“How do you acquire ideal clients whilst maintaining respect, authority and status?”
This is the question I asked a business coach recently.
He’s a highly-skilled operator but when it comes to self-promotion, he was sometimes hesitant. His view seemed to be that ‘if people need my services, they can seek me out’. Hiding your light under a bushel may be fine in times of plenty but when things tighten the flaw in this argument is fully exposed.
Here is today’s reality.
A lot of highly skilled operators are finding the going tough, especially since COVID. Online methods have become more prominent whilst traditional methods such as offline networking have receded into the background. Some established networks have fractured thereby denying practitioners the ability to gain influence and build advocacy, whilst those who have tried to embrace online methods have failed dismally.
But it gets worse.
Many service-based businesses are increasingly being relegated to the ranks of commoditized businesses with huge downward pressure on fees and margins.
In a highly volatile world, more shocks are likely. For instance, predatory actions taken by authoritarian kleptocracies such as Russia and China are likely to increase.
Higher inflation will result in significant increases in interest rates this year and of course, another deadly COVID variant could be around the corner.
When it comes to growing a business, this is no time to take a passive approach. Whilst there are many threats, there are also plenty of opportunities too. Now is the time to make changes in your business; changes that you may have been putting off for longer than you care to remember.
If you have too many B & C class clients do something about it: resolve to reduce or eliminate them. If things deteriorate, these clients are more likely to jump ship anyway as they search for a lower-cost service.
Besides, the lower profitability associated with these clients may reduce your ability to accumulate adequate cash reserves. Just as squirrels hoard nuts in times of plenty we must do likewise because we never know when the cold winds will start blowing again.
And the best way to do that is to sort out your marketing issues so you have a steady stream of quality candidates for your top-shelf services package.
If your client acquisition strategy is more reactive than proactive, resolve to do something about it.
Here is how we solve some of these problems for service-based business owners:
Website Mod 1. Optimize for Conversions
This could include a fast-loading site, a compelling offer with a strong Call to Action on the home page, a strong benefit promise on the home page, and kick butt social proof (client success stories etc).
Website Mod 2. Optimize for Authority
Methods used could include Case Studies, enhanced testimonials (not standard testimonials – enhance them with editorial, pics, headline etc.), membership of professional associations, and brand logos of companies you’ve helped. Another piece of content you can include on the home page is what I call ‘Make a Case’.
Make your case so people sit up and take notice. Avoid cliches and industry jargon like the plague. Instead share insights, problems, the effect of not taking action on them, and the Cold Winds (threats that are heading their way). Then show the reader how you make the pain go away with your perfect solution.
Website Mod 3. Optimize for the Search Engines
Space constraints preclude me from discussing this topic in this post. That said, you can refer to my previous post for an in-depth coverage of the main strategies for local type business: How to Use Local SEO To Rank Your Business in the Search Engines
LinkedIn Profile 1. The Basics
Optimize for Conversions. This includes the header pic, the Summary, the About Section and the Recommendations section. See your profile as another way to generate leads. If you plan to use LinkedIn in your marketing, optimizing your profile is essential.
LinkedIn Profile 1. Recommendations
Add some to your LinkedIn profile. The best way to do that is to ask some of your happy clients to add a nice endorsement on your LinkedIn profile page.
Create Case Studies
Create two to three case studies based on the detailed positive experiences of a handful of your best customers.
Create Your Ideal Client Profile (ICP)
You need to be crystal clear about your ideal client avatar. Ask this question: What keeps them awake at night? But go further than this: what about the problems they don’t even know they have? Have you done that foundational work yet? You need to get this stuff sorted. Without this vital information how can you create a potent messaging strategy? You can’t.
Define Your Value Proposition
Why should I buy your product or service? Tell me in a way that goes beyond the typical response from undifferentiated service providers. It needs to be more than ‘fast, friendly, service’ and other mind-numbing cliches. That will not cut it in the hyper cynical online marketplace of today – they’ve heard it before and are NOT impressed.
The first step is to grab my free report…..
How to Use Case Studies to Attract Perfect Clients (Who Pay You More Money)