These five strategies will help you make small shifts in how you show up, so that you can start attracting those perfect-for-you clients.
When we’re just getting started with our service based business, the goal is to produce revenue. You need to pay the bills, so if the client can pay, you take ‘em on. And then, after a little while, you see that this mentality isn’t necessarily helping you build the business you want. You realize that you’re ready to start shifting from ‘saying yes to everyone’ to wanting to be more intentional about who you work with.
The good news? You’re not alone. In fact, I think it’s a rite of passage as a business owner – we need to work with a lot of people in order to find what we want. Because, spoiler alert: as a business owner, you get to decide who you want to work with.
But here’s where I think a lot of us get hung up. We start developing a clearer picture of our ideal client but we don’t take action towards making that the norm. Whether it’s fear of turning down money or fear of coming across as an asshole, we hold back from going after who we really want, and thus, hold back from building a business that we truly love.
Here’s the kicker. A potential client has the power and the right to find someone they also love. We forget that it’s a two-way relationship.
Think about it from their perspective – shouldn’t they make a selection on who they want to hire from a place of ‘HELL YES’ rather than ‘Well, I guess she’ll do because I might not find anyone else’?
A great client relationship starts when both parties are excited about the project. When both parties see the value in working together. When both parties are able to contribute their best work.
The next step, after getting clear on who you want to work with, is making small shifts in how you show up, so you can start attracting those perfect-for-you clients. These strategies are ones that I have used in my own business to bring in those ‘pinch me, I can’t wait to work together’ clients that make owning a business so much freakin’ fun.
Add a Client-Focused Website Header Statement
The function of the header statement on each page of your website is to let the visitor know within a few seconds whether or not you’re the right person to solve their problem. The way you do this is by crafting a compelling and clear statement that speaks to your ideal client and the transformation that you provide.
A visitor should know within five to ten seconds if they’re in the right place because your header statement is quick to read, easy to understand and tells your visitor if you can solve their problem.
The easiest update you can make to your website is to change your header statement and specifically call out who you want to work with. For example, if you’re a life coach who wants to work with health conscious women, SAY THAT. This is not the time to beat around the bush.
Create a Strong Referral Program
There are a few ways to create a referral program; one with past clients and another with strategic partnerships.
For past clients, the idea is that if they were a great fit, they probably have others in their network that would be equally wonderful to work with. You can offer them credit on your services or straight cash or maybe a gift card. It’s really up to you what the reward is but the idea remains the same; they send people your way, they get something in return.
Another option is to collaborate with complementary service providers. For example, I partner with a local brand photographer; if she has a branding client who first needs branding work, she sends them my way, and vice versa. When using this strategy, it’s important to find people who work with the types of clients that you want more of. Remember, the whole point is to create more opportunities for you to work with the perfect-for-you client.
Be Intentional About What Goes into Your Portfolio
When I say portfolio, I don’t just mean it in the truest sense. This also can include case studies and testimonials. The idea is that you’re showcasing the work you did for a client, whether it’s through their own words or from your perspective.
Your portfolio should work for you. Meaning, if you don’t want more of that type of work, it doesn’t have to be highlighted.
Not every client that I work with gets featured in my portfolio. It doesn’t mean the client was bad or the work was bad; it just means that it’s not something I want to intentionally attract more of.
What if you don’t have anything that you can put into a portfolio with perfect-for-you clients? Try reaching out to the people you want to work with and offer a discount on your services in exchange for a testimonial. Or, see if you can do a service-trade with someone in your desired industry/category/space. The idea is that your portfolio should be your go-to resource for showcasing your expertise to your ideal client.
Show Up in the Right Places
Do you really know where your ideal client spends their time online? If you’re operating on assumptions, go back through your past clients and next to each of their names, write down where or how they found you. Then highlight the ones you would clone if you could.
Are there any patterns or trends in terms of the source?
For example, I realized that a large majority of my clients either come from finding me through a Facebook group or are a referral from a past client. So, instead of spending my time on Instagram and Twitter, I honed in on setting up a kickass referral program and showing up consistently in Facebook groups.
This is about getting clear on what’s working and doubling down on it.
Ditch the Non-Ideal Client Services
When Witt and Company started, the core offering was digital marketing services. It was a serendipitous fluke that I got into branding and I thank my lucky stars that I did because this work brings me so much more happiness.
It was not even six months ago that I still had digital marketing as a service offering on my website. I remember asking myself, “Do I even want to do this type of work anymore?” My immediate gut reaction was ‘No’ and I realized that I wasn’t doing my business any favors by keeping it visible.
Removing the services and offerings that you don’t want to do is a simple solution that will most likely have a lot of mindset triggers: What if you stop offering said service and no one buys the other packages? What if that was the only reason why people came to you? What if you can’t find clients for the work you really want to do?
I hadn’t pitched my digital marketing services in more than A YEAR and I still had the gremlins creep in. It’s normal. But, it also doesn’t serve you or your business.
Getting clarity on your ideal client is a big hurdle, I know. However, it’s only the first part of attracting the right people. The next step is action which can be even scarier than calling out the right-fit-for-you-client.
I’d wager that you started your service based business because you wanted freedom – freedom to work when you wanted but also freedom to work with WHO you wanted. Now, this isn’t something you have to change overnight. You’re not failing if you aren’t checking all of these items off your list. The point of action is to get you closer to building your dream business. Whether that’s a teeny, tiny step forward or a giant leap – forward movement is forward movement.
With that, happy branding 🙂
All my best,
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