Fishing For Clients
Sales, we all like to say we are not in sales, but everyone is in sales, without sales we have no revenue.
Admitting we need to sell not only makes it easier to commit, we actually believe we need to sell, and in order to do that effectively, we need to believe in ourselves, our products and our services.
When we start a new business we are either very naive or very confident, either way neither of those things will bring you the clients you need. Unless of course you know how to use confidence or being new in business to your benefit.
Confidence is perfect when being in business, but sometimes trips us up. We may be perceived as a know-it all and someone who thinks they can help their target market, without even knowing the solution they are looking for.
I remember someone chasing me around an event a few years ago, and when that person eventually caught up with me, his exact words were “I can help you, because I know a guy who lives in xxxxxxx and I want to introduce him to you, because HE can help you“. Really? I asked this person which business he thought he, or his friend, could help me with, that’s when a look of puzzlement came over his face. He looked blank! You want to know why? He had no idea what business I was in, how many businesses I operated, he was just picking on everyone at the event “fishing” for referrals for his friend.
Your Fishing Tackle, as I am calling it for the purpose of this post, is everything you are using to sell. Your business cards, your message, your personality, how you connect, everything you do. This guy obviously just used his fishing experience to try to attract any fish in the sea, not caring who they were or if he knew what business they operated. He walked away with no fish caught that night!
What Bait Are You Using?
Once again using fishing as an example, what kind of bait do you use when looking for new clients?
I always advise my clients to have a well established foundation for their business before they even start to sell. This foundation consists of many things but a few examples would be:
- A brand that will become memorable, recognized and showcases credibility. This is one of the first steps to building the trust.
- An online presence, and this would include content you post, as well as you having established yourself on the social media platforms you enjoy and know how to use.
- A trusted network of people from all walks of life.
The above is condensed down for the purpose of this post, but it will give you an idea where to start.
When I ask “what bait are you using” the short list above are great examples of bait that works. Once you have an established brand people will be easier to reel in, when you are fishing. Your brand equals trust, because people will understand who you are, what you do, and what you can do to assist them.
Trust is essential when in business, so the online presence, the connections and relationships built, are also forms of bait that will encourage your clients to come to you for the solution they are looking for.
If you are using bait that does not catch any “fishes”, clients in this case, that could be because you are rushing the process. You have not built a brand, trust, or valued connections. Basically you are looking for the fish that are swimming elsewhere and being caught by clever fishermen who know the best way to entice clients to come to them.
Best Practices When Fishing For Clients
- Know the solution your clients are looking for.
- Build trust and credibility before looking for sales.
- Get to know your target market, strangers tend to run when they see you coming.
- When networking get to know your connections, help each other.
- Become an influencer in your own community, your brand will become recognized.
- Give back.
- Always follow up and say Thank You.
- Never over promise and under deliver.
If You Are a Fish?
Without clients we have no business. We are probably going to go out of business, and the investment in our time and the financial investment all get’s washed away.
As a “Fish”, a would be client, you are important to us. We need you. But you also have to be careful when deciding to work with a business:
- Do your due diligence, research the person who is offering you a solution.
- Ask for testimonials from previous clients.
- When someone refers a friend, the above two points still count.
- Make sure everything is in writing to ensure no misunderstandings.
- If you are price conscious be honest with the person who you want to work with.
Going Home With a Great Catch
To continue the analogy of “fishing” I will leave you with this thought.
Whether you are a client or a business hoping to sell to your target market, we should all be in this for the right reasons.
Sadly many people think that we can be in business and not charge – in which case where would be live, how would we eat?
Another sad fact is some business owners think that catching their fish, making a sale is THE END!
Obviously some new businesses and some established businesses can offer their service/products for free, for many reasons. Giving back, or a way to gain testimonials, but no business can survive by giving everything away for FREE, it is impossible.
But, when the sale is made, the contract is signed, that is not the end of it. The customer deserves the best, the very best customer service, products an services they are paying for and excellent follow up.
It’s a two way street. Loyal clients will refer you, but only if you did excellent work, and your products don’t let them down.