’re clear about WHO you’re looking for. (Create a Buyer Profile)

  1. Pay to reach people (advertising)
  2. Ask other people to help you (referrals, alliances, networking)
  3. Direct outreach (go to where they are and meet them)
  4. Make it easy for them to find you (speaking, writing, blogging, social media)

How do I get more clients?

This is the question I get asked more than any other.

And I always fire back this question: “WHO, exactly, are you looking for? Who would make an ideal client for you?”

Hint: the answer is NEVER “anybody” or “everybody.”

While it might be true that life coaching could improve anyone’s life…or that everybody should have insurance (or eat organic food) – the truth is that not everybody is ready, willing and able to buy from you. (And even if they were…you couldn’t possibly serve them all!)

If you don’t know what you’re looking for…it’s really hard to find it!

So your first step is to create a Buyer Profile. A detailed description of who you’re looking for in a prospective client. This includes all that stuff you’ve heard about target markets, niches and ideal clients.

More importantly, it includes the PROBLEM they are experiencing (that you can help them with) and/or what they WANT (that you can help them get.)

Once you have a clear Buyer Profile (in writing!) you’re ready to find people who match that description.

4 ways to find new clients/customers

While there are approximately a zillion things you can do to market your business – they all fall into 4 main categories.

1. Pay to reach them

This includes traditional advertising (newspapers, billboards, flyers, direct mail, radio, TV) and internet advertising (Facebook ads, pay per click, Google ad, paying to be promoted in someone’s blog or newsletter)

Often overlooked in this day and age of “free” advertising online, the paid stuff can be really effective. IF – you know who you’re trying to reach, you pick the right places and you have a strong message with a strategy behind it.

(Note: most people do not have these in place – and this is why their advertising money is wasted.)

If you can get $40 in business from every $20 you spend on advertising, it’s worth doing!

2. Ask other people to help you

This falls under the category of “networking” (actual business relationship networking…not attending networking EVENTS)

You can ask for referrals from your business colleagues and your current and/or past clients.

You can also set up an affiliate or promotional partner program where you PAY people to send you leads. This is a combination of “paying for new clients” and “asking people to help you.”

Tip: choose people who are likely to know the kinds of clients you work with – and who know YOU and can explain or vouch for your services.

Caution: like it or not, you’re judged by the company you keep. This can work in your favour if your promotional partner has integrity and a good reputation. It can be disastrous to your business if they don’t.

If you choose to do this, make it as easy as possible for people to help you out. Be clear about who you’d like to be connected to. (There I go with that Buyer Profile thing again!) Spell out the process and how it needs to happen. Write the email for them, give them handouts they can pass along – or a stack of your business cards.

3. Take the direct approach

This can take the form of prospecting and cold calling: doing the research to locate potential buyers and contacting them directly.

It can also mean going to where they’re already hanging out and meeting them there. Networking events where your prospective clients attend (industry associations, for example) or conferences. Unless your ideal clients are other small business owners, local business networking events or meetups are NOT the right places.

Linked In can be really helpful for this if you work with larger organizations. You can use the advanced search to find prospects and you can see if you have connections in common who may be able to make an introduction.

4. Make it easy for THEM to find YOU

This is getting out there and being seen. Speaking in front of groups. Writing articles or a blog. (Or creating videos or podcasts.) Showing up on social media.

Having a good website with LOTS of information on it. Sending out a regular newsletter. Holding educational webinars.

This tends to be a longer term strategy – it’s not the route you want to take if you need clients RIGHT NOW (the other methods will work faster) – but this is a great long term strategy and I advise my clients to do this alongside any or all of the above.

I’m doing that…it’s just not working.

I see this problem a lot – and it’s really frustrating. You’re doing all the right things…and it’s not working.

In this case, the problem you actually have isn’t about “where to find clients” and it’s not about “getting out there and taking action” – it lies in one of these areas:

  • Your COMMUNICATION (what you’re SAYING and whether or not people get it)
  • Your STRATEGY (you’re engaging in “random acts of marketing” instead of running a system designed to move people from stranger to client)
  • Your FOUNDATION (maybe your Buyer Profile isn’t quite accurate or the offer you’re making isn’t appealing)

Maybe one of these can help:

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