Quite possibly the question that I’m asked the most often is this:
“How Can I Find More Clients for My Business?”
Over the last two years of doing SEO and other types of consulting, I’ve never had problems finding clients when I’ve needed to. Maybe it’s to flippant of me to say this, but it really isn’t that hard.
There’s millions of people out there that are potential clients. At any given time, there are thousands of people wanting to buy what you’re selling. Well unless of course you specialize in teeth cleaning for rabid squirrels or private ski lessons in Kansas – but if that’s your target market, you have a whole different set of things to worry about.
No finding clients for more traditional products or services isn’t rocket science (believe me, if I can do it, you can too). I’ve found work through a variety of channels, but I’m going to tell you the absolute best way, #1 (not so) secret I know to finding an abundance of people who want to pay you cold-hard cash for doing whatever it is you do best.
Ready for this?
Build Rapport in Person
That’s it. No really, that’s it.
People want to work with people they like and trust. While the internet is great at a lot of things, it’s not so good at allowing you to establish, real, meaningful rapport.
There’s still no substitute for having a beer in person, shaking hands, and meeting face to face.
The bottom line is, if you’re doing any number of things like SEO, copywriting, design, development etc. you can probably get the job done.
You know how to use Google right? Great, that’s the only help manual you need.
There are so many resources out there to help you with the actual work, that it isn’t the primary focus any more. Most people looking to hire you for, well whatever, assume that you can probably get the job done. Yes, you’ve gotta know the basics, more often than not people look for people they want to work with.
The best way to find those people? Go out and meet them in person.
At the very first event I ever attended where I told people I did SEO – I found three clients. I was able to tell stories, be genuinely interested in their stories, help them with some of their basic SEO issues, and prove I at least had a general knowledge of what I was talking about.
If you’re looking to find clients, focus on meeting in person. Meetup.com, conferences, Craigslist, these are all fantastic ways to start meeting people in person.
Is every person you meet going to hire you? Of course not – you won’t be a good fit for everyone, and not everyone needs work done. But the more time you spend outside of the internet, the more successful you’re internet based business will be. Counterintuitive right?
Turning Rapport into Rewards
So it’s one thing to build rapport and make a friend, but how do you actually get this to translate into work? Well it depends on the context. If you’re at a business or networking event, then the chances are the interaction will be much more work oriented – its ok to talk more about your business and what you do.
But what if you’re in more of a social situation? At a wedding, a birthday party, or talking to some random dude on the ski lift?
You do not want to be the dude pitching his services at any of these events.
In these situations you have one goal: help them solve one of their problems.
Let them talk as much as possible, and actually listen to what they have to say. Ask lots of questions, and try and figure out exactly what it is that they are struggling with in their life or business. Look for ways that you can use your expertise to help them with their goals.
If you can do this in a way that’s natural and not forced, they’ll think of you when it comes time to hire you directly or recommend you to a friend.
The Secondary Tactics
While meeting new people in person as often as possible, is the number one thing you can do to find new clients, there are certainly other things that help make closing the sale even easier.
For one, the easier it is to find and get information about you after the initial meeting, the better. You should have a professional looking website dedicated to your services, with a photo of you, information about you, examples of your work, and testimonials if possible.
You don’t want people to have to search for this information, they should be able to find everything they need in a matter of seconds if they are looking for you.
Another question to ask yourself, is are you creating engaging content that’s easy to share?
No I’m not necessarily talking about building a blog, but you should have a way to show off your expertise. You should be trying to make yourself a trusted authority in your industry. This can be done through Twitter, Facebook, hell these days even Pinterest. The easier it is for you to share high quality content, that helps educate others, the easier it is to build your reputation.
Through all of this finding clients really comes down to these three steps:
- Build Rapport
- Help solve a problem (provide value)
- Establish authority
If you can do those three things on a regular basis, and take it seriously, you should have no shortage of work for whatever you’re doing.
Does this mean it’s impossible to find clients strictly through online channels? Of course not, but if you’re looking for a fast track to success, the internet isn’t always the best solution.
What strategies have worked for you to find clients?