The following is a guest post from C.J. Hayden, author of Get Clients Now! A 28- Day Marketing Program for Professionals, Consultants and Coaches.
Why is it that some consultants and independent professionals have all the business they need, while others struggle? Is there a secret no one is telling you? There are plenty of experts who try to convince you they have one surefire method to build your business. But every one of those methods is different! How do you know which one is right?
Don’t despair — there are some simple answers. Here are three secrets to finding all the clients you’ll ever need.
1. Choose a set of simple, effective things to do and do them consistently.
A key to successful marketing is picking just a few things to do and then doing those things over and over. This is how you can build your business more quickly by doing less.
Imagine trying to fill a water barrel with a drinking glass. You’d have to keep running back to the faucet over and over. In marketing, this is like trying to use every possible approach at once: networking, social media, publicity, public speaking, article writing, advertising, etc.
Instead, why not use a bucket to fill your barrel? You can carry more water while making fewer trips. Rather than struggling with a dozen different marketing strategies, you could choose a simple plan. For example: attend a few live networking events, give some talks, and then follow up with those you meet. Use just three strategies: networking, public speaking, and following up. Your barrel of prospects fills much faster, and you’re a lot less tired.
2. Take advantage of the Persistence Effect.
There is an interesting phenomenon that occurs when you get serious about marketing in a focused, consistent way. You begin to get results in unexpected places.
The phone rings, and it’s a prospect you spoke to months ago saying they are suddenly interested in working with you. You go to a networking meeting that seems like a complete waste of time, and run into a hot new prospect in the elevator on your way out. You get an exciting referral from someone whose name you don’t recognize. It’s almost as if the universe has noticed your dedication and decided to reward you.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that these out-of-the-blue opportunities are accidents. There is a direct connection between the level of effort you put into marketing and the results you get out of it — even when it seems like the results are completely unrelated to your efforts.
This marketing phenomenon is so common that I call it the Persistence Effect. If you persist in making ten calls a day, every day, you will get business, but it won’t all come from the calls you made. If you consistently attend one networking event per week, clients will appear, but not necessarily from the events you attended. Don’t worry about why it works; just know that it works.
3. Ask the people you already know for help.
One of the most overlooked secrets to successful marketing is getting a hand from the people you already know. Maybe you are waiting to become more successful before telling people about your business. Or perhaps you have made up a rule that your personal life is supposed to be separate from your business. But the truth is that the people who already know you are likely to be the best contributors to your success.
Go through your address book, checkbook, holiday card list, club roster, and alumni directory, and count up how many people you know that aren’t yet aware of your business. Begin reaching out to those people with cards, letters, e-mails, or phone calls and let them know about what you do.
Treat these people as part of your network. Think of them a pool of contacts from which you can draw clients, referrals, resources, ideas, and information. You can expand your network by asking the people you know who they know, and contacting the people they refer you to.
Always look for how you can make a relationship reciprocal. If you don’t know what the other person might need, ask, “What can I do for you?” Get a network of people out there working for you so you don’t have to work so hard.
To put all these ideas together, create a simple marketing plan that includes a few activities that you can do well, then use that plan consistently. Make sure your plan includes talking to people, not just launching a website and getting active on social media. The real path to success in marketing is neither trying to do everything nor limiting yourself to just one approach that someone tells you will do it all.
C.J. Hayden is a Master Certified Coach, popular speaker, and principal of Wings for Business, LLC, a firm that teaches self-employed professionals to make more money with less effort.