Without clients, you don’t have a business. Without additional clients, you cannot grow your business. Without a consistent flow of clients, you’ll always be spinning your wheels without any real progress.
Clients are the lifeblood of any type of service business. Whether you are a freelancer, a consultant, or you own a small service company, finding new clients is one of the toughest areas of business.
Most people leave it to chance, but can we rely on chance for a consistent flow of clients? Can we rely on chance to live our lives? I don’t think so.
See, I started freelancing more than 10 years ago. I was young and naive, but I was getting clients, and was getting paid. At the time, the money was great and there was less competition. I would haunt the freelancing sites and send dozens of proposals.
Eventually, one of them would contact me, and I’d get the project.
I thought this was the norm. Boy, was I wrong!
Unfortunately, (or rather fortunately) I was getting less and less clients from the freelancing sites. I had a part-time job, so I was able to weather it out. Later, I had my wife who was able to support me during dry seasons.
One day, I woke up and it hit me like a concrete block on my face. I’ve been freelancing for seven years, and I had nothing to show for it. I was not able to accumulate any wealth. My rates were still low, and I was struggling to get clients. I had to do something. So, I looked around, and I started learning. I learned about business for the first time. I learned about marketing and sales.
I was overwhelmed, there was too much to learn, the more I learned, the more questions I had. I was not able to apply anything at first. But then gradually, I tried a few marketing campaigns, I raised my rates (almost tripled it overnight), and things started to look good. My business was great again.
I was inspired to create a complete guide after witnessing countless freelancers and consultants struggling in their business just as I was. I don’t want you to spend years to learn this stuff. I’ve condensed it into a simple and repeatable system.
THE GUIDE / BLUEPRINT
This is an excerpt from the Service Business Blueprint. To download the complete blueprint, click here.
The «Service Business Blueprint» is a unique 7-step system that allows you to create paths into your business, and automatically guide prospects to you. It goes on to show you how to convert these prospects into clients who will love you for what you do.
- Choose Your Niche
- Create Your Irresistible Offers
- Create an Ethical Bribe
- Optimise Your Website
- Grow Your Audience
- Nurture Relationships
- Close via Sales Conversations
BEFORE WE GO OVER EACH STEP, LET’S HAVE A LOOK AT YOUR CLIENT’S JOURNEY
We all have different types of clients — and depending on their situations — the journey to your business will be very different. Let’s look at a few of the common types and see how we can engineer their journey instead of leaving it to chance.
When you are dealing with an outsourcer, your hands are usually tied. Typically, these types of clients are looking for the cheapest freelancer or consultant. Their journey goes a bit like this. They have a need for a project, let’s say it’s a brochure. They will go to freelance marketplaces and post a job or project. Then they will choose a freelancer.
Most often than not, they will choose based on price. They might not always pick the lowest price, but it’s a major factor in their decision process. For example, if most freelancers are quoting $100, and you come in and quote $1,000. They won’t even listen to what you have to say, you’d be eliminated on the spot.
Researchers tend to be very good clients, these people will research all their possible solutions before making any decision. They will typically search online about their problem, and then they will browse websites to shortlist a few. They will then proceed to contact the service providers and ask for quotes.
After receiving quotes, they will analyse their advantages and go with their best options.
This type of client is not actively looking for solutions to his problems. But he does have problems that he wants to solve. He simply delays it until later, or until it becomes urgent, then he becomes a researcher. However, they can still choose to purchase services if they see the opportunity. So when they are browsing or talking, they may take mental notes of people who can solve their problems.
SO, HOW CAN WE ENGINEER THEIR JOURNEY?
First, we need to ignore the Outsourcers if you want to charge premium fees. They may be great clients, but we have very few ways to influence their decision. For example, you can request to have a call before sending a proposal, or you can send a detailed proposal to demonstrate why your prices, but usually, you will be ignored, and that’s painful.
So, let’s focus on the Researchers and Procrastinators. These clients clearly have a problem that they need to solve, you now need to get in front of them. There are various ways to get noticed, some examples are social media, cold outreach, search engine optimisation, advertising, etc…
Once you’ve caught their attention, you want to bring them to your world. That’s your website. On your website, you demonstrate that you can help them.
This is where most business owners go wrong.
They have ineffective websites and when the prospects land there, they don’t know what to do next. Sometimes, we ask too much way too soon. It’s like asking for a date before you even know his/her name. For example, you’ll see many websites that offers a free consultation, or their main call to action is for the prospect to contact them. That may work with Researchers, but Procrastinators will never take action. It’s too “costly” in terms of effort even if it’s free.
Instead, you want to actually solve their problem right there on your website (or at least solve part of their problem). How? I’ll tell you exactly how in a second.
But first, I want to ask you, have you seen those websites where they ask for your name and email address? They may have this as a popup, or a sidebar form…
Why do they ask for this information? If you’ve filled in any of these forms, you may already know the answer.
They ask for your contact info because then they can contact you again, and again. If they don’t have this info, there is no way to reach you after you’ve left the website.
We’re going to do the same. But in order to entice your visitor to share his or her contact details, you are going to give him something valuable to him. You are going to bribe him with information. I like to call this an Ethical Bribe. (I wrote a whole book on the topic.)
Once they’ve shared their contact details to get the bribe, you’re going to send them the information that you promised them, and you are also going to add them to a mailing list.
Now, inside your bribe, you will educate them on their problem. And you can hold their hands and guide them to the next step which is a call with you. You might call this a discovery session, a strategy session, or any other name that makes sense to your business. But, let’s say they don’t take you up on your offer, now what?
Remember we added the contact to a mailing list? Well, if they have not taken any action, you are going to send them a series of emails that are valuable to them. This is known as the nurture sequence, and in each email, you will once again prompt them to have a call with you.
Once your sequence is over, you can still contact them regularly by sending out a newsletter where you share valuable information relevant to them. As long as you’re adding value, your contacts are going welcome you in their inbox. Each time, you would also sell your services, but you’d do it with grace, not like a used-car salesman…
Eventually, if your prospect believes that you can solve their problem, they will take your offer for a call. During the call, your goal is to understand their problem fully, once you have then you can propose a solution for this problem. Assuming you’ve done everything right, your prospect will finally become your client.
What I’ve just described is known as a Sales Funnel in the marketing world. And it’s a step by step process where you take someone from stranger to becoming a client.
The Service Business Blueprint is an effective sales funnel that has been adapted for freelancers and consultants. And in order to be effective, the steps need to be carefully planned. We cannot leave anything to chance.