2 ways to create great clients

Tired of waiting for great clients to show up? Create them instead. Here’s how…

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In this newsletter, I’m going to lay out two approaches to converting interested leads into clients.

But first, we’ll look at an idea that will hopefully change how you see marketing for the better.

Let’s dive in…

Think about the millions who make visiting Disney World a once-in-a-lifetime holiday.

Or the people who used to line up outside Apple for a new iPhone. The hikers who wear Patagonia. The coffee drinkers who buy locally roasted, single-origin beans.

These buyers seem born for those companies.

For coaches and consultants, it’s no different. Some companies and individuals seem to magnetically attract clients.

But no one is born a Tony Robbins or BCG fan. No one was born loving Rolex or Patagonia.

These buyers were created.

From giants like AirBnB to one-or-two-person operations, successful businesses around the world understand that customers and clients are created, not born. And that’s what effective marketing does – it create clients.

​But how do you, as a service provider, do that?

You have two options. 

​The first is an old-school, linear approach perfected by direct marketers. The second is a newer, non-linear way of marketing.

​I’m going to explain both and then make a recommendation with practical steps.

I hired my first business coach, Amy Posner, 4 years ago.

​I was stuck, needed help and I finally decided to buy my way out. I’d never hired a coach before and saw this as a calculated risk. I was a cautious buyer.

​Within 20 minutes of that first call, I was a client. I was 100% on board with hiring Amy again, which I did.

​That first call made me a client. The sale came first and the conversion came second.

Strategy: Make a sale for the opportunity to create a client. In direct marketing, this is usually done with a low-cost entry offer that wows the buyer so they believe you can deliver on your more expensive services.

​Now, let’s look at a quite different approach.

This is an idea I first came across from André Chaperon.

​His argument goes something like this…

​Treat people like clients before they pay you. Provide amazing and highly-relevant value on your site and in your free resources. Build a world they can explore where they can discover if you are a good fit for them and where your expertise and value is apparent. 

​Do that properly and those people will be on board with who you are, what you do and what you charge before they even reach out to you. You are pre-sold.

​That’s what McKinsey does (just look at how much high-quality free content they publish). It’s what Seth Godin and Brené Brown do as well. This is the world of great content marketing.

Strategy: Create your clients before the sale by delivering content that establishes your expertise, relevance and value.

Many businesses pick one approach or the other, and that often depends on how comfortable they are with the S word (selling). 

​But most small businesses do neither. They pick option c; you hope there are enough potential clients in enough paid to be motivated to go looking for you. Please don’t do that.

​Instead just pick one strategy you can fully commit to.

​If your existing lead flow is underdelivering, then focus on putting a system in place that gets leads quickly = a sales-first strategy. 

​If you have a reasonable lead flow and you want to up the quality as well as quantity of leads, then focus on the pre-sale conversion.

​Here are two quick outlines of how that might work for you…

Create an offer around a specific service you can deliver in person in a short amount of time. That might be a problem analysis/audit, a procedural review, creating a personal plan of action, etc.

​Put as low a price on that as you can that doesn’t make you look bargain basement. Don’t offer that for free either unless to a particular client who is worth that kind of investment. Offering free time to unqualified leads will yield poor results.

​Lastly, make sure what you offer naturally leads to your main offer.

​The next step is to market your offer. This approach is a good candidate for paid traffic (ads), to promote on your social media and to your list.

This is the long-term play to create a client before the sale.

​Identify a problem your ideal leads have that they could solve on their own if they had your knowledge and expertise. For example, a checklist or framework that speeds up or improves part of their process.

​Make sure the problem you are helping them solve is directly related to the main service you provide.

​Create a high-quality resource that solves that problem. This is your lead-magnet and you’ll give it away for free in exchange for an email address. Make sure it is only relevant to your ideal clients as you only want to attract qualified leads.

​Build a relationship with your list. Deliver quality content that focuses on helping them and not promoting you.

If you’re thinking, that sounds like a lot of work, you’re right.

I only have three days a week for my client work. The rest is admin and marketing. But my marketing means I get to work with clients I like, on projects I’m excited about and for fees that justify my marketing efforts.

The business of business is getting clients and marketing is how that happens. 

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