If you have clients, you have a business.
If you are getting more clients this year than you did last year, you have a growing business.
We can talk about management and productivity and growth until we're blue in the face, but at the end of the day, everything comes down to your ability to land clients.
And that's why, In this guide, we are going to show you exactly how to get more clients.
Why Tactics, Tricks & Tips Won't Cut It
You may have clicked on this article hoping to find a collection of tactics.
Here's why tactics, tricks, and tips aren't going to get you the results you want.
America's self-employed workforce has nearly doubled in the last year, jumping from 15 million in 2018 to 27 million in 2019, and it's projected to hit 42 million in 2020. At 42 million, a full 25% of the workforce will be self employed.
This growth won't be industry specific, as the rising tide of freelancers, independent consultants, entrepreneurs, and contractors will affect every industry and occupation.
Screenshot from Bureau of Labor Statistics
Every single one of these 42 million people are going to be competing for clients.
And the people who will stand out and corner the market won't be the ones following rehashed sales tips compiled by a content mill writer who has never done sales in their life.
The people who will stand out and grow successful businesses are the people with a proven process for landing recurring clients.
If you want to be in that group, here's the process that more than 3,000 of our students have used to build thriving, full time businesses across hundreds of industries and niches.
Step 1. Define Your Unique Selling Point (USP)
Getting clients start with giving them a reason to hire you.
A lot of service providers simply exist within a vague category of work.
- "I do marketing."
- "I help small businesses."
- "I help businesses make money."
You may land a client here or there with this vague branding, but they aren't going to be high quality clients, and you are never going to grow your business this way.
If you want clients, you need to be able to clearly communicate the exact value you offer.
This is called your unique selling point (USP). It describes the solution you provide, who you provide it to, and how you provide it.
Here's a simple template:
Imagine you own an online store selling baseball equipment and someone tells you, "Hey I help businesses make more money."
That's way too vague. What businesses? How much more money? Why should you believe them?
Now imagine someone tells you, "I help boutique online sporting goods retailers double their net revenue in six months through personalization marketing."
That's way more compelling, and if they can prove that they've helped other retailers double their income in six months, hiring them is a no-brainer.
If you can't immediately identify your USP, look at your current client roster and ask yourself these questions:
- Who is my favorite client and why?
- Do I want to work with more clients like this or would a different type of client be better?
- What problem are my ideal clients wanting to solve?
- How can I solve that for them?
Use that info to determine your USP.
Step 2. Focus Your Branding On One Niche
One of the things you may have noticed in the previous section is the importance of niche.
Often, people don't want to ‘limit' themselves to a niche, because they fear ‘losing opportunities.'
In reality, the opposite is true.
Imagine you own a software business. You need a writer to create long-form articles for your website to drive traffic and secure new leads.
Four writers apply for the job. Here are the headlines on their websites:
- Writer 1: "Freelance writer"
- Writer 2: "Freelance writer available for blog posts, reports, copywriting, etc. Whatever you need, I can help!"
- Writer 3: "Freelance writer specializing in long-form articles for businesses"
- Writer 4: "Freelance writer specializing in long-form articles for software and SaaS businesses.
Which writer would you hire?
Obviously, you would hire writer #4.
This is the power of specializing — you can position yourself as the perfect solution to your target clients.
If you've worked with clients in your target niche before, leveraging your experience in the form of case studies, testimonials, and data charts is a great way to confirm you know what you're doing.
Be sure to include everything relevant to your experience that demonstrates your ability to successfully do your job, and that you are great to work with and respected by your clients and peers. Companies—especially larger ones—can have their pick of service providers, so make sure they want to work with you.
You can still tailor your online presence to appeal to ideal clients even if you don't have experience working in your niche of choice. Create mock case studies that explain a company problem, how you would solve it, and what type of results you could expect from that approach. Demonstrating your understanding of problem-solving for that unique industry is critical.
Lastly, giving your social media profiles a look-through is always smart. You don't have to be a robot and only post about business and industry news, but make sure you don't say anything negative about past clients or anything that might prevent clients from wanting to work with you.
Check your LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram profiles to make sure they align with your brand. If they are personal accounts, you can keep them personal, just keep in mind that potential clients may see anything you post.
Step 3. Prioritize Recurring Lead Acquisition
There are a lot of short term ways to land a client or two here or there, but if you want long term success, you need to prioritise a long term strategy.
The following strategies are great ways to build a recurring leads channel that will bring in new leads month after month after month.
- Strategic Partnerships & Joint Ventures
- Email List Building
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Paid Advertising
While each one of these is a book unto itself, we'll spend a few minutes breaking down the acquisition channel we teach here at Consulting.com.
This system is built around paid Facebook advertising and is designed specifically for bringing in high-ticket clients for service based businesses, but we've had students find success with it across a wide range of products and services.
Having a system like this allows you to transform client acquisition from a guessing game to a simple math calculation.
