I wish I had a penny for every time I’m asked this question: “What would you say is a realistic time frame until you start attracting client to your businesses?” because I would have a lot of pennies.
This is often what comes next: “My website is up and running, I post regularly on Facebook/LinkedIn/Pinterest/Instagram, etc., etc… I have opened a group page for coaches to join on Facebook. Anything I might be missing? Just checking that all is in place.”
The answers by well-meaning colleagues and/or members of LinkedIn groups or Facebook groups vary from “trust that those who need you will find you”, to Facebook ads to SEO. Depending which guru who sells which kind of product, you’ll find: “Post more often”, “promote your posts on Facebook”, “you need to blog”, “go to networking meetings”, “ask for referrals”, “it’s the niche” and the list goes on and on and on.
“Mama mia!” the tiny Italian part of me exclaims and then my big, logical part kicks in.
Let’s have a look at what is really going on here. When a person asks “how long getting clients will take”, usually the reality doesn’t match their expectations. (In general, if they had all the clients they thought they were going to have, they wouldn’t be asking).
The first expectation we need to get real about is the “attract clients” part. There is no website, Facebook Page or Facebook group or any activity you do online that “attracts” clients on its own.
This is what I mean by that: once the website is ready, the owner of the website needs to know how to drive traffic to the website, which basically means bringing visitors to a site. The website on itself is not going to attract clients.
If the website were a store, an attractive store window without people passing by the store front and seeing the window is not going to get the store owner any customers.
You can find plenty of articles about marketing a business online here. I would like to leave the online realm and dive a little bit deeper into attracting clients as a part of growing a business.
The reason why I would like to go deeper into business fundamentals is because what is missing is not more pieces; it’s the glue that holds a real business together. Ironically, when things don’t work, we go to the store and buy yet another piece forgetting completely to bring the glue.
Business glue is not any kind of glue… Business success glue is made up of:
1) Solid ability to help people get the results they want
If you are a coach, trainer or consultant, what I call a “modern expert with a mission and a message”, the better you are at your craft, the better your business will do.
I’m not suggesting with this that talent or expertise are enough. I’m not. What I’m suggesting is that they are the starting point.
There are enough “business gurus” who say that you can become an expert by reading 3 books or that your life experience is enough to coach people. Don’t you get enough friends coming to you for advice, after all?
I don’t take anybody as a client to help them with their business unless they are good at what they do or they are willing to learn to get good at what they want to do next because it is not about “better marketing as in a better mouse trap”.
2) The right understanding about money
This is what I mean… A real business makes money. If for some reason someone feels that there is something wrong about helping others and being compensated for doing that, they are basically in trouble.
3) External focus
A small shift with a big business impact. I’m talking about looking around and noticing what people are looking for help with and choosing to help with the abilities that we have. It is not so much about what I want to help with (internal focus) as it is about what real human beings are looking for help with (external focus).
It is sometimes ironic because the experts that get this never have problems to get clients because there are billions of people looking for help with something right now and not so many real experts.
The key word here is “looking for help”. Taking off the expert’s glasses and putting on the human glasses usually helps. When we have the expert glasses on, we see what people “need” help with. When we put on the human glasses, we start to notice what other human beings are looking for help with.
4) A group of people who have problems we are good at helping with
I am not going to start talking about target markets and niches. What I’m going to say is that the heart of your business is the people you have the ability to help. If you choose one group of people for your next project, it is easier to come up with ideas about where these people hangout and go and connect with them.
5) Crystal clear communication of value
That is my definition of marketing, by the way. The person looking for help needs to immediately recognize that you are the expert able to help them.So we need to learn to communicate our contribution.
6) Speaking human language vs speaking an alien language
Once we are in front of human beings who have a certain problem that we can help with, we have to speak their language.
This is what I mean: A lot of experts make the mistake of talking about their modality, their area of expertise, their mission and their passion in life. The human being they are trying to help is focused on the problem they have so they cannot understand the “alien language” of modalities, techniques, coaching. They can only hear a message about getting them out of the pain they have and getting the results they want.
7) The ability to have a conversation
In the case of an expert business, people want to talk to us before making a decision to hire us or not. We also want to know if this is a good fit and if we will do our work with them.
The fantasy that we can have a button on our website and people will send us money for a high-end service like coaching, training or consulting is usually a fantasy. (We’re not talking about selling information products here, we are talking about working directly with people).
It is essential to have a way of structuring a conversation with potential clients in a way that brings massive value to them and helps them make the decision to invest in working with you so that you can do your best work and get paid what your contribution is worth.
Go over the 7 essentials and decide to concentrate on the missing pieces. If you are not sure which piece to start with, start with your ability to hold enrollment conversations that have your best clients say yes to working with you. Having the confidence that comes from being ready in that area will move you forward in the rest of your client attraction activities.
Till next time… happy client attraction and remember your awesomeness is portable. You can take it with you anywhere.