Over the years of working with new entrepreneurs, or ‘soloprenuers’, I’ve noticed the one major struggle they have is building their client base. Unfortunately I see too many entrepreneurs unsure on how or where to start connecting with people. They rely on this idea that clients will magically find them through their website or social medial pages alone and then get discouraged when they are not getting busier. This discouragement then turns into an idea of failure or not being capable of growing their business.
I believe that growing your clientele base can shift rapidly if you put a few of these key ideas and concepts in place and you repeated them daily.
- It’s not networking. It’s not marketing. It’s Relationships.
You are in the Relationship business. If you provide personal services to people, you are in the business of building relationships. When I made this mental shift everything for me changed. Why? Because the way we build and establish relationships with people is much more of a natural process then how we “market” our services.
When we seek to build a lasting relationship with people we are more genuine. We are interested in the other person, their needs and interests, and we are seeking to build a long-lasting connection.
This perspective that we are looking to build a relationship with someone makes all the other concepts easy. You are invested in another person just as much as they are invested in you.
- It’s not about sales- it’s about service.
This is the second single most important piece I can share about building your clientele base. It’s not about sales, it’s about service. What I mean by that is: you must always enter with the intention of being of service to another. How can you help serve that person in their growth, in their business, in their life. This type of approach comes from the heart, it is genuine and receptive. It is natural for people to want to do the same and give back. When you come from a place of service you will be surprised at the doors that begins to open.
- Don’t complicate it. Start with who you know.
We sometimes over look the value of the people that are already in our circle. Our family, our friends, and our co-workers. We are quick to put out judgment as to what they will think, or that they are tired of hearing about what we do, or they don’t know anyone to share with. When in reality, they are already your biggest fan.
Ask family and friends for ideas they might have, or people they may know that might need your services.
Reach out to friends that you may have lost a connection to or haven’t seen or talked to in a while. Schedule a coffee and simply catch up. Learn about what is going on in their life. Seek out ways that you can help them in any way. Remember we are in the business of creating relationships!
- Get Intentional
You must be intentional in the type of clientele that you want to build. Be clear on how many clients you need to not only be sustainable, but successful and stress free. Before that idea gets you overwhelmed, back up and let it start out in your mind. Use the morning to envision a full schedule. See happy faces on your clients. Envision yourself feeling joyful and at ease with your day. This technique so often gets over looked but, in my opinion, is one of the most important. It starts with you. You are the creator of your life and fully responsible for how it unfolds. The first step to creation is to see it in your mind. Feel it in your body. Try creating a morning routine or process around this every day!
- Follow Up and Follow Through
This might be one of the most challenging ones of all. Following up and following through. I know that in my years in business this is always a skill that I am working on. One thing that is most helpful is to create a simple process, or rule, to follow every time you meet with someone. A few things that I like to do are send personal ‘Thank You’ or ‘Thinking About You’ cards, personalized emails following up with something that was going on in their life, or simply reaching out to let them know you are still around if they ever need help with anything.
Don’t put a judgement on someone if they don’t get back to you or sign up for your service right away. Remember building a relationship takes time, it takes patience, and it takes commitment.
Here are a few ideas that make follow up easier:
- Ask when a good timeframe might be to follow up.
- Ask what the best way is they would like to be contacted, by phone, text, email or maybe even in person or a meeting.
- Continue to seek ways that you can help them, sending client referrals to them, or other ways to support their business. You can offer to read a blog post, help them move, promote an event they are doing. Invest in your clients!
Remember no matter what business you are in you are in the business of building relationships. If you focused on that one thing and one thing only, you would be successful! So get out there and start creating relationships with the clients that you want and watch your business bloom