You’ve written a description of your ideal client which includes who they are, what they (and YOU) want, and where they are. Check
You’ve made the 6 lists that I described in the previous post. Check
I’ll repeat them for you. They are:
- everyone I know who fits my criteria for my ideal client
- all the connectors I know
- where I can find my ideal clients offline
- where I can find them online
- my dream lunch list and
- my referral partner list
You now know who they are and where they are. What do you do next?
10 Tips to read BEFORE you reach out to the people on your lists
Before you begin calling, read the following pointers. You may know some of them already but as a newly minted entrepreneur, they need to become second nature to you – part of your “marketing mindset”.
1. The first thing to remember is that none of the calls you are making now are cold calls. You’ve made lists of people you already know so every call is a warm call. You may never have to do any cold calling if you get your clients as referrals from people you know (and know you and your work) or from existing clients of yours.
2. When asking your connectors (the second list you made) for introductions to your target clients say thank you after they’ve given them to you and ore importantly – ask them what you can do for them in return! It could be an introduction to a potential client for them. What do they need that is meaningful for them? Offering to give back is a simple thing, but it’s rare that people offer. And of course, be sure to follow through.
3. When you reach out to target clients (after an email introduction from one of your connectors) to book meetings, ensure that your message ALWAYS includes three things – the name of who suggested you meet with them, a WIIFC (what’s in it for the client – them) and a promise to share your or their insights and ideas (requesting to JUST learn about their business is passé).
4. Become a “Trusted Advisor” at EVERY step of the sales process (and every step of the client’s BUYING process). Although the term “Trusted Advisor” may be over-used it is probably the most important “way of being” for you if you want to build a thriving business as a consultant, coach or service-based entrepreneur. A Trusted Advisor is one who develops rich meaningful and trusting relationships with their clients and is always adding value and insights. Being a Trusted Advisor means your clients will always come to you first for your particular expertise AND will refer you to others.
5. Do things that make you and the service you offer so valuable to them that they call you first whenever they need you AND refer you to others.
6. DON’T SELL!!! Think about these phrases – sell to and buy from. How does each one make you feel? Building relationships and exceeding expectations by adding value means that they “buy from” you and therefore you’re never seen as selling.
7. Amp up your skills for having deep, rich and consultative discussions with your prospective and existing clients. Listen closely to what they’re saying. Ask open ended and thoughtful questions. Keep asking questions until you get to your client’s underlying “trigger motivator” which will always relate to their 3 P’s – Passion, Purpose or Problem. You’ll know when you’ve hit their “trigger motivator” because the energy will shift as you’ve found the gateway into what’s most important to them.
8. You’re face to face in a meeting with your ideal client. Think of dating. You don’t jump from the first date to marriage. So don’t create a proposal after your first meeting. Don’t add pressure to them or to you in this discovery meeting. You just want to get to know them and start to build a relationship.
You want to meet with them again so use different methods for continuing the discussion such as “discussion documents” which are a summary of what you heard them say and include several questions to talk about.
9. To ensure that you’re not seen as “selling”, only provide a proposal when they’re ready to buy. How will you know? They’ll tell you!
10 When you’re ready to write a proposal remember the adage that “less is more”. You know from experience in the corporate world that people turn to the pricing page so keep them reading your whole proposal before they do.
Focus on the benefits to them and the WIIFC. Use addenda for the support documents.
Final thoughts to think about
You’re taking a big step when you start your own business and you’ve already done something right – you’re reading this post! You can also download my “101 Ways To Create Your Dream Consulting_Business Check List” if you haven’t already. Here are six more tips from that document.
Know that selling “yourself” can feel uncomfortable at first, even if you have been in a sales role before! Everyone goes through this. This discomfort will shift when you “get” that it’s not about you, but about the value you’re providing and the results they’ll get when working with you.
In my next post I’ll tell you some things to do and to have in your toolkit to build your brand and your profile as an expert.
Got tips for having great conversations with clients? Tell me.