Let's say you spend $500 on Facebook ads, which results in 500 people visiting your landing page. Out of that 500 people, 165 people sign up for your training, and after watching your value video, 16 schedule a call with you and fill out your survey. You speak with 16 people on the phone and 3 end up purchasing your services at $800 each.
What does this mean?
It means that lead acquisition is no longer a guessing game. You know that at any time, you can spend $500 on Facebook ads and make $2,400 in revenue.
This funnel is made up of 6 key steps:
- Attract visitors with Facebook ads
- Get them to sign up for your video lesson or webinar via a compelling promise
- Deliver on your promise in the video and offer to help them directly over the phone
- Have them schedule a call with you and fill out a prequalifying survey
- Provide more value over the phone and then pitch them your services
- Close a new client
Each of these steps requires its own set of skills, which is why we devote over a week's worth of lessons to teaching it in our course, but this straightforward 6-step process is really all it takes to build a business.
Step 4. Leverage Your Social Proof
Social proof is an integral part of online business. People want to know that other people like what you're doing.
It's especially powerful when it's people they know. According to a study from Nielsen, 92% of people will trust an opinion or recommendation from a peer.
But it's also powerful even when it comes from a stranger. Online reviews, for example, are trusted 12 times more than sales copy.
Is it our sales copy here at Consulting.com that has resulted in our continued growth, with thousands of new students every year?
Or is it the 3,555 video reviews?
Is it the monthly interviews with students describing their experience?
Is it the Facebook community with over 30k active members?
If you want a multimillion dollar business, you need multimillion dollar social proof.
But if you're just starting out, don't be intimidated. Just start by collecting some initial proof from your clients.
As you wrap up a project or hit a milestone with a client, ask them if they would be willing to write a testimonial about their experience working with you.
Asking clients at that specific point is ideal, because not only will their experience with you be fresh in their mind, but you won't have to worry about having that (sometimes) awkward conversation weeks later asking for a testimonial.
Below is an example of what you can send to your client right before you wrap a project or hit a milestone:
"Hi [Client Name],
I've really enjoyed working with you over these past few [months/weeks]. It's been rewarding to see [Company name] excel and grow since we started working together. With that being said, would you be willing to write a testimonial about your experience working with me? I'd be honored to have my name associated with yours, and would sincerely appreciate it if you took a few minutes to do this.
If you do have to reach out to a past client after some time has passed, ask if they would be comfortable writing you a testimonial instead of asking for one outright. If they agree to write one, include a few notable points or results from the project you worked on together to help jog their memory. This will help them remember what you worked on, and it increases the likelihood of them including those results in their testimonial, which can make them stand out.
Once you have a few testimonials, place them on your website, your portfolio, or even in your promotional emails if you have one. Make sure you display them where potential clients will see them.
Screenshot from Optinmonster
If your clients aren't comfortable with writing a testimonial, don't be discouraged. There are still plenty of other ways you can display your work and results.
Try getting testimonials from former colleagues or business partners, who may not have paid you for your work, but at least know your capabilities and talents. Case studies are also an excellent way for you to showcase the data and results of a project as well as exhibit your knowledge.
And the reality is that you probably aren't going to have the most amazing social proof early on.
Keeping plugging away and getting better at what you do, and as better social proof comes in, leverage it like crazy!
Step 5. Execute Relentlessly On Your USP
At the end of the day, the single best thing you can do to get more clients is to do really, REALLY good word for your current clients and master your USP.
If you work hard, do great work, and live up to (or exceed) their expectations, they are more likely to sing your praises and want to work with you again. Learning how to build and nurture your relationships with clients effectively is a skill that will benefit you throughout your entire career.
Your USP is what separates you from the pack, and your ability to execute on your USP is what will propel your business forward over the long term.
As you work together, asking for feedback from clients is a great way to keep expectations in check and gauge how you are performing so far. It also shows that you care about your clients and want to make sure they are happy. Don't be afraid to ask them specifically how you measure up to what you consider to be your USPs—specific feedback on where you want to excel is better than general feedback.
Going out of your way to keep your clients satisfied with your relationship, whether it's sending them a birthday card every year (even if your work with them has paused) or following up to make sure they understand next steps or have everything they need, can go a long way. Maintaining positive relationships with clients can make for a great experience, but also can lead to more opportunities.
Lastly, your current clients can be some of your best referrers. Your clients are likely connected to others in the industry, so going above and beyond with every project and in every meeting, you are laying the foundation for more business.
We've touched on a lot of things in this guide and hopefully given you a solid picture of how to get more clients.
This 5-step process is not easy and it might not net you a new client or two in the next month, but it WILL grow your business over the next few years and beyond.
This is the same system over 3,000 of our students have used to build full time businesses that allowed them to quit their jobs and be independent for the first time in their lives.
If you'd like to dive deeper into this process, click below to try our $2,000 training for free!