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How To Get More Clients: Continually Look for Opportunities to Network

 

It may sound simple but staying on your toes and continually looking for opportunities to network and make new connections is an invaluable skill when it comes to landing new clients.
 
People do business with people and the more people you know the more opportunities there will be that will arise for you to work together and do business together.
 
Strive to Always Be Kind
 
It can be tough sometimes to always be “on” especially when you’re having a bad day and you just want to get your groceries already and get home. But the lady you decided to be rude to behind you could have paid your bills for the next six months with the potential work she had to offer, had you only took a moment to smile, say hello and strike up a conversation.
 
We all have bad days, but try and leave them at home when you’re out and about. Take a look around you at the rest of the world and look for ways you can help others or make a difference in their life somehow. Obviously you don’t want to go around helping people just for an opportunity to pitch them on your product or service, but offering genuine help to someone in need does not go unnoticed or unappreciated.
 
Think of it like this. That lady whose tire you stopped to change yesterday could be the CEO of a mid-sized company looking for just the type of product or service you offer. Because you stopped to help her, you made an impact on her life, established a rapport with her, and opened up the possibilities of working together on her next project. Now she’d like your phone number, so she can touch base with you in two weeks when she decides to move forward on that project!
 
Constantly being open to new opportunities, actively seeking out new relationships with new people, looking at every excursion as chance to network and possibly grow your client base is a sign of an entrepreneur actively seeking success. Now does this mean you have to make yourself crazy and try to talk to every single person you come into contact with? Not quite, unless of course you want to!
 
But it does mean you need to begin stretching yourself a little and pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone a bit. Talk to the people you come into contact with and interact with the world around you. Help someone in need or simply smile kindly at the gentleman behind you in the grocery aisle. You never know where, how or when you’ll meet your next big client and what sort of work they might decide to throw your way!
 
 
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How To Get More Clients: Use Word of Mouth Marketing

 

Word of mouth marketing (sometimes called referral biz) is still the best possible form of getting new clients. Any prospect who has been referred to you by someone else, is already halfway sold on your offer, and it makes doing business just so much easier.
 
That said here are a few easy strategies you can implement to get people to tell others all about how much you rock.
 
Make use of viral emails. From time to time you probably get great jokes and inspirational emails in your mailbox. You know – the kind of stuff that gets spread around very quickly, and sent to many friends at a time. Business owners get them, too, and even read some of them as well. (Breaks up the boredom of a slow day!)
 
So, what you do is this:
 
Exchange Facebook "likes". You probably already have a Facebook page for your services by now. Try and find other business owners and non-profit organizations in your area, and ask them to exchange "likes" with you.
 
For them, it is free advertising, and it is no skin off their backs (unless of course it is a competing company, where you would observe a conflict of interests). You can even offer to exchange "featured business" spots on your pages. Depending on the pages you are able to exchange with, you could get huge exposure.   
 
Offer a discount in return for a referral. How you structure the pricing is entirely up to you, but make it worthwhile for your clients to refer you to their friends and associates.
 
Once again, just keep your eyes open. Soon, you will be able to see more and more opportunities to use word of mouth marketing to your advantage – all without having to lift a pinky finger.
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How To Get More Clients: Sponsor a Big Event with Media Exposure

 

This method can net some big rewards if you sponsor the right sort of exhibition and you have a bit of cash to invest. What happens is that when you sponsor an event, you are in essence donating money to help that event come to fruition.
 
In return you are rewarded with liberal mentions, liberal branding opportunities, and liberal moments to raise awareness about your business and the services you provide.
 
Some Benefits to Sponsoring
 
Besides giving you the ability to expose your brand and services to a large body of people that very well could be movers and shakers of the business industry, sponsoring also allows you to interact directly with your market and establish a face to face relationship quickly and easily. 
 
This is because sponsors will often be given their own space and table at an event, with the ability to hand out samples of products or discounts for services, etc.
 
