This episode is all about client acquisition. But, before we dive into that, we have a little heart to heart about authenticity. You will not be successful in acquiring your best clients, if you are not authentically yourself.
One more time, for the people in the back!
You will not be successful in client acquisition, if you are lying about who you are. Period. Full stop.
Your authenticity will not only attract the right clients, but more importantly it will repel the wrong ones.
Now that that’s out of the way, lets’ get into the top 10 ways you can acquire clients (and 5 bonus ways you can f**k that up).
1:04 — 1. Forge Relationships
BE the referral source
BE the service provider people tell their friends about
Word of mouth rules all other channels
2:55 — 2. Look for People in Trouble
You have a set of skills that can save people’s butts, and there’s a lot of butts that need saving out there. Jump in there! These are services that people will be so grateful for, and often make lifetime clients.
4:20 — 3. Connect to People in Adjacent Industries
Network with people OUTSIDE your industry. Are your clients at these conferences? No. If you want to make websites for Plastic Surgeons, go to a Surgeons conference.
5:36 — 4. Joining Facebook Groups
Beware, this is a fine line to walk. Be authentic, help people in the group. Provide enormous value. As a general rule, provide 10 times the value for every ask (or offer). Also, please read the terms of engagement, as many groups do not allow promotion of any kind.
Or, set up your own group!
8:50 — 5. Working for Free or at discounted rates
This can be quite controversial, but I do believe in working for lower rates on projects that you truly love. Please don’t begrudgingly take on a free project, but by all means if it’s in a niche you want to excel in, or a cause you believe in, I say take it.
Also, I prefer free (or pro-bono) as opposed to discounted. Pshycoligically, I’ve found people value full price the most, free the second most, and discounted the least.
In any case, convey the value. And when invoicing, include the full amount with the discounts. They need to see what they would have paid had it have been full price.
11:45 — 6. Be reliable, accessible, accountable, on time, and on budget. AKA have integrity.
The fortunate thing is you just need to be one notch above average to be good. The reality (especially in the world of web development) is that there are so many bad ones out there. This can work against us in the sense that people become quite apprehensive about development services in general, but it can also work in our favour in that it only takes meeting the above criteria to be miles ahead of the competition.
12:36 — 7. Empathy, Empathy, Empathy
Your clients have stressful lives, they are often trying to launch their own businesses. You have a deep understanding of what they are going through, then show it!
Use collaborative language. Have “we” conversations. It’s not us, vs them.
15:30 — 8. Drop the technical “mumbo jumbo”
Clients can feel helpless against the language that you use. This will make them feel frustrated, un-empowered and helpless. Learning to talk to your clients in lamens terms will put you head and shoulders above others, for the sheer fact that it instills confidence in your clients, and allows them to be empowered and informed.
Try to use metaphors and comparisons instead of technical terms.
18:04 — 9. Pair up with someone that makes your work look good
We a re not creating our work in a silo. If you are a developer, pair up with a good designer. If you’re a designer, pair up with a good photographer.
Finding people in the adjacent industries will elevate our own work, as well as theirs.
19:26 — 10. Propose and adjust, adjust, adjust
When your proposal is rejected, get feedback! Ask the clients if it was strictly a cost issue, or if they felt there were components/features missing, do they need social proof…
Then… implement the changes! The proposal is a living/breathing document, which will always be changing
Top 3 things NOT to do when acquiring clients
22:00 — 1. Don’t change your personality to what they want, instead be more curious about their needs.
22:45 — 2. Don’t claim that you can do it all
24:30 — 3. Don’t ignore your gut. It knows before you do. You get gut feeling when something in your core values and identity is not aligned with the person you are presented with. Listen to that.