10 Ways For Client-Based Businesses To Land New ClientsFeb 20, 2023
If your business thrives off clients, then this blog is for you. Whether you’re a real estate agent, wedding planner, interior designer, coach, or anything in-between, if your business is finding new clients, then you know how much of a struggle it can feel like sometimes.
If you can’t find new clients for your business, then you’ll be reliant on the ones you already have, which means your business will begin to stagnate and eventually drop off. After working with client-based businesses for over 3 years, we’ve identified the top 10 ways you can start to gain new clients for your business.
Hands down one of the best ways that you can gain new clients from your business is to be referred by someone else that has worked with you in the past. You can say how amazing your business is and the results it can get to someone, but when a friend of theirs says it, they’re much more likely to believe it and in turn, take action.
When we work with client-based businesses, the big thing we notice right from the jump is that they’re going about getting clients in a completely backward way. What do I mean by this?
Usually, they come to us complaining that they’re not getting enough clients, and instead of reaching out to their inner circle (close friends, family, etc.), they’re doing things like posting on social media (usually inconsistently) or sending cold emails.
The problem with doing this is that if you haven’t built up enough social proof and/or people don’t know who you are, you’re likely to get few to no responses. The goal of gaining clients is to work from the inside out, not from the outside moving inward.
Start with the people that you know the most. Ask them if they need the service that you offer, and if they do not, tell them if they know anyone in their network that does now or down the road, you’d love it if they’d pass your name along.
This is how we built our agency to multiple 6-figures . . . by simply doing this one thing.
After referrals, I would say that this is the next best way to gain clients for your services. When you think about it, it makes total sense because of the trust factor that we as people have for others.
When we can’t see someone and we’re talking to them about their services (phone call, social media, etc.) we’re much less likely to trust them than if they’re standing right across from us at a networking event.
Networking events are great because they allow you to build relationships with other business owners in your community, collaborate if it makes sense, but most importantly, these events can help you scale your business and quickly.
Whenever we go to a networking event, we typically come out of it with anywhere from 5-10 leads for our agency, and usually end up booking 2-3 new clients . . . all from a 1-2 hour event! You might be asking yourself, “But how do you do that?”
We do it by offering free value right there on the spot. So we’ll give our elevator pitch saying who we are, who we help, and how we do it. Usually, 50-75% of people will respond with something like, “I could sure use some help with that.”
When they say that, we will take a look at their stuff right there on the spot. I might say something like, “I’ve got a couple of minutes, why don’t you show me your social media accounts.” Or something like, “I don’t mind taking a look at your ad if you’ve got a minute?”
I’ll take a look at whatever it is, usually notice 2-3 things very quickly that could use some work, and I’ll let them know: “I see what you’re saying, there are definitely a few things we could fix here that would get you _____ result. Why don’t we do this: let’s set up a call when we’ve got more time, and we can go into further details.”
9/10 people book that call because I took the time to look at their stuff ahead of time and gave it before I ever asked. This can work with any client-based business. Say you’re a fitness professional, you could ask them about their workout routine and/or diet. If you’re a real estate agent, you could ask them more about their home if they’re looking to sell or questions about what they’re looking for in a home if they’re buying.
The goal is to ask questions, give value, then hop on a call with them to discuss what you find out in further detail.
Building An Online Presence
This one to me is a non-negotiable, and it’s not just because it lands you clients, but because it separates you as a professional and gives you social proof. For this example, I’m going to use real estate agents.
One of our biggest niches as far as clientele goes is real estate agents, so it’s far to say that we look at thousands of social media accounts for real estate agents. I can safely say that 99% of them make the real estate look very unprofessional, or even worse, it makes it look like they might not even be a real estate agent at all.
There are two reasons this is bad: first, if you’re thinking that you’re going to get leads for clients with social media accounts and marketing that is unprofessionally done, then you really need to understand how people work.
Most client-based businesses cost a decent amount of money, and there are simply too many options out there for someone to spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars on someone that doesn’t look like a professional.
Second, say something finds you locally, or sees something online about you and decides to go do some of their own research on you. What would you want them to see if they land on your social media? Someone whose branding looks great and content is on point . . . or someone that looks like they treat their social media and marketing as an afterthought?
I’m going to give you a stat and let it sink in: over 60% of millennials and gen-z research a brand/business on social media before making a purchasing decision.
That means over half of the people that come into contact with you and your business are going to go “fact check you” when it comes to your social media, website, etc. Now that you know this, make sure you take the time to prioritize these things, because like I said, not only will it bring you leads, but when people go to check on you and your business, they’ll be impressed by what they see.
