When I work with clients, we go through four main stages.
1. Clarification of their marketing message.
2. Development of their written materials about their services.
3. Prospecting to get meetings with connections and prospects.
4. Engaging in the selling process.
Stage 1 & 2 take some thinking and writing. Stage 4 takes mastering a particular conversation.
But #3, prospecting, is an ongoing process that never ends.
If you’re going to be successful at attracting clients, then you need to develop a prospecting mindset and work ethic.
Without that mindset, you’ll find yourself sitting around waiting for people to connect with you.
Prospecting includes the following activities:
1. Making lists of anyone and everyone you can connect with.
2. Writing emails or phone scripts to make connections.
3. Getting meetings and having conversations to explore possibilities.
If you can do those three things consistently and with some intention and energy, you can be very successful at prospecting and ultimately will land new clients.
And these three things look very simple until you actually try to do them, right?
Before you know it, you run out of names. So where do new names come from?
And when you reach out by email, LinkedIn, or even phone, it’s a little trickier to get meetings than you thought.
Then, when you have those meetings, what do you need to say and ask to make something actually happen?
The truth is, most give up at prospecting when these activities become increasingly difficult.
And they give up because of a thought. And this thought is usually something like: “This should be easier than it is!”
Well, isn’t that why we quit anything?
It sure has been true for me!
I’ve given up at a lot of things as soon as it became harder than I thought it should be.
So, it essentially takes two things to keep on keeping on:
The first is that you need to really, really want the result you’re going after.
It needs to be very important to you.
And the second is that you need to give up believing it should be easy.
Because very often it’s not. It usually takes a lot of work.
I had this conversation with a client a few weeks ago:
He had been doing all four of those things to market his professional service. But things we not moving as quickly as he felt they should.
And he was getting very disappointed and discouraged.
So, we had a “Let’s Get Real Meeting.”
This consisted of two pointed questions:
Is this something you really, really want?
Yes, it was.
And do you see that wanting it to be easy when it’s hard is delusional?
That took a little longer to penetrate!
But he finally got it. If he was going to attract new clients he would need to keep at it until he got better at it.
No magic formulas, but basic friendly persistence.
A couple of weeks later he wrote me an email with an update on his prospecting activities:
“I’ve been having conversations with people in my resource group. I talked with the banker for 90 minutes on Tuesday. Sent him to my services information page. He wants to connect me with a couple of dental schools he works with.
“On Wednesday morning, I met with the insurance person in the group, and together we talked about holding a networking event for new dentists.
“At noon, I had lunch with the dentist who had said no to me. I sent him a proposal yesterday and will follow-up on Monday. His needs are greater than he initially realized.
“On Monday, I have a phone call with another consultant to learn more about her work. She was delighted that I had reached out to her.
“Yesterday, the executive director of the NH Dental Society emailed letters of introduction to 4 of his colleagues, other executive directors, telling them about me and how I had “hit it out of the park” at both the speaking events I had done for his society.”
“Today, I sent out 4 emails to meeting planners and…I included a comic at the end. (We’d been talking about how to use comics to lighten up email messages.)”
Now that’s what I call active prospecting! He had crossed the prospecting chasm.
I was very happy that our conversation had lit a fire under him! He had stopped complaining that things weren’t happening the way he thought they should, and simply started taking action, doing the best he could.
My message to you if you’ve found your prospecting has stalled because it’s not going as well as you think it should:
Learn and then master the client attraction basics outlined at the top of this message.
Then make prospecting a game, not a dreadful slog. Above all else, have fun making connections with people.
When you do that, your enthusiasm and commitment will be contagious. They’ll want to meet with you, help you, and work with you.