Business owners’ attempts to find clients often remind me of one my kids’ favorite books Where’s Waldo? You know, those busy pictures where you have to find the guy in a red-and-white striped shirt? We try to put ourselves “out there” in the hopes that some elusive client somewhere will notice us and bite.
The biggest problem trying to find clients this way is that we feel that the future of our business is completely out of our control. Clients come and go at random. There is no predictability of workload or income. We don’t know what to do to get clients in a consistent, steady way, which efforts marketing tactics work and which are just a waste of time.
Who Are Your clients
To begin with, many business owners don’t have a clue who their clients are. Marketing is nothing more than a tool for finding the clients you want to attract to your business. But if you don’t know who they are, how can you ever hope to attract them?
When I ask business owners who their potential clients are, 9 out of 10 times the answer begins with “Anyone who needs a…” as if clients walk around with signs “I need a… “ to make them identifiable. Like Waldo, readily identifiable by his striped shirt, if you want to be able to find your clients in this huge crowd called the world, at the very least you need to know who they are and what they look like.
If you are not targeting the right clients, you have no hope of reaching them consistently and in large numbers.
Skimming the Surface
Marketing research shows that about 15% of people who express interest in a product or service buy it within 2 month. 50% of potential clients buy it within 18 month. If you are only attracting the clients at the time they are ready to buy, you are skimming the surface. To get a steady flow of clients you need a system that allows you to find interested people and then nurture a long term relationship with them, so that they know, like and trust you. When they are ready to buy sometime later on, you’ll be their go-to person for the solution.
Many business owners are put off by this 18 month timeline. It seems so far off. In reality, it’s a blessing in disguise. Knowing that potential clients can take a while to make the decision gives you a window of opportunity to share your knowledge of the subject and educate them about your service. The information you provide will answer many of their questions and make it easier for them to buy when the time comes.
Make Clients notice you
Once you do know what potential clients you want to attract, have you given any thought to what will make them sit up and notice you? Telling potential clients about your service turns you into just another advertisement on their radar (trust me – there are plenty of those around). Instead of talking about YOURSELF, trying thinking about the THEM.
- What is their greatest pain?
- What is their greatest fear about the purchase?
- What are they misunderstanding about the issues?
- What are they doing today that keeps them trapped and prevents them from finding a solution (i.e. your service)?
- What value can you offer them free of charge that will make them notice you and appreciate your thoughtful offer?
Answer these questions and you will have loyal adoring clients and raving fans.
Where Do you find clients
Now that you know whom you want to attract and what will make them bite, you need to figure out where to find these clients. Unlike Waldo, who roams around on his own, like-minded people tend to stick together in groups. Figure out where your clients gather and you can reach many of them in one shot.
Many business owners network in places that are most convenient for them, not where the clients are. For example, do you network at your own professional association? Are you a member of a LinkedIn group for your profession? Guess what, your colleagues are not your clients. Your clients frequent their own professional associations, social media groups, and waterholes.
So how do you figure out where your clients do hang out?
This chart should help you start thinking about possible places (physical, virtual, and figurative) where you can find clients.
You can also download and print the chart for your personal use.Download
Your Assignment: Identify at least 5 “places” your clients congregate in large numbers and consider how you can reach them there.
What are your clients’ favorite “waterholes”? How did you go about finding clients en mass? Please share your experiences.