by Charlotte L. Hanna CMO/Director of PMR/CMBS Global
No matter what you do, you can’t get clients! Yet, no matter what you do…you need clients (or customers) if you are to stay in business. So, what can you do to get clients and be successful – no matter what it is you do, no matter what your business?
I’ve operated several small businesses over the years. Some were more successful than others – but none was as successful as I had hoped. Only recently did I figure out that therein was my biggest problem or obstacle. I had HOPED to be successful in what I did – but I had not PLANNED to be successful. I had big dreams, but I did not back those dreams up with a well-thought plan to ensure that I would make the money I desired and grow at the rate necessary to do more than “make it by the skin of my teeth.”
“He who fails to plan is planning to fail” ~ Winston Churchill
Just barely covering your costs each month does not equal success. I am laughing as I type this line – because (years ago) that was my mindset! I actually thought that as long as I was able to meet my bills I was succeeding – and for too many entrepreneurs…that is as good as it ever gets!
Much has changed since I first struck out to follow my dreams. I had somehow imagined that there was quite a market for what I was doing, but amazingly enough, clients and customers did not beat down my door or line up on the street to do business with me. As an entrepreneur, it is imperative that you be able to see what you want, but to increase your odds for success, you must also have a well-designed plan for how to get there – BEFORE you ever set up shop or hang out your shingle. And once you have determined the goal and the course for getting there – following through, sticking to that plan and remaining on course is absolutely vital.
No one can guarantee success and small business owners will generally agree that there is a certain level of risk involved when working for yourself, but if you need to get clients…below are 7 ways to get clients no matter what you do for a living.
Seven Ways to Get Clients
- Operate with integrity: I don’t care what business you are in, there is no better way to ensure organic growth and realize an increase in traffic and sales than to be a person of integrity. It is the one thing no professional can afford to be without.
- Professional Website and Branding: You won’t be found on the web unless you have established a presence on the web and the best way to do that is via a quality website. When someone finds you online – you have a few seconds to make an impression and you want it to be the best it can be. Make no mistake, no matter what it is that you do, there is more and more competition in your field every day – and you must stand out if you intend to be noticed. Carefully choose a look, a style, and a voice that is all your own and be sure to use it consistently everywhere.
- Network: Attend local events as often as possible to meet people in your market who share your interests. As often as you can afford to, attend larger events that educate and inform while providing a platform for exchanging ideas and information, as well. What you DON’T know can hurt you – “to grow you must first know” – and networking events can be the place to learn what others know, while becoming known by others.
- Press Releases: If you are doing it, it can be news. If it is happening to you or through you, it can be news. Press Releases are both paid and free and FREE P.R. is the best P.R. – especially if you give thought to how to word your release. The better the content, the more likely others will pick it up and post it for you. Don’t ignore the value of putting your news out there for others, including journalists, to find and post to their websites and/or news agencies.
- Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn…wherever you think your potential customers and clients hang out when they are online – you need to be there…CONSISTENTLY. Out of sight is out of mind when trying to do business online.
- Referral Programs: Word of mouth is GREAT for getting the right people to know about you and hopefully even ask for you, but a referral program (also known as an affiliate program) is an effective business arrangement in which a merchant website pays another a commission for referring clients or customers to the merchant’s site. It’s like being a commissioned sales person online and can be a great way to earn money if you do not yet have a product of your own to sell online.
- Blogging and Article Writing: Write for your own blog, others blogs, online article sites, etc. If you are an experienced writer, this can be a GREAT way to get clients. Millions surf the web and Google information, daily. If you can tell them what they want to know and answer their questions – you will eventually get noticed and become known in your field of expertise.
If you have already tried many of these ideas and still can’t get clients, no matter what you do, consider consulting with an experienced marketing team who can reveal what you may be overlooking and supply you with the necessary tools to help you achieve your goals.