Have you ever thought who your favorite clients are? What would you do to get more clients like that to your business?
Because as you are looking to grow your business and go on to the next level, you are probably tempted to rethink everything your marketing until now.
Don’t. In her 15 years of research, Professor of Entrepreneurship Saras Sarasvathy discovered that business people do best when they leverage what they already have instead of trying to get what they don’t. This is true in many areas of your business, including marketing.
For example, let’s say your business has 5 clients a month, though you would like to bring that number up to 25. The secret to attracting more clients lies in figuring out what has brought the first five to your business and then doing more of the same.
In business, success comes from solving people’s problems. Commenting on the sale of Yosef Hatzaddik, Ohr Hachaym teaches that a merchant is not a man of means, but the person with the knowledge and discernment to lead those with the money to buy as directed. If you can show them that you understand what they need and have the answer, they will follow you.
People are constantly on the lookout to overcome their obstacles. They wake up in the morning thinking about issues they need to get over. In her excellent book Fierce Conversations, Susan Scott writes that we all hold conversations with ourselves, but sometimes those conversations include other people. To get more clients, you need to be in a place where they will invite you to join the conversation already going on in their heads.
These conversations can take many forms. Physical or emotional discomfort, money worries, painful relationships, or unfulfilled dreams and aspirations can be some of the problems that bring clients to your doorstep. Understanding what drives your clients to contact you and helping them feel understood can then inform both your service choices and advertising approaches.
The easiest way to find out what conversation goes on in the head of existing clients is simply to ask them. Though it may sound scary at first, seeking clients’ opinions and input will make them feel valued and validated. Done right, it can turn them from passive buyers into an unpaid sales force of referrers, who will do your marketing for you by creating “word of the mouth” we all desperately seek.
Get More Clients by Understanding Why They Come
1. Create a list of 5 to 10 of your best clients, the people that buy the most, rave the most and you enjoy the most.
2. You can either reach out to each one of them individually or invite them for a joint “Sounding Board” session (for example over lunch). If you choose to talk to each person individually, make sure to schedule a time when they will have the leisure to talk to you.
3. Your opening line can sound something like this: “You are one of my best clients/you have told me you love the service and I really enjoy working with you. I would like to make this service as valuable as possible for you and also to attract other people like you to it. To do that I need to really understand what makes this service appealing/useful and also how we can make it better.”
4. Ask three sets of questions. The first set will help you understand the problems that existing clients come to solve. You probably already have an idea, but you WILL be surprised by the answers. Don’t be afraid to ask questions for which the answers seem self-evident. Different people will have different outlooks and these are important to you. Don’t let people get away with broad answers (high-quality/pretty/fast/fun). Ask them why they find it fun. What does quality “look like?” How fast is “fast?” Ask for examples.
What brought you to our company? What needs did it fill?
Why is it important to fill this need/solve this problem? How did this affect your life?
What bothered you most about the issue? What obstacles did you encounter?
What other possibilities did you have (did you try) to solve this? Were they successful? Yes/no? Why?
Why did you choose our service over all other possibilities?
5. The second set of questions will help you understand how your service fills these needs. The answers you will hear are the best featu
After coming for the first time, why did you stay?
What do you like most about what we do here?
How has this service impacted your life? What’s the best thing about it?
Why is this important?
6. The third set of questions will help you understand what changes to make in the service so as to make it even more valuable and appealing. Look at this as an opportunity, not criticism. If there is a problem, would you rather fix it or have people wander away because they are too scared to share their thoughts? You don’t have to accept all suggestions for improvement, but at least keep them in mind. These questions may also help you uncover an unaddressed area of need or marketing approach that will lead to a breakthrough for your company.
What else can we do to make this service even better?
What impact would that have on your life? Why is this important?
What would you prefer that we did differently? Why?
What would you do in our place?
Who else can benefit from this program? Why?
7. Based on the answers, create a profile of a possible client that is most likely to be attracted to your services. Think who will be most likely to have the same problem or want the same results as the existing clients you interviewed. Can they be grouped by age, gender, demographics, income, geography, occupation, etc? From now on, all your marketing efforts should be directed to these prospective clients.
8. With this knowledge, think of all the places where you can reach these people inexpensively and in large numbers. This is the key to successful marketing that gets more clients. For more on that, see here.
Have you found certain types of people to be more responsive to your work? Have you asked them why? Has polling people helped you get more clients in the past?