Have you ever wondered why you still feel confused and unsure about the future of your business even though you have some good clients and things seem to be going well?
The first few years of running and growing a business can feel like you’re riding a roller coaster.
You’re on the most ridiculous learning curve of your life. You’re often overwhelmed, wondering what success will one day look like. You score some wins and have money in the bank, but before you celebrate, you realize your true costs are more than you expected.
It sinks in that you need more clients to grow your business and your bank account. You find yourself staring at the computer with your head in your hands wondering where you’ll find more ideal clients like the ones you already have.
The answer can be simple, but hard to figure out until you finally have the aha moment you’re desperately seeking.
Figuring Out How to Get More Clients
When we find our first clients, sometimes we stumble upon them due to a stroke of luck. You get an introduction from a mutual acquaintance. Or someone from the past comes out of nowhere having remembered you were good at the thing they need, and they want to hire you. In other words, you had help finding these people.
This illusion of early awesome clients camouflages the truth about how hard it can be to find new clients when you start to need them.
When you first start looking, you realize that you don’t know much about your wishful clients and whether the services you’re offering are sought after by enough people to keep you at full capacity.
So, where do you start to figure out how to grow your client base? Two elements of your business are key to helping you figure this out.
1. How Specific Is Your Product or Service?
The good news is that you have clients paying you and you have a legitimate business. You can start to build your business strategy on this achievement by analyzing your current clients and the services you’re offering. You can also incorporate feedback from your existing business development efforts into this fact-finding mission.
Questions to Ask Yourself
Here are a few questions to ask yourself to get this moving in the right direction.
- Is your offer hard to explain? Does your 30-second elevator pitch sound more like a 10-minute walk-through of the 500 sticky notes on your office wall that describes your business?
- Do you struggle with how to differentiate your company from your competition?
- Is your offer concentrated on solving for one or two specific problems or do you have a whole suite of solutions that solve lots of problems for various clients? How does it all fit together?
If you’re getting positive feedback from your clients, you know you have a good product or service and you’re on to something you can build on. But that doesn’t necessarily confirm that your offer is working in terms of your ultimate business goals if you’re struggling to easily locate new clients.
How These Questions Can Help You Get More Clients
Once you answer the above questions, you might realize that you can be more focused in your services and make the situation a better win-win for both your clients and your business.
This focus will help you know where to find more clients based on the newfound clarity of your offer.
You find yourself sharing your 30-second pitch in less than 30 seconds, and it sounds crisp and easy to understand. People can easily self-identify as a prospect when they hear it.
You can have multiple offers, but tier them so they’re related instead of offering services independent of one another. This tiered approach will enable your clients to grow with your services as their needs evolve.
Jill Nelson's Story
A case study of this situation is Ruby Receptionists. When the CEO of Ruby Receptionists, Jill Nelson, started her company in 2003, she had four receptionists and she offered services from reception to web design to copywriting. She called the company Worksource, Inc.
Over time, Nelson realized that her company would be stronger, and she would be able to more easily market to new clients if she narrowed her focus to the receptionist service that her clients loved, and she renamed the company.
By narrowing to a more specific niche, her marketing was much easier and Nelson grew her client base. This leads us to the second key element that will help you find clients.
2. How Tightly Niched Is Your Target Market?
Now that you have taken a deep dive on your offering, you can do the same thing with your target market by analyzing those awesome clients you already have.
Make a list of what you love about these clients and the work you do together.
Questions to Ask Yourself
This analysis could look something like this:
- How and where did each one find you?
- How ready were they to purchase from you when you first met? Was it immediate or did it take a while?
- Are they in a similar or the same industry?
- Are they looking to grow their own company or improve a situation?
- Do they have a similar life experience, educational background, or economic status?
- Do they have kids?
- Do they all own real estate or some other item (boat, RV, etc.)?
- Do they share a similar horrific experience with the same scenario but with different people in different locations?
As you start to evaluate your clients, you’ll begin to draw a picture of the similarities among them that drew them to you.
This is your draft Ideal Client Avatar. Once you start this exercise, the more specific you are about the problem you’re solving and the more specific you are about to whom you’re selling, the easier it will be for you to find new clients.
Drafting Your Ideal Client
Here’s an example chart that you can create from your list to help you get started. I filled this out as if I were the CEO of Ruby Receptionists.
|Avatar Characteristic||Where They Are in Their Journey to You||How You Show Up on Their Path|
|Busy all day with meetings and other time-consuming work. Overwhelmed, needing help. Phone is ringing and no one answers it due to no time. Clients are getting voice mails and the owner is not happy.||
|High appreciation for learning new information to help them with their business. Reads business magazines, books, and websites.||
|Wants to grow their business and realizes they need help with important, high-value day-to-day tasks like answering the phone||
|Similar or same industry||
|They’ve lost multiple clients due to negative customer service experiences||
The Bottom Line on How to Get More Clients
By exploring their path and how you show up along the way, you’ll find the intersections of where you can find each other. By nailing a specific service for a niche target market, you can begin to nail your marketing and easily find more clients.
Belinda DiGiambattista is a serial entrepreneur and can be found at www.belindadi.com