Marketing is typically a long game… so what do you do when you just need a few more clients?
Every entrepreneur I know has a panic story… a moment when the money ran out and the projects ended… and it wasn’t easy to determine what was next. A moment when desperation seemed like the only marketing strategy available. Can you relate? We all can.
In this moment, it’s tempting to discount your work or create a “quick new offer” that just might generate enough money to get you through to the next project. We get distracted, we get stressed out, and we struggle.
Let’s break out of that cycle, okay? The next time you find yourself in a panic situation, I want you to follow this plan to get yourself a few more clients.
Step one :: Create a simple marketing conversation.
Marketing is – at its core – a conversation between you and your potential clients. The purpose of the conversation is to make your potential clients aware of a problem, define the problem and the solution, and present yourself and your work as the ideal solution for them. When you break it down, this simple conversation has four main elements:
- You have a problem – identify the problem in a way that they can understand and feel emotionally.
- Define the problem – make sure the potential client knows that this problem can be solved. It’s not something they have to tolerate or ignore.
- This is the solution – define the solution in a way that aligns it with your work.
- I have the solution – talk about your work and the aspects of your business that make you the right person to solve this problem for them.
Now, make sure you don’t complicate things. Keep it super simple… and focus on your main offering. For example – let’s say I operate a food cart in your neighborhood. My marketing conversation might go like this:
- Hey there! You look really hungry. (You have a problem.)
- Feeling hungry isn’t any fun! (Define the problem.)
- What you need is a big juicy street taco. (This is the solution.)
- I have one right here, ready to go. (I have the solution.)
In our example, you’re probably drooling and reaching for your wallet, right? Unless you don’t like street tacos, in which case I’m not the right food cart for you. I may need to give you a call to action (such as “Want it? $5”) but you’re prepared to say yes. All that’s left is the transaction.
Time for you to take action » Think about your main offer and map out a super simple conversation. Don’t overthink it. It will work better if it’s super clear.
Step two :: Make a list of people for your conversation.
Once you have your basic conversation ready to go, it’s time to figure out who you need to talk with to get results. Don’t freeze… this isn’t like making a list of friends and relatives to hound on Facebook when your child is selling candy bars to go to band camp. (Oh, maybe that’s just my story… sorry ‘bout that.) You’re not going to be pushy or manipulative. You’re just going to talk to people.
So, make a list of people who…
- Worked with you in the past 12 months and might need more of your magic or…
- Have contacted you in the past but for some reason weren’t quite ready yet or…
- Know you in some way and also have the problem you solve or…
- You know really well (like family or close friends) but who don’t have a clue what you do.
Prioritize the same way I have above… meaning people in the first group I listed rank higher than those in the second group I listed and so on.
Step three :: Contact people and have a conversation.
Contact the people on your list, in order of priority, and share your conversation with them in a casual way. What do I mean by casual? Send a quick email. Grab the phone and call. Talk to them while you wait for that same kid to get out of band practice.
What do you say? Well… use the conversation you mapped out and let it guide you.
Email the former client and say something like this:
Hi Joe. Thought of you today… when we were working on your project, you mentioned [insert problem or situation]. That problem is pretty easy to solve by [insert solution]. I’ve got a few openings in my schedule right now. Should we get together and talk? I’d love to work with you again if you’re ready. Michelle
Email those who contacted you in the past but weren’t quite ready and remind them of your previous conversation. Talk about the problem and the solution. Then, just let them know you have an opening and ask them if they would like to hop on a quick call.
See what I’m doing here? I’m taking that simple conversation and putting it in the context of the relationship.
Remind those who know you about the problem you solve (using the conversation you’ve mapped out) and just talk about your work. Make your close friends and family referral partners for you… just by getting them excited about your work.
Step four :: Be consistently persistent.
The first three steps of this plan are extremely effective… if you work them. But you have to be consistent… and you have to be persistent. You can’t give in to panic or give up when you get a negative response.
Here are some things to remember…
- The first few conversations will feel awkward. The next few will feel less awkward. After that you’ll get more comfortable. But it will never be easy.
- Many people will not be interested or not be ready yet. You’ll get a “no” answers. That’s normal. In fact, you should expect it.
- You only need a few new projects. If everyone on your list was ready to work with you and wanted to book a project, you’d be really overwhelmed. Just one “yes” is enough.
You might get discouraged. You might get distracted by a desire to do something that has worked for someone else. You might feel tempted to complain about your situation on social media or bury your head in the sand and watch Netflix. Resist all of this and force yourself to consistently take small and persistent action.
Decide to contact five people on your list each day… or three people on the list each week… or one person today and one person tomorrow. Decide on the action you’ll take and then take it consistently… and keep taking this same action until you get that first yes.
Marketing is typically a long game, but you can speed up the results by being intentional and consistent.
Following the steps I’ve outlined will allow you to jump-start your marketing efforts and find new clients in the short term by leveraging existing relationships. Will it be easy? Not really… marketing always feels a little uncomfortable when you’re just getting started. But, stick with it. Consistent, intentional marketing is the path to predictable revenue in your business.