Episode 164: Getting Proactive About Finding Clients
As a service business owner, it’s no secret that clients are the lifeblood of your business. That’s why you’re always on the lookout for new clients. In this episode, and all month long, we’re diving into how to find clients.
Today, we’re kicking off a new series where, in the next four episodes, we’re going deep into finding clients. Because here’s the thing: No matter where you’re at in your business, you need to constantly be thinking about where your next client is coming from.
In this series, we’re going to look at how to get proactive about finding clients, how to find clients fast, and ways to find clients online that don’t require you to sell your soul.
We’ll kick things off right now by talking about the critical mindset shift you need to make to take control of finding clients: going from passive to proactive and then having your daily and weekly actions back that up.
I know, for me, the most challenging times in my business have come after a period of complacency when it came to finding clients. I’d get busy with my client work and feel like I didn’t need to focus any time or attention on attracting new clients.
You know that whole saying: “Where the attention goes the energy flows”? When you’re passively sitting around waiting for someone to come to you as a client, it’s that much harder to make it happen.
But when you shift into proactively going after opportunities and making it an ongoing priority, things shift quickly. But that’s not most of us. Most service business owners are passive and wait for clients to come their way.
While this works to some degree, there comes a point in your business when this just isn’t going to be enough anymore; there will be times when you’re going to have to show up and put in the effort to make things happen.
Stop Waiting for Referrals
The perfect example in my business has been referrals. Over the years, referrals have been the #1 way I’ve found new clients. Many times, those referrals have been served up to me on a silver platter, but the problem with that was that there simply wasn’t enough of the types of clients I wanted being delivered to me.
To meet my business goals, I needed to get proactive about referrals.
Now, listen, I know the majority of service business owners are reliant on referrals, but that doesn’t mean you need to be passive; you can be proactive to help you get MORE referrals.
What if instead of waiting, you ASKED for referrals. When you’re asking people for referrals, you’re signaling that you’re open for business, and you’re putting more time and intention into getting clients. You’re reminding people you’re still out there and that they could send potential clients your way.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that people know you want referrals or that you have room for new clients. And, definitely, don’t let your ego hold you back from asking for help or admitting you can take on a new client. (This is why I detest people talking about being booked out — it can so easily backfire!)
This subtle change where you’re making a habit of asking — not waiting — can make a significant difference in the number and quality of referrals you may get.
Realize It’s About Relationships
A big part of being proactive with finding clients is realizing it’s truly a numbers game. The more people you know and connect with on a 1:1 basis, the more potential clients you have access to.
If your M.O. is to keep your head down and only do client work and not do anything to expand your professional network, you’re missing a golden opportunity.
People do business with people they know, like, and trust, so you need to show up. Now, I’m not saying you need to spend all day every day being all the places, but rather you need a plan for how and where you’re going to show up.
For each of you, that’s going to be different. It may be attending events consistently, being active in online communities, reaching out to your professional network and having coffee dates, or even doing cold outreach via email to companies you want to work with.
You know, all the things you can easily STOP doing when you’re in a busy season.
In the case of Shulamit who’s in the Double It Mastermind, it’s about her monthly marketing minimums and specific events she attends. She knows it takes between 12 and 18 months from first contact to when someone reaches out to her clinic, so she needs to constantly be building awareness to establish and nurture relationships.
Ultimately, you want to foster relationships that are focused on being of service. When you lead from a place that’s thoughtful and human, the business will follow. But you have to commit to doing your thing week in, week out for it to take hold. (Because no one likes the person who only shows up when they need something!)
My challenge to you is to consider how you can get proactive about finding clients and how what you’re currently doing may actually be disconnected from the goals you have for your business.
Personally, when I came to this realization about 18 months ago, it was incredibly uncomfortable, but it’s been one of the best things I’ve ever done in my business, because what I’ve done to get where I am today, isn’t what’s going to work to get to a new level. Being willing to do the work and be uncomfortable is paying off in ways I never expected — and I’m going to guess it will for you too.
We’re going to keep this conversation going over in the Small Business Boss Squad, so please be sure to join us over there. Plus, I’ll be sharing some resources to help you put your “find more clients plan” into action!