Whether you are an entrepreneur or freelancer, one thing is for sure: your common goal is to get more clients. How to achieve this, though, is where things can get a bit sticky. How aggressive should you be? How do you make a lasting impression? What is the best way to turn a potential client into a client? Thankfully, you don’t have to consider these questions alone. The following list will help you step up your A game and line your pockets while bringing you more clients.
1. Stroke Your Ego
Yes, you read that right. While you don’t want to come off as a schmuck who can only talk about yourself, being too modest could hurt your business. Push away those feelings of doubt and name drop when you can. Hey, how are future clients supposed to know who you have worked with, if you don’t tell them? If your service increased profits for a particular company, you can make mention of this in the context of what you can achieve for your potential client. Just as long as you temper your self-congratulatory statements with concrete facts and numbers, the fact that you are seemingly stroking your ego will go over well.
2. Drip with Enthusiasm
How excited are you about your business? If it is taking you awhile to answer this question, then you’ve already answered it. While it is common to get bored with your business , prospective clients need to know and see that you are excited about your work. This can be easily conveyed by your tone, presentation and professionalism.
- Tone: When you speak to people about your product or service, make sure you are animated and lively. If you aren’t engaged enough in your own business, how can they be?
- Presentation: Whether you are pitching over the phone or have been invited to argue your case in person, make sure that you are prepared. You should know everything there is to know about your business as well as your competitors. This goes for your physical presentation as well. What will you wear to the meeting? If you are fortunate enough to have a face-to-face meeting with a potential client, try wearing one of your plus-size Halloween costumes . The prospective client would have to be in a coffin not to notice the type of enthusiasm and commitment you have to your costume business, providing a perfect way to not only break the ice but get him talking about what you do.
- Professionalism: Do you have business cards that you are ready to distribute at a moment’s notice? Are you punctual and well-spoken? Are your replies to e-mails well-written and clear? Being late, appearing unsure about what you offer or somehow communicating in an unclear way leaves a dubious impression.
3. Don’t Be Stingy
Take money out of your budget to invest in some swag: mugs, writing pads and pens and pencils are all good choices to display your company logo on. Once you have these promotional items made, rather than holding on to them as though your life depends upon it, give them out freely. You never know where these items can end up. Even if a future client didn’t bite the last time you reached out, sending him a package about your business at a later date could encourage discussion – and a contract!
4. Don’t Discriminate
Do you give your best client special treatment? If you do, perhaps you want to take some of those special perks and distribute them to all of your clients. Why? Everyone remembers the person who goes the extra mile to make sure they are properly taken care of. In this competitive world, that important detail can really make the difference between having repeat business or one-time accounts.
If you are a consultant, take the extra time to give added information. If you offer a service, every once in a while, give a discount or throw in an extra product on the house. If you are a freelancer, taking on a project at the last minute or even taking it on for half-price can go a long way. Clients will see that you really care about their needs and are willing to sacrifice at times to keep their business, making them loyal and committed.
5. Perform a Hat Trick
Okay, so you aren’t actually going to do a hat trick, but you definitely want to be creative about getting your name out to prospective clients. With a little creativity, you can promote yourself in ways that haven’t been done before.
- Start a Contest: There are so many directions you can go with this one. Spur engagement while promoting your business by awarding the customer that designs the best logo for your business. Drive customers to your website by having them upload pictures wearing or using your products and then reward the best picture with a prize. This simple gesture will drum up excitement and awareness about your business and possibly attract new clients.
- Offer Discounts: Using social media, you can offer discounts to individuals who retweet your links or website the most over a specified amount of time. Or if you are a local business, give the 100th customer a free service or product.
- Write a Press Release: Any new business development is a good reason to write a press release. Writing press releases facilitate brand awareness and shamelessly encourage the media to write about you. Once you’ve written your press release, send it to newspapers, radio stations and websites so that they can post or pitch your message. Never be afraid to pull out all the stops.
6. Buy Yourself a Drink
…At the next social mixer. Part of attracting clients is taking the time to network and socialize. This means peeling yourself away from your desk and going out on the town. If there is an event taking place that is based on your type of business, make it a priority to be there.
At the event, make sure to have business cards on hand to distribute as you talk. Build relationships with fellow attendees and get some face time with as many potential clients as possible. This is a good time to see about scheduling subsequent one-on-one meetings. If a future client likes your pitch, she may entertain meeting you at another time to discuss your business in detail.
7. Be a Know-It-All
When it comes to your business, you should know everything there is to know about it. Who are your competitors? How does your business provide solutions to your niche’s problems? How do you fulfill your future clients’ needs? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you are in the wrong business.
The topic of attracting new clients will never go stale. Just ask Marketing Consultant Martha Spelman, who provides a number of her own tips on nabbing new clients in Business Week. With just a bit of creativity, you can never exhaust your opportunities for drumming up new business.