I don’t think I’ve seen a tougher environment for attracting new clients than in the past year.
The pandemic has definitely made things harder. Companies are tightening their belts, and clients are in a reactive, not creative mindset.
Even in my business, it’s been slower than usual filling my programs.
So, what have I done and what do I think you should do?
Well, I really believe that you should embrace proactive marketing more than ever. It’s the one approach to marketing my services that has always worked best for me.
Proactive marketing means reaching out and engaging prospective clients.
The opposite is passive marketing where you are visible, post content, and are active on social media, but wait for prospective clients to contact you.
The self-employed professionals I’ve spoken to are getting NO clients these days with passive marketing.
In many cases, their client load has dried up completely and many haven’t had any new clients in months.
Yes, this will likely improve in the coming months as the pandemic abates and businesses start getting back to normal.
But normal may take a lot longer than we hope.
The only solution I know is to embrace the proactive marketing mindset and work out the best strategies for getting you and your message in front of your ideal clients.
Proactive marketing includes the following strategies. Let me give you examples of all of them.
Introducing Yourself to Prospective Clients
This is not cold calling. It’s using whatever connection or affiliation you might already have, and then reaching out. Your first goal is to get a conversation, then a meeting, and then the opportunity to present your services or programs.
Way back in the late ’80s, early in my business, I joined the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. I went through the Chamber directory and circled those companies that I thought might be ideal clients.
I wrote a simple, one-page letter introducing myself and my services, mentioning that I was also a Chamber member. And then, a few days later, I followed up by phone.
What amazed me is that everyone took my call. It was my Chamber affiliation that did the trick. We had good conversations, where I asked about what they were doing to attract clients, and then I mostly listened.
Most of those phone calls turned into in-person meetings and then the majority of those meetings resulted in new client engagements.
Yes, I was scared to death when I started. But I was surprised how easy it was if I adopted the proactive mindset of simply introducing myself.
Think, what affiliations or connections do you have? A Chamber of Commerce, a professional association, a service club?
Reach out (usually an email these days), follow up by phone, and have an initial conversation. Then follow that with a more formal meeting.
My clients are doing this very successfully these days. They are getting lots of meetings. And some of those meetings are turning into new business.
Look very, very few of your competitors are doing this. It makes you stand out in a very personal way.
No, not all your connections will result in new business, but you will start to deepen your business relationships, add people to your email list, and get connections to other prospective clients, etc.
Give Presentations – Lots of Presentations
Early in my business, I went to a lot of networking events but noticed they didn’t give me much traction, as I only met a handful of people this way.
So, instead, I worked at getting presentations at professional organizations. When I gave a presentation, 100% of those in attendance got to see me, hear me, and get some value from me.
At the end of the presentation, I collected business cards. And then I followed up with everyone and got conversations with many of them. Those conversations resulted in more in-depth meetings, and then a number of those turned into paying clients.
When I moved my business from San Francisco to Silicon Valley in 1995, I turned on my “speaking marketing machine” and contacted every organization I could find to get booked as a speaker by following this proactive approach.
The result was that I attracted 26 new clients in 26 weeks. All because I had been proactive and reached out to get speaking engagements. I went from being practically broke to buying a house in the Santa Cruz Redwoods seven years later.
Where do you start? With organizations you know. Put together a presentation and approach them by offering a complimentary webinar to their members.
Literally millions of business presentations are given every day. Why not you? You have something of value to communicate, don’t you? If so, don’t hold back, reach out and offer what you have.
Build a List and Keep in Touch
One of the side benefits of speaking is that I invited all those who gave me their business card to be on my new email newsletter list.
My list grew like gangbusters in the first few years of my newsletter and I sent out an email article weekly. I’m now in my 24th year.
For a year or two. I didn’t promote anything through my list. I just wrote it to stay visible and valuable to my prospective clients.
But then I started to promote a cassette-tape set (yes, cassettes!) on marketing, and soon after, in 1999, wrote my InfoGuru Manual and ended up selling thousands of copies.
I followed that with promoting group programs that have generated a few million dollars over the past 20 years.
Ultimately, my email marketing has been my most successful proactive marketing strategy of all.
Where do you start? Well, I’ve been telling people recently that a newsletter to 10 people a couple times a month is better than nothing to zero people zero times a month.
You may or may not end up selling recordings, manuals, and group programs, but if people never hear from you, they are not very likely to do business with you.
But be proactive with your newsletter. Send it out with valuable tips once a week or twice a month and then approach those on your list occasionally to get meetings and explore possibilities.
Again, proactive marketing starts with a proactive mindset.
First, you need to feel that you have a valuable message and a service or program that makes a real difference to your clients. Work on honing that message and communicating it to as many people as possible.
Second, you need to be willing to reach out, introduce yourself, and see if the value you are offering resonates with your prospective clients. Sometimes it will, sometimes it won’t, but if you don’t knock on some doors (or computer screens), you’ll never know!
P.S. Would you like some hands-on assistance putting a proactive marketing approach into action? If so, set up a time with me to chat and see if my Marketing Action Group program is a good fit for your situation. https://bookme.name/actionplan (Yes, this is proactive marketing!)