You have immense knowledge and skill that you know you can use to help one-on-one clients meet their goals and needs. If only you could reach these potential clients and let them know all that you have to offer and how great it would be to work together! One of the hardest things for people just starting out in their service based business is securing the first few clients. After all, once you have some it’s much easier to get others because you can show off testimonials and examples of results, and even have the current client spread news about your business through word of mouth. But getting those first clients? That can be tough.
If you feel like you have set up your website, have your branding on point, know your offerings front and back, and are even promoting them through social media, but it’s all falling on deaf ears, here are some ways you can actually go out and get your first clients in a more proactive way.
This may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people just don’t ever go out and ask people that they know if they need or could use their services. It can be scary to put yourself out there like that, and people often feel weird about ‘selling themselves’ to family and friends, but that is just something you need to get over right now. People who already know and trust you are the best people to go to first. Even if they themselves don’t have need for your service, just let them know that you are currently actively looking for new clients and ask if they would be able to recommend you to one person they know who might actually need your service. Ask them to think of a specific person at the time of the conversation. You don’t need to put them on the spot and ask them to actually call them up right then while you’re in front of them, but having them think of specific people while you’re having the conversation makes them more likely to actually bring it up with the person the next time they see them. Just asking them to recommend you to people they know in general may not have the same results because they may forget or never put in the two minutes to think about who they know that would be a good client for you.
VOLUNTEER YOUR SERVICES TO A NEIGHBORHOOD GROUP OR NON-PROFIT
I know a lot of people will tell you never to give your services or time away for free but I have to disagree. If you do not yet have any experience working with clients, just being able to say that you are working with a legitimate organization can be enough to get you a paying client. What’s more, you can build up a portfolio of work that you complete for them and show off the real world results that you achieve. Being a non-profit or neighborhood group, it also is reasonable to have offered your services for free (not that you’ll go around telling people this) because people often volunteer for these groups because they have a passion for the work they are doing and want to be a part of it. The key is to be professional, and treat it like a real client. Build relationships with everyone there that you can, because many of them have other businesses or projects they are involved with that they may need your services for in the future.
RESEARCH YOUR IDEAL CLIENT + PERSONALLY TELL THEM WHAT YOU COULD DO FOR THEM
Chances are you already have an idea in your head of a couple people or businesses in your niche that you would love to work with. If you don’t, a quick google or social media search should show you people in your area or, if you have a business model that allows you to work remotely, people who you would like to work with in general. Put together information about you and your company and show them exactly what you could offer them specifically, and how it would help them personally. Show them exactly what they would get out of it. Since you’re approaching them, this may not be something they think they need and they’ll be hesitant to spend money to pay you for it unless you can show them proven benefits.
Do one or all of these, and you should be able to get your first client. You may need to do them over and over again, but every time you try one of these tactics, you will probably get a new client, or at least get one step closer. Remember, it may not happen immediately, but you’re laying the groundwork and putting measures in place to obtain clients in the near future.
Don’t forget, the most important thing is to approach any of these tactics with professionalism, and put your absolute best foot forward once you do secure the client. And also stay completely professional even if they turn you down- they may still know someone else who could use your services, or their situation may change in the future where they realize they do need you. You want to make sure you still have the contact and that they remember you as a great person to work with.
Make a goal for yourself to try at least one of these tactics this week and see if you can get a lead on a new client!