When you first start your business, you’re brimming with positivity. Everyone can use what you do!
But, as you start talking to more potential clients, you find that for some people, there’s just no client opportunity. Maybe they already have a provider they’re happy with; they have no budget; or they simply don’t need what you do.
And that’s when the balloon of positivity gets popped.
When I first started talking to potential clients, if I was in a conversation and it sounded like there was no opportunity, I’d feel like a hit a brick wall.
First, I’d feel defeated. I’d gotten all excited at the prospect of a new client, but now I felt the crush of disappointment. And I’d feel dumb. Did I just waste an hour of my time?
But most importantly, I didn’t know what to do now. Where do I take this conversation? Do I just say, “Let me know if something changes?” and walk away?
It took some time for me to learn that even though there’s no immediate opportunity, there are some easy ways to transition the conversation into something that can still build your business, or provide value to the client.
What it is: An introduction to someone who might be a good fit for your product or service. You provide tremendous value to your clients, and you’re inviting your contacts to bring this same value to their contacts.
Who’s a good fit: Nearly everyone. Anyone you talk to, even if they can’t use your service, might know someone who can.
The key: Be specific. Make it easy for them to recognize the types of clients you work with, and ask if there are 1-2 people they might know who could benefit from your services.
What it is: One step less directed than a referral, an introduction is for someone who you don’t know is a good fit or not, so they’re making the intro just to see, then you’ll take it from there.
Who’s a good fit: Nearly everyone. This is a super low pressure tactic -- just an introduction. No big whoop.
The key: Make the ask in a low-key way and focus on seeing if there’s a possible fit.
What it is: A positive statement or endorsement you can use on your website, marketing materials, etc.
Who’s a good fit: People for whom you’ve provided any business value whatsoever. Did a friend call you to “pick your brain” and you helped them think something through? Did you solve someone’s problem or provide feedback on a request? Get a quote from anyone who can say something complimentary about your work or what it’s like to work with you.
The key: Ask if they’d be open to it, then make it super easy by drafting something they can review.
What it is: If you’re creating something for your business or refining something that already exists, invite these potential clients to participate in the process. You can ask for feedback, invite them to be a tester for free, offer a sneak peek… anything to get them involved and invested.
Who’s a good fit: People who could be potential clients down the road, because their feedback will be the most valuable. This really isn’t for friends or family.
The key: Think through who might benefit, and invite them to participate. The key is that you’re inviting them, not asking for a favor.
The good news is that people’s situations are always changing. Someone who has a provider right now might fire them later. Someone whose company doesn't need you right now might move to another company that does. Someone who can’t afford you now might be able to later.
Just because someone’s not a good client prospect now, doesn’t mean they won’t be soon.
If you want to gain the skills and confidence to sign more new clients, download my FREE guide: 3 Steps To Consistently Close More Clients This Year.
You’ll learn the keys I share with every one of my clients, and how I overcame my fear of selling.