8 Ways to Find Your Next Client
One of the most challenging aspects of running your own business for many entrepreneurs is finding clients and keeping a steady stream of income coming in. In order to have a steady flow of clients and income, it’s important to stay booked out in advance. However, that doesn’t always happen, especially for newer business owners just starting out and dealing with the learning curve of being your own boss. If you do run into times that are slow, you need to make the most of it and use this downtime to your advantage to find new clients, ensuring you don’t find yourself in another slump down the road.
As a business owner, you’ll find it’ll come in handy to have a separate list of people you know- family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and so on. When you’ve run into a rough patch, get in touch with this list to check in and see if they know of anyone looking for your services or products.
Depending on the contact, it may be better to call, email, or chat in person, but you’ll have to gauge that for yourself. The key is to make it personal and spend time talking, rather than a quick “Hey, do you know someone who needs xyz?” and hang up. Nurturing these relationships can help you create a referral-based system that will continue to bring in income and clients in the future.
Another great source for referrals is past clients you meshed well with and did an outstanding job for. Check in with past clients to see how they’re doing, if they’re still enjoying their products, and have a conversation. Again, you need to nurture these relationships if you want to build a referral-based business. Another great way to keep in touch with past clients and ask for referrals is to do a periodic newsletter (a few times a year) announcing your referral program and fees, and any additional important information. However, keep in mind the newsletter isn’t personalized, so you still need to check in with each individual every so often.
When you send out newsletters, you can include a section to entice subscribers to refer clients to you. For example, at the bottom of my newsletters (depending on the content), I include a blurb that looks a little something like this:
Have a project in mind?
(include a sales pitch/blurb here with a call-to-action button)
Not quite ready?
(mention your referral program here and how much or what someone will receive when they refer a client to you)
If you start implementing something similar into your newsletters, I bet you’ll be surprised at the turnout! Sometimes people need to see a specific action to take to book your services, or be told exactly what you’re hoping they’ll do (refer a client) with a little enticing, and they’re much more likely to come through.
If your existing connections have been overworked lately or are turning up as a dead end, it never hurts to make new connections and build your network. Make a list of potential clients and reach out. Introduce yourself and ask a question to open up the conversation. It’s likely once you open up a dialogue that you’ll both be able to see if you mesh well together or not. If there’s a good vibe, that person is likely to buy your services or product, whether it’s now or down the road when they’re ready.
Again, building your network is key to finding new clients. Find a local networking event nearby and try it out. Search for meetups or events where your potential clients are likely to be in attendance, sign up, and show up with a smile on your face and a stack of business cards. The more people you talk to, the more likely you’ll find a new client. Even if they may not be in need of your services, they might know someone else who is. Therefore, it’s crucial to spend ample time with each contact you meet because they may have a hefty network of potential buyers behind them that you’re unaware of.
Facebook groups and Twitter chats are all the rage for many industries right now. Take some time to be present here, answer questions, ask for advice, and make yourself known. Some of the best marketing you can do, believe it or not, is by offering genuine and helpful advice. This can often go a lot further than saying “I’m so-and-so, I own xyz company, and I provide abc services.” You may see a lot of this in some of these groups, and not only can this seem spammy, but you’ll get lost in a sea of other business owners stating the same exact thing. Open up a private conversation, be genuine, and offer advice, and you’ll start to reap the rewards.
If times are really slow, try running a special on your products or services. Some money is better than no money, right? By offering a discount periodically and announcing it on social media, to your newsletter, and on your website, you’ll likely get inquiries from prospective clients who have been dying to work with you who simply haven’t been able to afford you. Although it still may be a stretch with your discount, these prospects may appreciate your portfolio so much that they’ll find a way to make it work.
Blogging by far is one of the best marketing tactics there is. By writing high-quality, niche-driven content and putting in ample marketing efforts after publishing, you’ll be able to continuously grow a loyal following and gain more exposure. Taking it a step further, being a guest blogger on popular blogs geared towards your target audience can do wonders for your business. Take some time research the right blogs to reach out to, come up with killer content ideas, and pitch your post. If you get published, you’ll not only gain exposure and grow your following exponentially more, but you’ll likely see some inquiries start pouring in too.
For a more in-depth guide on blogging, take a look at the Blogging Bombshell e-course here.
What methods do you use to bring in a steady flow of clients? Let me know in the comments below!