Over the years, how have you acquired your best clients?
If you’re like most consultants and coaches, you probably got a large percentage of your clients via some kind of referral. That’s not to say that other methods, such as social media or SEO, don’t work—because they do. However, in most cases, these methods can only take you so far. Why? Because visibility, especially in a B2B space, doesn’t always equate to new leads. Prospective clients need to have some kind of relationship with you—visibility alone isn’t enough.
How do you build relationships with potential clients? By having conversations.
It may not be groundbreaking, but it’s one of the fastest paths to gaining ideal new clients. If you can multiply your networking connections and have meetings with people on a consistent basis, you’re almost guaranteed to win new business.
Unfortunately, many businesses don’t take a proactive approach to referrals. They just “hope” that someone gives them a positive referral. In all my years in coaching business owners and consultants, I’ve known very few who have a plan to increase referrals or word-of-mouth business.
So, how do you set up meetings and start networking conversations? And how do you turn these conversations into leads? Here are my five guidelines to multiplying your prospect meetings:
1) Understand the Power of Your Network
Don’t take your network for granted. Most of the people that you know, know at least 100 people. These could be work colleagues, peers in the industry, social networking contacts, or just great friends. You already have a connection with a hundred+ people through your one contact. But unfortunately, most people don’t have an outreach plan to engage and talk with them. This leads us to our next guideline…
2) Create a 90-Day Lead Generation Plan
I encourage all of my private business clients to create a 90-day plan. In this plan, I ask them to write down two or three people they need to get in front of each week. This could be speaking to an audience, having a Discovery Call with a new prospect, or creating a specific plan to reach out to former and current clients, friends, colleagues, and peers.
When reaching out to former clients, I encourage people to deploy what I call the Reinvest Plan.
First, reach out with genuine interest to find out what’s new in this client’s life. A lot could have changed!
Second, talk about the expansion of your business in this new decade. You might ask the contact about their thoughts and insights on a new service or program for your business. (Typically, people are flattered when you ask for their advice and are very willing to share their thoughts. This gets them reinvested in your business!)
Third, if the former client says they’d like to learn more, you set up another meeting. If the client isn’t interested or it’s not the right fit for them, you might say, “Do you know of anyone that’s looking to obtain the same type of value that you achieved during our collaboration?”
3) Ask for Introductions
When you have an introduction, especially from a current or former client, there is a much greater chance that you will be hired. Why does this make a difference? Because social proof matters. We tend to be skeptical about what people say about themselves. That’s why your work is worth so much more when it’s backed up by someone else. If you’ve delivered outstanding service in the past, most people are going to be willing to share with others how you helped them. So, don’t be shy about asking!
4) Facilitate Worthwhile Introductions
If your client, colleague, or friend is going to go to the trouble of making an introduction for you, you want it to be worthwhile. In other words, you want to be introduced to prospects that have the potential of becoming golden clients. So, before you pick up the phone or meet this person, do some research and find out who they know that you’d like to know. That way you can be specific and ask if they know someone (by name, or position) and if they would be willing to introduce you to that person.
You want to make it easy for your contact to follow-up on your request for an introduction. With that in mind, you can create an introductory email that your former clients can easily send to whomever they are introducing you. This introductory email can be a few sentences highlighting your expertise and experience.
Here’s an example of the one I created to help people introduce me to others:
“Sarah Hathorn, who is a global leadership expert on Creating Successful Corporate DNA™ and the Predictable Promotion™ is the CEO of Hathorn Consulting Group (www.hathornconsultinggroup.com). She has been recognized for the exceptional value she has brought to companies like The Home Depot, McKesson, Kimberly-Clark, Sherwin-Williams, and other elite organizations helping their leaders elevate their executive presence and leadership skills.
I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Sarah over the past few years and have experienced firsthand the results that she brings to her clients. Her fresh approach and new ideas would be of great value to your organization. I am convinced that a meeting would be very worthwhile to you. I’ll leave you two to connect.”
This type of email will go a long way towards building your contact’s confidence in your expertise.
5) Monitor Your Lead Generation Benchmarks
It’s one thing to have a plan, but another to monitor your success benchmarks. As I mentioned earlier, you should commit to having at least two or three meetings a week.
I use a tracking sheet so that I know that I’ve achieved that weekly goal. I also analyze what’s working for me and what isn’t so I can target my time and energy effectively.
It never ceases to amaze me how these relatively simple guidelines have filled my ever-flowing, evergreen pipeline of clients. Talking to people regularly and asking for introductions, it isn’t rocket science, but it’s worked for all of my business clients in various industries. If you make lead generation your #1 focus, as the saying goes “you get what you focus on.” Who can you call this week?
Sarah’s Predictable Results Insights
- Which networking relationships should you focus on this year?
- How can you incorporate two or three lead-generation meetings into your weekly schedule?
- How can you take advantage of the network you already have?
If you need support from a private coach or a mastermind community to reach an audacious goal in 2020, reach out to me at 1-800-267-3245 for a complimentary strategy session to see how we may be of service to you.