Everybody finds success in different ways. Integrate these five tips and no matter what kind of business you’re in or for how long, your business will grow with clients you love to serve!
Way #1: Nurture a Niche and Create an Ideal Client Profile
Your business grows more easily and is more profitable when you choose a niche and create an Ideal Client Profile. A niche is a general category based on a population, passion or product/service. For example: high-net-worth individuals, small business owners, divorced executives and health enthusiasts. While an Ideal Client Profile may contain demographics, such as gender and income, it also includes geographics, psychographics and values.
How do you spot your ideal client? They:
- Easily pay you on time and don’t ask you to lower your prices.
- Understand and value what your services can help them accomplish.
- Refer you to others without even being asked.
- Return to you whenever they have additional needs for your services.
- Give you energy — emotionally and financially!
Serving a niche and an ideal client brings consistency and focus to all of your marketing messages saving you time and money. You’ll attract great clients because your marketing material shows that you understand their specific wants and needs. More tips on this subject are available at http://www.marketingwithintegrity.com/?cat=26.
Way #2 – Update Your Networking Skills – The Old Elevator Pitch is Dead
An elevator speech (also called a verbal logo or Business SnapshotSM) includes your name, a description of your ideal clients, and the results of the service/product you provide. It captures your listener’s attention quickly and memorably during a structured networking meeting or in line at the coffee shop.
Once you introduce yourself, you should be prepared to answer a few more basic questions about you and your business. When we’re put “on the spot” we generally don’t say what we’d really like to, and then kick ourselves for it!
However, resist the temptation to go on about yourself. You have a prepared Business Snapshot, but networking is not a race to give out your card and get the first word in, it’s about getting cards from others and asking them questions. Don’t walk up to someone and start reciting your repertoire; give your name and ask, “Tell me about yourself.” And LISTEN for ways to connect.
Way #3 – Plan to Succeed and Simplify Everyday Decision-Making
Before you say you don’t have the time to write a business plan, think about it this way: It’s only two or three days out of 365. Undoubtedly, you have a few slow periods during the year to use for planning or, if you set your mind to it, you can do it over a weekend.
Note: I’m not talking about a business plan for raising capital. I recommend my clients create a condensed business development and growth plan, including operations management, team development, and client engagement and acquisition–all rolled into one! It’s more practical and just as effective as a longer plan (especially since you’ll be more likely to use it every day).
Having a plan is important because you’ll define the priorities that will bring you the most business growth. Planning makes everyday decision-making easy for you and your team. Opportunities that don’t support your plan or ideal client base can be safely passed over, saving you time, ending the frustration of second-guessing, and empowering your employees. Be flexible with your plan; if something better comes along, you can always take away one project and replace it with the unforeseen opportunity.
Way #4: Speak and Grow (Yourself and Your Email Database)
Face-to-face interaction is the quickest method of converting strangers into prospects–and then into clients. Deliver a signature talk or workshop to groups and associations whose members are your ideal clients and on your evaluation form include a check box where they give you permission to include them in your newsletter or ezine. Even if they don’t ask for more information about your product or services at the event, your new subscribers will get to know you and could become clients in the future.
Check with your Chamber of Commerce, local business journal, and weekly networking groups to find speaking opportunities. Never speak for free; always negotiate a fee or “in kind” contributions (such as a table in the back of the room, advertising in the newsletter, sponsorships, membership, etc). Otherwise, the only folks you’ll attract at your event are freebie seekers–and who wants freebie seekers? Not you! You want your ideal clients.
Way #5: Expand Your Circle of Influence with Strategic Alliances
Once you’ve developed your ideal client profile, network to find other professionals who have also chosen your niche to partner with. As you get to know each other better, you can do reciprocal marketing, such as submitting articles for their blog or newsletter. You can also market together by creating workshops for each other’s clients, and refer them to your clients in a variety of ways. Nurturing strategic alliances expands your “sales force” and exponentially increases the reach of your marketing message.
One way to develop strategic alliances is through LinkedIn®. The first step in this is creating a descriptive, 100% complete profile including keywords that help others find you. Choose moderated groups (like Staples’ SUCCEED) with active participants who are looking to develop relationships, not fly-by posters who are just there to promote their own business. It’s not about Spaghetti Marketing, splattering everyone with your latest promotion, hoping that something will stick. Be proactive and contribute as much as possible by posting useful information and feedback. Give and get resources and information. Find Groups whose members are your ideal clients and that allow its contributors to gently promote, too. Find people in your Groups whose posts interest you and contact them directly — even with a free account.