"How do I find high-value clients Chris?"
This is a question I've been asked many a time … and I expect, will continue to be asked.
Because finding clients is, after all, a critical aspect of running a service-based business. You simply can't do it without the clients.
And let's face it. No-one is going to want low-value clients.
So … a common, and valid, question.
But here's the thing. The most important word in that question, or should I say … the most problematic word in that question, is FIND.
Because there is a world of difference between FINDING clients – going out hunting for them … and ATTRACTING clients – letting them come to you.
And I can tell you this: There is much more sense in focusing on the latter …
The Problem with Client Hunting…
A friend of mine has been running a successful business for a number of years, and over the past few months has been talking about updating her website.
But, as is often the case – particularly when you are already busy running a successful business – she hasn't found … or put aside … the time to look into it.
Then out of the blue, just the other week, she was approached by a website developer on LinkedIn who was promoting her services and enquiring as to whether my friend might be looking to revamp her website.
What a coincidence! What perfect timing….
So my friend replied positively, they arranged a phone call, and subsequently spent an hour or so discussing what this developer could do for my friend – options, potential costs, time frames – essentially, this developer spent an hour pitching to my friend. And she did a great job. She sounded just what my friend needed.
However … my friend wanted time to think about it, and said she'd get back to this developer.
A few weeks later, and she still hasn't. And you know why?….
Because she wasn’t READY to hire.
The World at our Fingertips
In this modern world, we have the ability to search, research and FIND at the click of a button. We literally have the world at our fingertips, able to find anything and everything we might need with just a few swipes on our phones.
As a result, we are USED to looking for what we want. We are USED to searching, researching, checking reviews, comparing options and choosing our perfect, or favourite option.
We are used to having hundreds, thousands, millions perhaps, of options … and we've all developed our own – often subconscious – set of criteria that helps us decide.
And this has led to many of us WANTING this variety. We WANT to check, compare and CHOOSE ourselves, so that we can be SURE of our decision.
We want to know we've chosen the best option … not the ONLY option, or the FIRST option. And however good that first or only option might be, most of us want to know for CERTAIN that it is the best one for us.
My friend reaffirmed this when telling me about the web developer:
"She seems great," she said, "but I want to do a little research … compare options … just see what else is out there before I commit to anything."
So even though that web developer's timing seemed perfect – my friend wanted a web developer after all … in reality, my friend wasn't READY to hire.
And THAT was mainly because she hadn't gone through the process of reviewing and comparing, of vetting against her internal criteria, to make her feel comfortable that she'd chosen the best person for the job.
So she stalled. And that web developer has unfortunately – as things currently stand – simply lost a few hours of her time…
The BEST clients are the READY clients
Going LOOKING for clients can work, and sometimes you hit the jackpot.
Approach someone at just the right time – someone who needs exactly what you're offering but who doesn't have the time, or inclination to check and compare – and you may well land yourself the perfect client.
But more often than not, if people haven't come looking for YOU, it's because they're not READY yet.
Maybe they're not ready because they don’t yet need it ENOUGH … which means they won't VALUE what you're able to offer as much.
Maybe they're not ready because they just haven't had the time to research it yet; to compare, and know what different options are available for their needs … which means they won't VALUE what you're able to offer as much.
All of which means, most likely, that you're ultimately going to be wasting your time.
So, what's the alternative?
Be Ready for THEM, when they are ready for YOU
Rather than spending time pitching to potential clients … cold calling, e-mailing … long phone calls and meetings to "sell yourself"….
Focus on making yourself visible, with a CLEAR message and proposition, READY for when your ideal clients come looking for you.
Focus on being the one that will STAND OUT when your ideal clients start researching, and reviewing and comparing.
And let the people come to you.
Because they are the people that are already READY to commit.
They KNOW what they need, and they know the VALUE of what you can offer … because they have already looked into it … researched it … and compared options.
And they will choose YOU because you fit their internal set of criteria … whatever those criteria are … whether its your website design, or the way you write about your services; maybe it's your references and portfolio; maybe it's because you're from the same village as them.
Whatever it is, be CLEAR about what YOU can offer THEM.
Be CLEAR about who you are, how you work, what you can OFFER, and let them choose YOU….
And then you will find the high-value clients you've been looking for. Because those are the clients that know YOU are exactly the person for THEIR job.
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