As a sponsor you might:
 
  • Be included in any adverts that are run in local newspapers.
  • Be included in any online advertising, including social media marketing.
  • Be included on the event website.
  • Be included in any print media that is distributed either locally or nationally.
  • Be included in email promotions and more.
 
Finding Events to Sponsor
 
In order to reap the most benefit from a sponsorship you want to be sure that you are sponsoring the right sort of event that the folks you want to work with frequent. So you need to craft a picture in your mind of your perfect client, what sort of events they might gravitate towards, the areas they live in, etc. From there you can assess whether an event might be a good opportunity for you to sponsor or not.
 
Possible types of events to sponsor might include big sports events, music festivals, concerts, street fairs, local fairs, business conferences, seminars, theatre events, church events, and more. The key is to look for events that have the potential for the most impact on your business and don’t go around sponsoring things you don’t really believe in. Insincerity is very easy to spot and lending your name to something that you don’t believe in can discredit you in the eyes of someone who could very well be your next big client.
 
You want business owners to see you playing an active role in the community and sponsoring good causes. This goes a long way towards establishing trust and from there it’s just a hop, skip and a jump from doing business together as well as to getting them to refer you to their friends. 
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How To Get More Clients: Participate at Events in Your Area

 

Participation in local events can open up a number of possibilities – both for connecting with the public, as well as opportunities for networking with other business owners. Even if your town is relatively small, you will still be able to get to know more people than you would normally be able to do otherwise.
 
Where to Participate
 
Charity events are a great way to gain exposure. Sure, it would mean that you sacrifice some time – or even offer something at a discount – but it can place your business in the limelight, as well have the added benefit impacting others perception of you and your brand in a positive way. Of course your goals aren’t completely altruistic, but no one says you can’t be a kind and giving citizen and still grow your business.
 
For instance – offer to create a small website for a local cause, but place a link on it to your own site and services, saying: "Website created and donated by XXX XXX Solutions". The organizers will include the website link in all their promotions – giving you free, vast exposure.
 
Additionally, you can offer to donate a percentage of every client's revenue to the cause during the course of a specific campaign. Dollars add up!
 
Flea markets offer another great opportunity. Sure, you will be seeing the odd business owner who was able to take time off from his or her business, but here you will also be able to attract the home business owner. This may include the guy who builds kitchen cupboards after hours, the lady that creates wedding dresses, and the woman offering art classes from home, etc.
 
These small businesses are exactly the type of client who needs your services, since they do not have a main street address with passing trade. While not all of them might be able to afford your services, some of them do work with reasonable amounts of money, and will invest in your expertise.
 
Church fundraising events are another great option for participation. These events are usually in the public eye, and naturally draw a reasonable crowd at the very least. Additionally, many business people (or wives of business people) attend the event, since in many cases they are considered to be respected people in the community. By grabbing their attention, you will be able to do both marketing and branding at the same time. Simply offer a discounted package to be raffled – even if it’s as a part of something else.
 
Additional Tips
 
Watch your local newspaper for ideas. Anything that gets as far as the local publication is worth pursuing, considering the amount of exposure, advertising, branding, and of course the number of new clients it can bring you for free.
 
At some events you might need to fork out some money, but at others – depending on your creativity, you will be able to come up with ways to get involved without blowing your budget to bits. Opportunities to network and attract new clients abound for those who keep their eyes peeled and look for them.
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How To Get More Clients: Offer Discounts and F++ree Stuff to Prospects

 

Land new clients by offering f++ree stuff and discounted services.
 
Everyone enjoys getting something for f++ree, or even just cheaper – even if he or she does not really need the money, most people still appreciate the concept, and like the idea. As such, you should never underestimate the power of "f++ree". J
 
How to Do It
 
1. Offer something useful – like f++ree software. There are loads of places on the web where you can search among open source software and freeware stuff. In many cases, you will find small, simple but useful utilities lying around – stuff like software for reminders, desktop search utilities, file conversion utilities, graphics software and even bookkeeping software. You can compile a load of these utilities on a CD – without having to worry about any copyright infringement – and use it to add value to your offer.
 
