The number one challenge I hear from home-based business owners is “getting clients.” It makes sense, after all, most people who start their own business don’t have training in marketing and sales. Usually, they’re just really good at what they do, and figure why not build their own business offering that service so they can reap all the financial rewards and have more freedom and flexibility than a typical job provides.
But they quickly realize that it takes more than being good at what you do to build a successful business.
You need to get clients and that means marketing and sales.
Most people are pretty good about realizing they need a website and they accomplish that pretty quickly. If they’ve gotten good marketing advice, they even build a lead generation system into the website by offering a free gift so they can begin building their own list of interested prospects. And many take it one step further and start writing and posting articles to online article directories, participating on social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter, and maybe even writing a blog.
But even after all these efforts they still find themselves struggling to get clients.
Well, if you look at all of the above activities, they are all “behind the scenes.” They could even be classified as passive marketing, even though in some cases (social networking) they are reaching out to others, albeit virtually. But for the most part, these are “safe” things the business owner can do, sitting at home behind their computer, without really reaching out and connecting with their prospects and clients.
And therein lies the problem!
You can’t expect to build a successful service-based business if you never reach out and talk to your potential clients. That’s called trying to operate your business in a vacuum and guess what? It doesn’t work!
You must get yourself out there and meet and talk to your potential clients. It’s about connecting with them in two-way conversations. Yes, it takes more than just pushing information out virtually via an ezine, or articles or blog posts. If you want to do business with people you can’t be afraid to get out and talk to people!
I am seeing more and more home-based business owners falling victim to this and it can easily be avoided.
If you aren’t getting the clients or making the sales you want, it’s time to look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Am I being too passive and expecting the clients to FIND ME?” If so, here are 4 suggestions to ramp things up so you can quickly start getting more clients and making more sales.
Tip #1: Find ways to talk to your prospects
When’s the last time you had a conversation with one of your prospects? Have you picked up the phone recently and called anyone? You should be talking to AT LEAST several prospects per week. The more you talk to, the more clients you can expect to get, and the better you will get to know your ideal clients. All of this will build your business more quickly than sitting back and waiting for them to come to you.
Tip #2: Get in the trenches with your clients
If you spend all your time hiding behind your computer, you will end up being very out of touch with the very people you are trying to serve. The best way to serve your clients is to understand them. And the best way to do that is to get out there in the trenches and talk to them. That could be by picking up the phone and calling, going to networking meetings or places they frequent and meeting them in person, or even by getting them involved in group programs you offer and taking the time to really get to know them.
Tip #3: Get feedback from your prospects and clients
When’s the last time you asked your prospects or clients what their #1 challenge is? Or what they need more help with ? Or what they want from you that you’re not providing? These are questions you can ask when you’re reaching out and talking to your prospects and clients, or you could do a survey to collect this information. SurveyMonkey and PollDaddy are two free online survey tools that make this a snap.
Tip #4: Ask for the order!
If you’re not getting as many clients or making as many sales as you want, it’s time to ask yourself, “Am I asking for the order?” If you’re sitting back and waiting for the clients and sales to happen, you’re going to be waiting a long time. You need to build triggers into your business to stimulate sales. You must offer your products and services to your clients and ask them to buy, otherwise they won’t! When’s the last time you did a promotion? When’s the last time you got on the phone with a prospect and offered your services? If you’re not asking in one form or another every single week, that’s a pretty good reason you’re not getting the clients or the sales you want.
Internet-based businesses are great because they give you the opportunity to offer your services to clients worldwide. But that doesn’t mean you never have to talk to anyone or ask for the order. The Internet is simply a tool. As a service professional, you’re still an important part of the marketing and sales mix. And if you’re not actively getting out there and talking to people and offering them your services, it’s time to change that. Get out there. Talk to your potential clients. Find out what they want. And offer them your services!