Part 1: How To Get More Clients

THE 3 F STRATEGY

Marketing

I’m so excited to start a new 4 part series on how to get more clients!  It’s the eternal question everyone asks and is such a core component of sales training.

It was back in 2006, and I had just started my first coaching business.  I was excited and nervous and scared all at the same time.  All I wanted was a full roster of clients – it was a way to prove myself, not only to me, but to my friends and family that I could actually do this business.  I think everyone thought I was a bit crazy to leave my steady job (including myself).

I really didn’t know how to get clients.  So I did the things I thought I had to do: I built a website, I created biz cards, I created fliers.  But no one was coming.  The “If you build it, they will come” theory was definitely not working!  See my series on doing Revenue Generating Activities here – clearly I was not doing them!

Maybe you’re reading this article and are in that same place – wanting desperately to get clients – for yourself, for your family, to create an impact.  But it seems hard.  Please keep reading all 4 parts of this series as I’m here to help!

One week I finally got so desperate that I just started emailing all of my family and friends – one by one.  I told them I had open free conversations on Saturday and asked if anyone they knew needed help with their health (I was doing health coaching at the time).  Then I got on the phone and started calling everyone.  I told each person about what I did, and then gently asked, “Do you want to set up a conversation with me on Saturday?  Or do you know anyone who would?”

One by one those conversation spots started getting filled up!  That first Saturday I had 6 conversations and got 2 new clients.  I kept going – calling and emailing each family member and friend individually – swallowing my pride and fear that I might sound desperate (even though I was).  Filling up more spots.

I focused on telling them the truth – that I had a new business that I was excited about and I wanted to know if they knew anyone who might need my services.  Finally, the clients were coming.

I learned an incredibly important lesson on how to get more clients through this process: your first (or next) group of clients lives among your friends, family and followers! 

IF YOUR FRIENDS, FAMILY AND FOLLOWERS DO NOT KNOW ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS – YOU’RE MISSING OUT ON A HUGE OPPORTUNITY.

My first client was the yoga teacher whose class I had been attending for months.  My second client was a friend of my best friend.  My third client was a friend of my sister.

“Why do I have to go to these people?” you ask me, somewhat frantically. 

Well, it’s because of a common sales training principle: the know-like-and-trust factor or KLT.  The people that are going to work with you are those that you’ve built a relationship with over time – those that know, like and trust you.  In the start of your business especially, these are your friends, family and followers.

This principle is mainly true for products or services that are over $1,000 (sometimes over $500 depending on your industry).  For lesser priced products and services – you’ll get more strangers to take a risk.

As you build your business more and start sending out newsletters, videos and other forms of communication – you’ll build relationships with folks outside your initial circle. Then they will become buyers.

HOW DO YOU GET NEW CLIENTS FROM YOUR INITIAL CIRCLE OF FRIENDS, FAMILY AND FOLLOWERS? 

HERE ARE A FEW OF WHAT I LIKE TO CALL THE 3F STRATEGIES: 

  1. Write a direct mail letter (read: snail mail) to 50-200 of your friends, family, colleagues, and followers.  Explain your business, the benefits you offer and your ideal client.  Then follow up with phone calls to each person.
  2. Make a list of your 20 closest friends – write an email and phone each person this week.  Explain your business, your ideal client and ask if they:

    – Know anyone that would want to have a FREE conversation with you.
    – Know any organizations (perhaps their company) that would want to have you as a speaker.
    – Write a social media post on your personal FB page – letting people know about your business and asking if they would like to set up a conversation.
    Also private Facebook message specific friends with customized invites.

  3. Go to all your friends and family social occasions.  Be prepared to talk about your business.  It might not be appropriate to go in asking for clients – but you could always set up appointments with friends and family to have conversations later.

I know the friends, family and followers strategy can bring up many concerns.

  • What if they ask for a discount?  Create a 10% off friends and family discount that you can offer when you want to.
  • What if they think I’m too expensive?  It’s OK for them to think that thought for themselves.  But that doesn’t mean they can’t refer you to other individuals or organizations to speak at.
  • What if they judge me or how I’m doing business out loud?  Some members of your family and friends will be cheerleaders.  Others will be naysayers.  Do your best not to spend a lot of time talking about your business around the naysayers.  Focus on the cheerleaders – especially at first.

Also don’t be so quick to assume your family and friends won’t support you.  Over and over again I’ve seen clients be happily surprised that certain family members were willing to help.

HERE’S YOUR WEEKLY HOW TO GET MORE CLIENTS CHALLENGE: 

Go speak to more friends, family and followers this week!  And leave us a comment below to let us know how it goes.

Photo: flickr, Neil Saunders

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