I find the best way to win new clients is firstly to know as much as I can about them, and secondly for them to know as much as they need to about me. Sounds a little unbalanced? Well, the important thing for a prospective client to know about me is that I’m an expert, they can trust me and that I can provide a solution to their problem. But that takes investment. Investment of my time in them. If I approach them, hand them a card and tell them I’m here to solve all their problems I’m likely to see a lot of my cards finding their way swiftly into the bin.
So whilst I don’t advertise what I do in the traditional sense, I do advertise ‘me’ in that I attend a lot of events and meet a lot of people to reach out to a wider contact group. Not everybody I meet instructs me, but almost everybody I meet introduces me to someone new that does.
Of course as a consequence of attending these events I find people trying to sell me something, and I can’t help feeling a little irritated when they jump straight in, whip out their pricing sheets and start to offload information I either won’t remember or more often than not doesn’t have any relevance to me. That’s because they haven’t taken the time to get to know me, what I like or don’t like, what I need or don’t need, or in fact even whether I’m actually a potential client or whether I can introduce them to someone that is; something I won’t do if they’ve already irritated me!
I’ve won countless new clients simply because I’ve taken the time to find out whether they’re married or not, have children, pets, siblings, what their interests or dislikes are. What they do for a living is usually pretty simple as people seem happy to open up on that, not least because they may want to sell something to you. Now I have what I need to plan, firstly if I can help them, and secondly how. If I can’t at least now I know some other people in their intimate circle that I could get an introduction to. Either way, what I generally come away with is a client that remains a client for a long time and comes back for repeat business, or I have a really good referral source that will introduce me to someone else.
Get to know the people you want to do business with, and get to know them well. Ask open questions, understand what problems they are dealing with, talk through the consequences of what would happen if they do nothing. If you can help, demonstrate how and evidence the value in what you offer. If you can’t then introduce them to someone that can. Not everyone will become your client, but by introducing that prospect to someone else that can help them you’ve just earned yourself some points from both the prospect, and the contact you’ve introduced them to.
I’ve had some clients for 20 years and the reason they keep coming back is because I show a genuine interest in them, and many of them have become friends over that time too. Take this approach next time you’re with a new prospect and you might just win a life-long contact. Your clients are the best referral source you can have. What about the bottom line? That takes care of itself.
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