With summer drawing to a close, it is time to get your focus back on growing your business. Fall is a great time to re-energize and recharge. One of the pitfalls I see so many business executives fall into, is thinking too small and doing the same things they have done for years, directed at the same client base. Now is the time to have a staff brainstorming session and let the ideas flow... thinking big! Set your goals high, try a new approach (when I wrote Off the Wall Marketing Ideas with Debbie Karpowicz, that was exactly what I was sharing with my clients) and you may be surprised the levels you can reach.
Why do I say think big? Let's face it -- it's as easy to find a more lucrative client as it is to find a low-paying one, so why not go big or go home? The key is to know what you have to offer in terms of solutions, articulate that clearly to the right prospect. and bingo- - you're on your way to up-leveling your client base. Ask for referrals, testimonials and endorsements from already super satisfied clientele and your job of landing the big guns gets easier and easier. Here are additional ways to fine tune the fine art of attracting and retaining high paying clients.
1. Understand who your ideal client is.
Like in love -- we all have our preferred "types." The key is to be sure you are clear on the kind of companies you like working with and what their pain points are that you (or your company) offer solutions for...before you "pitch" to them.
2. Know whom you are dealing with.
CEOs have a vested and concerned interest in the bottom-line, their shareholders and consumer satisfaction. Be clear on how you can help them and start out at the top. This is an often overlooked and critical step. If you are not at the same executive level, is it likely the CEO of a large corporation will answer you directly? Maybe not, but that would be missing the point. The CEO will certainly have an assistant, and odds are good they will delegate your inquiry to the correct department and contact person within the organization. When assigned a project or lead from the CEO's office, a key level person is much more likely to follow up promptly and respond to you. This has resulted in many new deals for my coaching clients, which may never have taken place without the original direction from the CEO.
3. Ask for endorsements from other same-level clients.
We all like to do business with people we know, like and trust. So do high-level (C-level) executives. Write a letter on behalf of an existing client who can vouch for you, ask their permission to sign off on it and use it as a recommendation or endorsement of your work.
4.Do your homework.
You can't afford to be sloppy when it comes to knowing about the CEO and the company you are wanting to attract as a client. Set up Google Alerts to receive information on both in real time. Reference what they're already doing and how it might be expanded on to reach their objectives (often found on their website, annual reports or quoted in the press).
5. Write a letter campaign.
Write a series of three letters that are sent out a couple of weeks apart so you can be in the groove and not let being unprepared slow down the process. If they respond to your first attempt - lucky you. If not, send the second letter.
6. Demonstrate results.
Nothing speaks like bottom-line results to these folks. Find out what matters most to them (i.e. client retention, attracting new markets, increasing the buy per customer, etc.) and detail what your company has done for others with the same objectives. Results talk.
7. Hang where they hang.
Where do your ideal customers like to be (i.e. trade shows, conferences, speaking events), what do they like to read (i.e. trade journals, national business newspapers or magazines, etc.) and see and be seen where they are.
8. Display your expertise.
People will pay more for an expert or specialist. If you have a brain tumor, you want to see the best neurosurgeon around and would be willing to pay for it -- or encourage your medical insurance company to do so. Write for industry (your prospects and clients) trade journals, speak at conferences they attend, and leverage publicity you receive by sending it to your target client list. Furthermore, when you reference existing clients or their events, they may be more inclined to share your piece with their own customer base as well, doubling your publicity reach and maximizing your clout as an expert in the industry.
9. Present yourself professionally in-person and online.
You never have a second chance to make a first impression. Ever. A mentor of mine once told me my printed materials (I know, I'm dating myself here), needed to exceed whomever I was attempting to attract as a client. Priceless. The same is true for your web and social media posts.
10. Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up.
Woody Allen said the key to success is in showing up, however, I beg to differ. The key to success is to persevere and in doing so - lots of follow-up steps need to be taken before you win the prize. Then more follow-up (i.e. attention) is needed to retain the client. That's much easier than trying to start from ground zero to get a new one. Don't ignore what you've already attained - schedule in time to focus on maintaining your existing clientele.
For more ideas, visit my website and sign up to receive my free Reinvention eGuide - I'll share my gift of "hyper-brainstorming" with you and show you how to reinvent your business in a multitude of new and innovative ways.
Here's to your business reinvention!