You can offer your f++reebie disc to be added to welcome packs for business meetings and seminars among your local business owners, and reach the right prospects in an instant.
 
2. Offer an additional service without charging for it which holds value to the client – like following up with prospects. If your business is online marketing, you already know that it is as simple as setting up a short auto-responder series, which will make you more money anyway. To the prospect, however, it will probably (depending on the person of course) come across as something great. You can even add your own ad onto the footer of the outgoing emails – as long as it does not pose any conflict with the interests of the client. Whether that ad is for your own products and services or for an affiliate’s product or service is at your discretion.
 
3. Discounts – discounts always go down well, since any business owner makes a habit of cutting down on unnecessary expenses. It could be a discount for a short period of time, or for all existing clients who add another project, or for all existing clients who refer new ones to you. If it is a general discount promotion, you could submit the discount coupon to local consumer information centers, as well as to coupon sites on the Internet. In fact, advertise it by any means available that will not be visible or cause confusion after the offer has expired. That could get a little hairy. In other words, don't go giving out pens offering a discount for June if those pens will still be around by June the following year!
 
At the end of the day, there are numerous opportunities available to offer extra value to prospects with little to no cost for you. Just see what is available for f++ree on the web by searching for "open source software", and then make a list of all your skills, searching for value add-on's you can offer with your service.
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How To Get More Clients: Teach Free Classes and Position Yourself as an Expert

 

First, keep in mind that in order to teach someone else something – you just need to know something that he or she does not know. And when it comes to your business, you probably know a great deal more than anyone who might attend your class or seminar anyway.
 
Remember that the average business owner is, well busy… managing their own lives and businesses. That means he or she has little time or inclination to acquire new skills, the very skills you yourself may possess already.
 
Things to Remember:
 
The classes or seminars don’t have to be some spectacular “show”. Obviously you want the experience to be enjoyable and informative but it doesn’t have to be complicated or hard. It’s as simple as sharing your knowledge with those who need it. As an expert in your field (when compared to the rest of the crowd) you will be able to speak with authority and credibility, knowing full well what works and what does not.
 
The classes or seminars don’t have to be incredibly long or last a whole day. It could even be as short as an hour or two. Just long enough to convey the possibilities of what your services could do for them, and how it could help their own business exponentially, as well as provide a few nuggets of value they can use right away.
 
The real power in any event lies in how you market it. Your choice of words when writing your ads and how well you distribute them will determine how many people turn up on your big day. 
 
Be sure to include not only the date, but the time as well, and exactly where it will be held in all of your adverts. If it is in an easily accessible, well known location, and at a sensible time, you will definitely seduce more folks into showing up than if you hold it in some obscure location no one can find. When you market an event with a lack of specifics it simply causes many potential visitors to dismiss the ad, and move on.
 
Always, always present yourself professionally. While most of the audience might accept that you are a "geek", they are also professional people themselves, who expect to be treated as such. Remember that they have to buy into you as a person before they will buy into anything else you offer them, so you need to look like you know what the heck you’re doing!
 
No event can be found without spreading the word about it. You can advertise on community boards, at your local business forum, in the local newspaper, and in Facebook groups created around your area. Depending on the area, you might even find groups for local business owners already created on Facebook that you can tap into. Additionally, you can take the time to send personal invitations to specific business owners – either via Facebook or via email.
 
And finally- speak human! Do not try to baffle them with words and expressions they are unfamiliar with. Business owners respond to fact and figures, not fancy lingo. If you lose them because they don’t understand what you’re talking about, you’ve now become someone they are unable to relate to. Therefore why should they bother doing business with you?
 
This method is great for landing new clients and can be relatively easily implemented with a bit of elbow grease on your part. All you need is a bit of motivation.