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When it comes to getting new clients and growing your business. And that is please, no matter what else you do or don’t do… FOLLOW UP ON ALL POTENTIAL LEADS!
 
I can’t tell you how many times business owners ask me what they could be doing to find more clients and drum up more sales. But when I ask them how often they follow-up with their potential prospects, 9 times out of 10 they tell me rarely, if ever. What?!?!
 
This means that if you are out networking and you meet someone interested in learning more about your services that is a “lead”. Follow up with them later! If you promised them something during your initial conversation, write it down so you don’t forget it, and then contact them immediately as soon as you are ready and able to deliver on that promise.
 
If you have a potential client email you requesting a quote, go ahead and email them back with the relevant info. When you don’t hear from them over the next week or so, then take the initiative and follow up with them yourself, don’t wait around hoping they’ll email you first. 
 
Just because you sent the ball lobbying over into their court, doesn’t mean they have to play ball the first round. Email them (or call) with a polite inquiry as to whether or not they received the quote you sent them, and if they didn’t to please let you know and you’ll resend it asap. It’s as simple as that.
 
Often you’ll find that your quote has just slipped between the cracks of their busy lives and the gentle nudge serves as a reminder that they’d like to touch base and discuss hiring you further. These gentle reminders might realistically need to happen once or twice more, and then if you still haven’t received the positive response you’d hoped for, it may be time to move on. 
 
BUT that is something you would never had known if you’d chosen not to follow up on the original lead. And so the moral of the story is? Always, always follow up!

 

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!
 
 

 

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.

 

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. 

 

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.

 

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.