How do you get most of your customers?
If it’s from regular advertising, blog contents, guest posting, then you’re setting up a great force of attraction so customers can find you, love you and hire you or buy from you.
Now, have you ever got a customer by asking for one?
In the past I have secured some great contracts with clients by a spear gun approach and asking how I could help.
Everyone who I asked, had no idea who I was until I got in touch – it was the ultimate cold calling.
What’s more, I never called them or met them in person, I did it all via email, which shows how persuasive the written word can be!
I’m not telling you to brag, I’m telling you because I didn’t realise that a lot of business owners and freelancers weren’t doing this to get clients and I want to share my approach with you in the hope that it helps your business.
Now, don’t think that this approach is only suitable for paying clients, this can work just as well to:
* Get a guest post
* Find a joint venture partner
* Promote your services to someone else’s audience
So, let me break down how I did it and you can see how you can apply it to your own business.
Decide what you want
I wanted short term copywriting project work in my target market of busy entrepreneurs, and I also allowed myself to dream big. I wanted entrepreneurs who were passionate about their business, had a strong vision of their goals, knew their target market and appreciated the value of copywriting.
At this stage I want you to think about your ideal client and the kind of work you’d like to be doing. Write it down if it helps. When this is clear in your mind, you’d be surprised how many people out there do fit the description.
Now we just need to…
Find and research your ideal client / relationship
Okay, then you need to find them. I did this through a number of ways:
* Looking at the websites I regularly visited and admired
* Using sites like listorious.com to find people on twitter that matched my ideal client
* Browsing twitter to see who the people I admired were talking to
Soon, I had a list of about 40 names of inspiring figures I would be stoked to work for.
Then, I needed to do my research on them by hitting their websites, twitter, professional profiles and tried to find out:
* More about their business, and their audience
* More about any upcoming projects, launches or ventures they had
* If they had a newsletter, and signing up to it if so
Most of all, I was trying to see if I could genuinely help them improve their business.
From this process, I found out that only about 5-10 actually fit perfectly into the ideal description I had first started out. I stored the other names for the time being and then set about…
Getting in touch
You might think this is tricky, because when entrepreneurs’ businesses grow, they are often more difficult to get in touch with. They are busy and require more levels of people to guard their time by filtering regular enquiries. This is totally understandable, but even so, 90% of the time I was able to get in touch via email (and sometimes guessing the email address!).
What I would say to this is that if you really want to work for someone, research as much as possible for ways to get in touch. Be creative, be inventive, but don’t pester and don’t take it personally if you can’t get through or get turned down!
Once you do have an email address though, it’s time to…
Make them a specific offer
When I did email them I had a different offer for each person, it was specific to:
* Their personality
* Their business
* Their audience
And I made sure that I had a few options set out so that it would be as easy as possible for them to say “Okay, let’s go for number 3.”
At this stage I didn’t pin down pricing, but I let them know when my available dates were.
I wrote a bit more about this in a blog post, in case you want to know more about writing these kinds of emails.
Now, a couple of more things to cover quickly
This approach works well if you have specific examples of work you can show them on your website, or have a specific landing page that you can direct them to with more information about you and your business.
The spear-gun effect is a powerful one, in 80% of the times I’ve tried it, I’ve managed to build a working relationship with a client.
You still need to build up your net and encourage clients by other ways, but it is a great method to use if you’ve got a little extra time to build up your client base, or have someone in mind that you really want to work for.
Once you’ve contacted them
Do follow up your enquiry, I’d leave it about a week and just send one line saying I hoped they got my email okay, if it wasn’t what they were looking for no problems, and wishing them luck in their business.
So, I know this is a bit of a long one, but I really think it’s a useful technique to use and I wanted to share it with you!
Find me on twitter at www.twitter.com/littleunred
Oh, and if you think you know anyone else who’d like this, forward it on and let them know what’s it like hanging out in the Harrisonamy Newsletter!