I recently got a glowing review for my book from a dear reader named James (thank you, James!), and I want to share it because, despite the positive message, he only gave me 4 stars! —but for a very interesting reason:
“The book tells you how to recreate your business and how to change your mindset to only work with your ideal clients, BUT… it doesn’t tell you how to go about getting those ideal clients! The most I heard on that is to go to network meetings every morning for 30 days and tell everyone you know… I’m sorry, when you’ve got bills coming (don’t we all?!), that’s not going to cut it.”
To be clear, nowhere in the book do I say “go to networking groups for 30 days,” but the point is well taken: the book doesn’t give you the “answer” to how to get clients immediately when you have bills to pay today. The reviewer wonders whether this is a tactic to get people to hire us because only then will we share all our secrets for how you get those paying clients right away.
Well, you don’t have to hire us—In this article, I’m going to give you the only answers there ever are to the question of how to get more clients.
If you’ve been in business for more than a few weeks, you know there are no secrets, sure things, or easy answers. And anyone who thinks there is has been drinking too much marketing Kool-Aid.
This may seem like a bummer, but only If you’re not willing to take off your rose-colored glasses, which, if that’s the case, will pretty much guarantee your business won’t be in business for very long.
So if success can’t be guaranteed by some new magic move, what can you do?
How can you run your business in a way where you can be confident your bills will get paid, without the constant anxiety of worrying about where your next sale will come from, or if it will come at all?
Don’t we all wish there was a secret? One thing that if we just knew what it was, we could do it, and then magically, our business would explode with success?
Instead of wishing for some fictional silver bullet, I think our time will be better spent tackling the question that does have an answer—HOW can you take control of your sales and revenue?
I Guarantee You… Nothing Is Guaranteed
I know I’m beating a dead horse here, but if I don’t, you’ll still be hanging on to one last shred of hope that there is a secret, simple solution to all your business problems. And as someone who wants to see you and your service business succeed, I cannot allow that!
Raise your hand if you’ve ever been pitched a “guaranteed” marketing system or sales process. You’ve probably heard self-proclaimed experts promising to share their “number one secret to getting sales” that has been time-tested, proven to work, blah blah blah… I hope you didn’t spend money on those.
Here’s how I see it: there is no single piece of information or action that can ensure, without a doubt, that you will get a sale today, now because you did it. And anyone telling you that any of this is simple or easy is either naive or worse, lying.
How can I be so certain?
Because in every transaction, there is another human being with free will on the other end. And you, my friend, cannot EVER guarantee that you can make them pull the trigger and hire you.
Alright, So How Do You Get Clients?
So if you can’t guarantee success and clients, what can you do to confidently run a business where you’re not always wondering where your next sale is coming from?
Well, since I’ve fully crushed all your hopes and dreams that any of this is ever simple or easy, we can move on to reality and talk about practical steps that will take your business where you want to go.
Here’s what you CAN do, and it’s ALL you can do:
Take many small steps that each increase your chances of somebody buying from you.
The more of these kinds of steps you take, and the better you execute them, the more likely you are to make a sale, and sooner.
And at a certain point, when you’ve executed enough steps over a period of time like a champ, you will eventually approach something that looks a lot like guaranteed sales and clients.
So THAT is the real goal of any business owner who is serious about success!
The problem is that when most people think of putting work into trying to grow their business, their reptile brain gravitates to quick-fix, marketing techniques, and platforms. You know what this sounds like: “maybe I should get on YouTube?” or “I need to be doing more social media posting.” While these types of answers can feel right, imagine buying a more expensive microphone to “help” you become a better singer. The microphone is just a detail, and everyone has access to them, what you really should be investing in is vocal lessons (yourself).
There are tons of steps and actions involved in the process of growing your clients and revenue, and many will have seemingly little or nothing to do with marketing in the classic sense, as you know it. But it’s been my experience that if you DON’T execute these more subtle steps, and instead just implement a bunch of over-shared, templated tactics, it’s quite possible NOBODY will buy from you.
I’ll say it another way: if you already aren’t getting clients, marketing isn’t the problem, and most likely won’t be the solution. It’s more likely it will just be another dent in your ever-dwindling income.
I agree that marketing has a huge, important place in business, but it’s not what your business is built on. And unless you focus on strengthening your foundation, none of those tactics you employ to grow your business with land results.
Raising Your Odds, Step By Step
When I rejiggered my business model in 2014 from a classic agency-style company to the lean, mean, intensive Brandup model I have today, the change itself was almost enough on its own to start pulling clients toward me. Sure, I took the time to reach out to my existing network and tell them about the exciting new way I was delivering my services, but that was basically all I did. We had a steady flow of clients from referrals simply by re-educating my existing network.
The results were quick and staggering. It felt like with this one (major) change in our business and branding; we turned the fire hose of clients on.
But remember, I HAD an existing network. I had already done a thousand tiny steps to set myself up for that “overnight” success: networking meetings, badassing my brand, creating a newsletter, writing articles, etc., etc… I also had done all the marketing tactics everyone talks about for years with little to no success. And that’s why I’m so adamant about warning other entrepreneurs looking for the “secret” or simple marketing “answer.”
In my experience, and the shared experiences of thousands of clients and followers, the strategic steps I teach in resources like my can be a quick fix, but only if you’ve already been hustling to get your name out there. However, if you have no email list, no audience, or network and are starting from absolute scratch, then you’re going to have to do that leg work before any steps will make a difference.
My rebranding success might not have been so easy if I hadn’t spent the last couple of years constantly networking and connecting with others. Those were steps I had already taken that increased my chances of getting hired. When I finally had a business that was noticeable, memorable, and shareable, only then did those marketing tactics pay off.
Then, when I wanted to increase those chances even more (and because I was so done with in-person networking), I doubled down on creating valuable content.
Creating content and spreading it across different channels increased my chances of getting hired EVEN MORE. Now I was giving more people more chances to get to know me through my writing, while also giving them more reasons to like and trust me by offering valuable information.
After I started writing for Forbes and published my book, enough people were reading my stuff that, while you can never guarantee that you will get a client from one day to the next, my odds and my numbers were increasingly and exponentially falling in my favor. From taking tons of little steps, I had approached something that’s as close to guaranteed sales and clients as you can get.
The steps involved in content creation are what I teach people how to do AFTER they build a super-specific, noticeable, memorable, shareable brand. This is how to build authority and create thought leadership online so you can leverage your time and reach so many people that the high-paying clients come to you in a reliable way.
But again, none of this guarantees you will get a client on any particular day. Nothing can.
Remember, ALL you can do is increase your chances. And the more steps you take, the better your odds—so much so that you practically do guarantee your sales enough that you can start to rely on that income rolling in.
It’s All About “Microwins”
One of the mantras I live by is to let go of what I can’t control and focus on what I can influence. I’ve let go of any notion that there’s some secret strategy out there that can take an unknown business with no network and no online presence and guarantee them sales to pay their bills this month—and I urge you to do the same. This idea is holding you back from doing the very things you need to do to build a business that brings you sales for years to come.
So, James (Mr. 4-star review of my book), if you have no content and no network, then no, there is not a “guaranteed” way to get a new client now so you can pay your bills this month.
But if you do the work to build a noticeable, memorable, shareable brand, you will have taken a ton of little steps that will increase your chances of landing ideal clients sooner, and you’ll be set up for marketing so you can hit the pavement running and start getting more clients now.
Success is never just one secret trick shot, but rather millions of steps and actions taken consistently over time. Daunting, I know, but did you think owning your own successful, profitable business was going to be easy? Learn more steps to tackle this Everest with what I call “Microwins.”