Obviously, if your business is brand new, you might not have money to spend on paid advertising, but if you’ve been in business for more than a year, there’s no reason (in my opinion) that you shouldn’t be taking 5-15% of your monthly revenue and putting it back into paid advertising.
Now paid advertising can mean a bunch of different things. It can be anything from Facebook Ads to Google Ads to billboards in your local area. All of them work if they’re done right, it just depends on what makes the most sense for you and your business.
The reason why paid advertising is so effective is that instead of things like networking and social media where you’re HOPING that you get a chance to get in front of your ideal audience, paid advertising GUARANTEES that you will.
If you want to scale your business from 6 figures to 7-figures, then you’re going to have to do some form of paid advertising. It’s simply the best way to get in front of your ideal audience and expedite the process of gaining leads and sales from them.
The best strategy involves gaining clients in the short-term (ads, networking, etc.) combined with a way of gaining brand awareness and clients in the long term (website, social media, email marketing).
What that strategy looks like for every business will be different, just know that if you’re NOT using some form of paid advertising, I can promise you that your competition is.
Providing Excellent Customer Service
This may seem like a no-brainer, but if it was, then every company and business would have all 5-star reviews on Google and Yelp. Listen, it’s not easy as a client-based business to land clients on a consistent basis, so the last thing you want to do is all the hard work of getting clients only to give them bad customer service.
Typically, when we see client-based business owners get bad reviews or complaints about their service, it happens in one of three areas:
- Before landing the client
- While you’re working together
- After you conclude working with them
When it comes to giving great customer service BEFORE landing the client, this means doing things like answering email inquiries, returning calls, and showing up to things when you commit to them.
These all seem like common sense things but I see comments on businesses' social media all the time saying, “You never answered my DM,” or, “I sent you an email a week ago inquiring about pricing.”
When this occurs, it not only makes people not want to work with you, but it makes you look bad to the next person that comes across your content and your business. Make sure that you (or staff) readily answer these DM’s, emails, etc. because those are potential leads being pushed toward a competitor.
When it comes to offering great customer service during the time you work with your clients, it really comes down to setting expectations when you’re working with them. Let them know:
- What the process looks like working with you
- What result(s) they should expect to see
- What sort of guidance they will get
There are plenty more, but you get the idea. A lot of negative experiences could be avoided if the business owner simply went over these expectations, especially in the beginning.
When your clients know what to expect, what the process will look like, and get their problem solved, then every client experience turns into a positive one.
When you’re done working with clients, the problem we typically see is that the result they were looking to get wasn’t met, and they leave working with someone feeling like something was missing.
Whether it’s because they still have questions, they didn’t get the full result, or anything in-between, some expectation of theirs wasn’t met and it can leave them upset. This is why following up with your clients after the fact simply to make sure that they received the result that they were looking for can have a huge impact on how they viewed your customer service overall.
Offering promotions is a great way to land new clients, especially ones that aren’t familiar with your business and its services. For example, say you’re a trainer, instead of making people pay full price, a lot of gyms give you a free training session. Why do they do this?
They do it so you can see what it would look to work with a trainer and give you some value for free ahead of time. Real estate agents do this when will appraise someone’s home at no cost. Wedding planners do this when they give a potential client a free quote.
Really any client-based business has the potential of doing this, and you can even offer a promotional discount instead of a free service. Maybe you offer first-time customers a 20% discount on your services, or if your service is ongoing on, offer a client a free month after 6 months with you (training, for example).
Promotions are so common because they’ve been proven to work time and time again. If you’re struggling to land clients on a consistent basis, then take a look at your business and think about some different promotions that you might be able to offer potential clients that get them to take action.
Collaborations & Strategic Partnerships
Collaborations and partnerships are so great because they allow you to receive an introduction to someone else’s audience while also gaining instant credibility. When someone introduces you to their audience, you can instantly trust them because that person is essentially vouching for you and what it is you do.
This is so powerful because where you’d have to run ads to gain such a massive presence so quickly, you get to do so without having to spend at all. Collaborations can come in many different forms, but the most common are ones that happen on social media.
Here is a list of some ideas you can implement when it comes to collaborations:
- Social media lives
- Short-form videos
- Profile takeover
Collaborations are a great way to gain brand awareness quickly for your business. Strategic partnerships are also a great way to combine your business with another business that is synergistic in nature.
