I’m annoyed that there’s a ton of advice for finding clients out there that’s completely contradictory. Everything from “build your Twitter following and engage!” (whatever that means) to “buy 10,000 business cards and pass them out at your local library!”
Nobody can give you a clear, concise answer about how to find people who might be willing to pay for your services. This has always been a bit strange for me, because to be honest, the client-getting process always happened naturally in my world.
It seems like everybody is overlooking the most powerful strategy of all. It has nothing to do with social media, or cold calling, or even “networking.” You can do it right now. Today. And it’s free.
This strategy will take you from “nobody knows about me” to “people won’t stop calling me.”
It’ll take you from wondering if you can make it in your field, to actively turning down people because you’re overwhelmed and just need a day to binge-watch Stranger Things on Netflix.
And nobody talks about it because it’s so damn simple that it just seems obvious. But I bet you’re not doing it.
That strategy is conversation.
100 Meaningful Conversations.
Whether your business has already seen a bit of success or if you’ve only landed one client so far, let me ask you this: where did that deal take place?
The answer: inside of a conversation.
Whether it was in person, over the phone or via email, no deal has ever been made outside of a conversation.
A conversation is a meeting of the minds where you do as much (or more) listening than you do speaking. In a conversation, if done correctly, the other party will tell you what they are working on, what they’re struggling with and, in a few cases, people may even reveal areas where you might be able to help.
Most conversations won’t end in a deal. But if there ever is a deal, you can bet it will come at the beginning, middle or end of a conversation.
DUH. Catch my drift here? Is this concept not “revolutionary” enough for you?
It should be. It should be blowing your freakin’ mind right now because it’s the one strategy that most people simply aren’t doing.
So how do you use this information to get more people to find you, like you and pay you?
Simple: Have more conversations with more people about the things that matter to them (emphasis on them). Ask about the things that they are working on and only if appropriate ask: “Would you like help with that?”
The more people you engage in meaningful conversations about their needs, the more opportunities you’ll have to share with them how you might be able to help. You just have to open yourself up to the possibility of starting conversations you wouldn’t normally have.
We get so bogged down with our commute and our routines that we end up talking to the same 20-ish people all day, every day. Our circles are actually quite big, but we are keeping them small by avoiding conversations with “new” people.
How do you expect to get new clients if you keep talking to the same people every day?
My challenge to you.
Before the end of the 2016, I challenge you to have 100 meaningful conversations with people about who they are, what they’re working on and, if appropriate, how you might be able to help.
Take people out to lunch. Strike up random conversations in the checkout line. Connect with friends-of-friends. Compliment a guy on his excellent choice of pocket square and see where the convo goes. Maybe you’ll meet a small business owner (perhaps she is someone you already see every day) who will eventually need an expert designer/developer like you to build an app for her. Maybe if you’re really nice, she’ll refer you to two of her friends down the road!
Or maybe, your conversations will serendipitously connect you with a busy executive who needs help staying on top of her fitness routine during the week and could use a trainer/diet coach like you to keep her honest and accountable.
Whatever skill you have...there are many people out there who want and need what you got, but they’ll only be able to tell you this stuff if you’re having a conversation with them.
So go out there right now, start meeting people and figuring out where you can actually help the world. Stop seeing/calling/texting only the same few people every day in an endless loop while wondering why no new people are coming into your life asking to buy your services.
This is ground zero, step numero uno for anybody who is serious about growing a service-based business.