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Want to Get More Clients? Get More Specific About How You Can Help, Not More Generic.

You can only help people who recognize they have a problem.

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Last time we talked about organizing your service offerings and giving prospects a clear understanding of the possibilities in working with you, which, in my mind, is absolutely vital when it comes to client acquisition.

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While making yourself more consumable is a great first step, it only covers a portion of the overall client acquisition plan for service professionals.

In other words, if organizing your service offerings answers the "what" part of the equation, then our next conversation will cover the "who." As in, who is most likely to contract your services by actually pulling out their check book and working with you?

Needless to say, this is where the rubber meets the road and, quite frankly, it can be very frustrating for most service professionals, because as a coach, consultant, CPA, chiropractor, lawyer or speaker, the world could literally be your oyster!

But, when it comes to client acquisition, that's precisely the problem holding most people back: They fall into the trap of trying to be everything to everyone, instead of being one thing to someone. And as a result, they have a marketing message that confuses rather than clarifies who might be a good fit for their service.

Now the good news is we have a real easy fix for that, and it's called "spheres of influence," which quite simply are a group of people who are most likely to work with you.

Notice the language . . . "most likely."

Related: 25 Common Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs

As a Client Acquisition Coach, I could literally work with 90 percent of entrepreneurs out there. In other words, as long as people felt like I knew what I was talking about, who wouldn't want to work with someone who could help them get more clients?

So that means just about "everybody" could be my client, right?

Well, not exactly, because over the past 15+ years I've been a coach, I can assuredly tell you that is not the case!

While all service professionals should potentially want to hire me, I've found that only a specific group of people actually do. As a matter of fact, they usually have the following characteristics:

  • Been in business for one or more years. New business owners usually don't gravitate toward me since they feel like they already have all the answers and literally don't know what they don't know.
  • Are "learners" in both their personal and professional lives. In other words, my idea client is usually always on the lookout for different ways to grow themselves and their business.
  • Are experiencing some trepidation regarding the next best step for growing their practice. They have a ton of good ideas and even have some pieces in place, like a website or blog. But, with all of the choices available, they're not sure what the best next step is for building their brand and growing their practice.

Those are the people "most likely" to work with me.

Or to put it differently, they see a need and a potential solution in my services, rather than just me seeing that need in their situation.

Does that make sense?

Because that's where a lot of us get into trouble.

Related: I Started Saying 'No' to These 6 Things. My Life and My Business Got a Lot Better.

We see the need, try to offer a solution and then spend countless hours "following up," and wonder why they don't buy.

But, by creating spheres of influence, you're only engaging people who already realize a problem exists and are open to working with someone like yourself to fix it. So let's look at some other examples of spheres of influence from different industries.

Chiropractor: Runners, "weekend warriors," people over the age of 40 who are still athletic but have some associated aches and pains in their body.

Business Coach: A business three or more years old who has an owner that is tired of working 70+ hours a week and is looking for some concrete systems and processes for making their business lives easier.

CPA: A business two or more years old, where the owner is tired of doing the books themselves. In a perfect world, it might be an expanding business, looking to get a loan from the bank and needs to make sure they have their "financial house" in order to secure those funds.

Obviously that's not an exhaustive list, but that should get you going.

Now I'm going to address the elephant in the room, because I know there are some people thinking this right now, "This sounds great Brian, but I really don't want to limit myself when it comes to getting new clients."

I totally get that.

When I was starting out, I felt the exact same way, and even now, I sometimes feel like that. But, here's the thing: In today's internet world, where data is literally at everyone's finger tips, people aren't looking for more information . . . they're looking for more insight.

Related: 9 Steps to Increase the Value of Your Business

And more specifically, they want insight about their situation and the particular problems they face.

That's why people buy.

Because they feel like you have a specific set of skills that can address their specific set of problems.

And it's very difficult to develop that insight to the point where people feel like you "know what you're talking about" and are ready to buy, without focusing your efforts on a few areas.

Or to put it bluntly: It's hard to be "everything to everyone" AND pass that threshold value of insight.

Personally, I recommend three spheres of influence or target markets where you feel you can gather the most insight and provide the most value. And it doesn't have to be just industries either, they can also be profiles of your ideal client (e.g., busy entrepreneurs).

Believe me, when you start getting focused on your who your audience is and why they're buying, what you'll find is that client acquisition actually becomes easier -- not harder -- because you'll be speaking in a language that all of your perspective clients understand.

Brian Hilliard

Written By

Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP

BRIAN HILLIARD is the co-author of Networking Like a Pro (Entrepreneur Press 2017) and popular speaker. As creator of the program "How to Market Your Business in Less Than 90 Days," Brian works with busy entrereneurs in the areas of Marketing, Mindset and Personal Achievement. Some of Brian's work has appeared nationally in Black Enterprise, Coaching World Magazine and the Martha Zoller Morning Show. During his free time, Brian enjoys playing golf and basketball and watching as many movies as possible on Netflix!