Episode 166: How to Get Clients FAST in 2019
We’ve all been there — the moment when a beloved client leaves or something else happens where we need a new client ASAP. In this episode, we’re talking about how to get clients fast in 2019.
I’ll never forget the time that one of my most favorite clients emailed me and asked me to call him right away. I was traveling, and I immediately knew that our engagement was going to wrap up as that email was so out of the norm. I can still remember where I was standing and how it felt to make that call from a lobby of a hotel in downtown Phoenix.
And in one phone call, thanks to their company being acquired, a big chunk of my revenue was gone.
That’s a pattern I’ve had repeated time and time again because, with corporate clients, things can shift literally overnight. Deals get signed. Main points of contact leave. Money runs out.
No client is guaranteed when you run a service business, so what do you do when you have a spot to fill on your client roster, and you need to do it quickly?
First thing is first: You need to know that when you’re looking for clients, you typically only have a couple of spots available at any given time, so it’s completely reasonable to get a new client or two or three in the door in a matter of weeks.
The key is that you don’t wallow and you get into action. Now, what actions do you take?
For years, my go-to move was to email my past clients to see what’s up and if they needed any extra help. Consider this good form as you’re showing that you value them as a past client and you want to help them if they need it.
If you have a strong working relationship, this type of follow-up can be kept pretty casual and just serve the purpose of reminding them that you’re still around. As we talked about in the episode on getting proactive about finding clients, you don’t want to assume they remember you’re around or that you’ll be at the top of your list when they do need help.
This can be done via a simple email to touch base, and if there’s something they’ve mentioned that was in their plans, be sure to see how that’s progressing. If appropriate, offer to get a coffee or to have a quick chat to reconnect.
Right now, two of our most steady agency clients are past clients who came back for more after realizing we could help with some new projects.
We’ve talked about how a service business is really a business that’s about relationships, so this next one shouldn’t come as any surprise.
We ALL have a professional network. Every one of us. We all know people. They may be clients from a million years ago who are in different roles, business collaborators, or friends of a friend who work in our industry.
And over time, those relationships can atrophy. They need regular care and feeding, so when you need new clients, it’s a good time to put your focus on rekindling and rebuilding those relationships.
The key here is to be authentic. Don’t roll up in their inbox being all like “How you doin’?” Be thoughtful and personalize your connection. Think about the best place to connect with them — their inbox, on FB or another platform.
And if you’re not convinced? Last summer, we signed a client I’d not worked with in 15+ years. She’s moved companies, but I’ve made a point of staying in touch via LinkedIn. So when they needed help with case studies, I was at the top of her list.
Get Prospects Off the Fence
Until a prospect says no, you need to consider them a yes. I’m sure you’ve got people who’ve said not right now or who have been trying make a decision after you sent them a proposal. This can go on for months and months and…well, forever.
The good news is a prospect — especially if they have a proposal — is a warm lead. They’re already interested, so you need to get them off the fence.
In each scenario, you’ll want to figure out the right approach. If price is a factor, an upcoming price increase or some type of incentive can help move them along. If they’ve got lingering questions, find ways such as using a testimonial or even a client reference to move them along. If things are time sensitive, you can jump in and share why they need to take action now and not later.
If you don’t track your leads carefully, you may need to dig into your proposal system, Google Docs, or even your email to see what possibilities there may be.
Make a Personal Invite
We’ve all got those people who’ve said they’d like to work with us “one day.” Why not help make one day today?
Now, this tactic only works if you have an existing relationship. I recently received a “personal” invite from someone I’ve never spoken to. Complete turnoff.
But if you’ve had that conversation, there’s no harm in a 1:1 email to check in with them, and explore how you could work together — especially if it’s someone you’d really like to work with.
A well-thought-out personal invite is extremely flattering and can go a long way towards making a potential client see why they should work with you.
Ask for Referrals
Finally, the one you’ve probably been waiting for me to say. At the risk of a broken record, if you already get referrals and that’s fueling your business, please stop waiting and start asking.
Take some time to make a fresh new list of people you can ask for referrals — there’s no right or wrong person to ask — but the more experience they have with your work, the better referral they’re likely to offer. That doesn’t mean they need to be a past client; they may be someone you collaborated with or is a trusted business friend.
Ask, ask, and ask some more. People want you to succeed, and we’re all hardwired to want to give referrals. Make it EASY for people by reminding them you’re ready for potential clients.
And don’t worry. You don’t have to say you’re not busy and need clients ASAP, but rather you have one opening for a client who needs X service.
Plus, make sure to join us over in the Small Business Boss Squad, the free Facebook group where we’ll keep this conversation going! Now, let’s go find some clients.