What I mean by this is if you’re a real estate agent, you can partner with an interior designer and have them stage the house you’re showing, and when people ask about the furniture/decor during the buying process, you refer your friend.
Strategic partnerships like this should be built as soon as you start your business. Right now I want you to think about what other businesses complement yours. Whatever answers you come up with your goal should be to network with those business owners and establish relationships with business owners that excel in what they do right away.
That way, you can both refer business to each other and establish that professional relationship. If you have 5-10 businesses that complement yours, that’s 5-10 other businesses that you’re vouching for and that are vouching for you to their audience. This is just as powerful as referrals and a great way to build your business locally.
Attend Conferences/Trade Shows/Events
We make it a point to attend as many live events/conferences as we possibly can because this is one of the best ways to network. Especially if your clients are another business, then conferences and events can be a great way to gain leads and land clients for your business.
Some business owners feel awkward talking about their business in their everyday social life, but at conferences, it’s welcomed and expected. Conferences are a great idea especially if you go to one that’s specifically for a group of business owners, and those business owners need your services.
An example is we have a client that’s an accountant who works with fitness professionals. She goes to fitness conferences all the time and lands clients every single time she does because what business owner doesn’t need an accountant?
Conferences are great as well because they show people who are willing to invest in themselves and their businesses. Unfortunately, there are a lot of business owners that think they can “piece together” a million-dollar business with freebies, blogs, and YouTube videos.
And while that might be true for a VERY SMALL percentage, the business owners that attend events and conferences understand that if you want to give yourself a greater chance at success, you invest in yourself and your business by learning directly from the people that have done it.
Host Your Own Event
Maybe you’re saying, “That’s great about events and conferences guys, but there really isn’t anything going on in my area that I can plug into.” If that’s the case, then why not be the one that starts one?
If you live in an area that doesn’t have events for local business owners, I can promise you that you’re not the only one sitting there wishing someone would do something about it . . . and why not that someone be you?
We have a friend in our area that couldn’t find any events that she liked in the area, so she decided to start her own with a friend of hers. Fast-forward three months later, and their networking group gets an average of 50 people attending every time they do one.
She saw that a need wasn’t being fulfilled and decided to do something about it. The result has been that people in her industry (real estate) attend but also other niches and industries that she can collaborate with and do business with.
Running your own events might take more work, but when you do, you’re looked at as the ultimate authority because you run the group. You can also get help from your business friends in your network if you have some in the area to make it easier.
I left this one for last because I think it’s the most difficult way to land clients for your business. When you’re doing cold outreach, you’re already putting yourself in a tough position because you’re emailing/calling someone that has not specifically asked you to.
This can lead to a lot of negative interactions, upset people, and bad reviews for you and your business IF it’s not done correctly. Cold outreach isn’t for the faint at heart, but there are correct ways to do it.
The WRONG way to do it is to copy/paste an email that sounds generic, then proceed to send it to 10,000 people hoping that you’re going to get someone to respond. Most of the time, all you’ll get back is some very angry responses filled with less-than-nice words.
However, if you take the time to personally curate your cold outreach based on who you’re talking to, you’ll have a lot better luck. Yes, this will take longer than clicking a button and sending 10,000 emails, but when you show in the email that you’ve actually taken the time to learn about the person and their needs, you’re much more likely to get a positive outcome.
I’ve tested this both ways. I’m ashamed to say I’ve done the 10,000 emails thing and the percent that ended up booking a call was less than 1%, which is about 100. Out of those 100 about 1 would end up working with us. Some people might say, “That’s not bad for just clicking . . .”
However, when I did my research beforehand, found out more about the person, their business, and some specific ways I could help, for every 100 I send, about 25-35% book, meaning that 25-35 book a call. Out of those, usually 5-7 end up working with us in some capacity.
So while it took more work on the front end, on the back end my conversion rate was much higher because each email was personalized, listed their issues, and talked about a specific solution.
If you’re thinking of going the cold outreach route, just know that it pays to do more work on the front end. People will appreciate it more, and you’re much more likely to get a response and ultimately, land leads and clients for your business.
The thing to remember is that there is no shortage of ways for you to land leads and clients for your business, which is good news! The thing to figure out is 1-2 ways that work for you and your business, then hit them hard.
Don’t worry about the others, just perfect those 1-2 ways, and you’ll have more leads and clients than you can handle on your own!
If you’re not sure what ways are best for you and your business, or you’re simply struggling to land leads and clients, then we’d like to help! Click HERE and book a free call with us, and we’ll take a look at your business and figure out a way to land your next client free of charge!