Landing New Clients
Surprise, you have a lot of competition. Some of them are willing to accept lowball offers that actually cost money to process – what are they thinking (possibly unable to do math?). So, to “break thru” you need to be noticed. Many of the most basic items are covered already; your business name, a well written profile (with an “eye catcher” first line), BBB accreditation, and some positive reviews from past clients. But, there is so much more that you can do to stand out.
Do you stand on the shore and mumble “here fish, fish, fish; come to me”? Of course not, to catch a fish you have to go where they are and have proper gear and great bait. Well, your prospective clients are not fish, nor to you plan to “bait & catch” them. But, you certainly want those soon to be clients to call. Go to them; give them a look see of you, and a business card. Of course you cannot visit the world, so Advertise. Being high up on directories is a great start, with some well written bio information (not self praise). Write as if you were talking to a friend, not to a want to be employer. It doesn’t hurt to add as “bait” an uncommon offer. “I process a duplicate copy of your document at no additional charge because that gives you backup in case the one you ship never arrives”. Or, “On my first visit you will receive a 25% off coupon valid for my next two visits”. Feeling brave? “If I am over 15 minutes late the fee is half of agreement”.
Your Interaction with Prospective and Prior Clients
Read the articles on proper phone answering! Stop saying “Hello”. Better is “Good Morning, your name, how can I help you? Then, listen, really listen. If you know something relevant, that the caller is unlikely to know – offer that information – even if it causes you, on this call; to lose the assignment. It’s (in the long run) a better strategy to be helpful rather than deceitful. They will remember you for honesty and being a source of accurate and relevant information. Be sure to get the what, when and where information prior to any fee discussion. Don’t waste much time if a minnow is calling offering a low ball.
You have a great chance to make a positive impression with the written word. Do you include a .vcf file so they can add you to their electronic database? One of my “secrets” is to often include an appropriate image with emails. Not something extolling me – rather something with a bit of humor or informative. I have a large collection of graphics. A few lawyer cartoons, a rose, an elaborate thank you graphic; build up a collection. Humor is always an appreciated break from the routine. Many are the replies: “Thank You, I need a laugh”. Unsaid: “I will remember you”.
Keep the Clients you have Happy
Be real. Don’t be afraid to actually ask a favor. Perhaps 2PM would be a tight schedule; “can we make that 3PM – so I can be sure to be on time”? Giving someone a dollar on departure, as a gift would certainly be insulting. However, a little research will find many useful items that, in bulk, cost about a dollar. Buy some, and “on your way out” present a “thank you” item. I present tiny, add to keychain flashlights; some admit to calling me back just to get an additional one!