Every self-employed professional has unique circumstances. The solution that will help one person acquire more clients and earn a better living is not the same as the answer that will solve similar issues for another. Finding the best approach to make your business take off is rarely so simple as copying what another person does. It may take a bit of detective work.
When talking with a potential client, do you find yourself being too vague when describing your business? Don’t worry! This is a trap that’s easy to fall into.
When it comes to having sales conversations, specificity is king.
I asked a new client recently what he had been doing to market his professional services. “Everything,” he said. “I’ve been running pay-per-click ads online, I hired someone to write a sales letter and mailed it to a list of local companies, I have a banner ad in my professional association’s directory, I’ve even been posting flyers around town… and I still have almost no business.”
“Ah hah,” I replied, “I think we’ve uncovered your problem. You actually haven’t been marketing your business. What you have been doing is advertising.”
True or not true? Asking someone to become your referral partner is scary.
If you said true, you’re not alone.
How scary it is to ask someone to send you referrals depends on your comfort level. The more you practice the better you get, and that’s something you can build on. Even if asking for referrals doesn’t seem to come naturally, you can train yourself to do it comfortably enough — and it might even become fun!
As a self-employed professional, have you defined your marketing niche? You may think so, but a closer look might reveal that your chosen niche isn’t as effective as it could be. You may have selected a target market, but have no defined specialty among the services you offer. Or you may be clear on your professional specialty, but vague on who to target as prospective clients.
A clearly defined niche for an independent professional is one that spells out both a target market and a specialty needed by that market.
It might have happened that when you started your business, you told a few people what you were up to and clients just showed up. You may have had the good fortune of not having to work too hard to get noticed or think much about the details of your marketing; things just seemed to take off.
(If you’re saying to yourself, “Is she for real? This actually happens to people, where they don’t have to struggle to get clients, especially at the beginning?” The answer is yes, it’s a real thing.)