To read an updated version of this post, click here.
As an authentic business, you are by definition doing something unique, possibly offering a service or product that has never before been offered.
By definition, this means that people aren’t used to buying your product, and it won’t be as easy to market as a mainstream service or commodity product.
How then can you actually get clients, and have it occur on a consistent basis? In this post I’ll describe 3 important pieces to the puzzle.
Ask yourself which of the following are missing in your business, and work to fill those gaps…
Before anyone will hire you or buy from you, they need to have enough trust in your business.
Trust with someone (or an audience) can be built in various ways:
- You’ve created content that is relevant to them. It’s helpful, or inspiring, or deeply meaningful to them.
- You’ve shown yourself as authentic in your content or your marketing. They feel you’re being honest and true to who you are.
- You’ve been showing up consistently in your content, or email newsletters, or this could even apply for in-person networking.
Your Consistency = Your Reliability, in your audience’s mind.
- You’ve gotten endorsements (positive mentions, testimonials, recommendations, positive reviews) from people or sources that they trust. This requires you to do some networking, perhaps gifting some of your services to influencers who have an audience you want to reach.
- Your visual branding looks trustworthy to them. This will depend on what other brands they trust, and how your branding measures up to what they’re used to seeing.
You don’t need to have all of the above.
Excellence in any one of the above can build enough trust to make enough sales. Or you can aim to be decent in several of these.
Which of the above factors can you improve most easily, to build trust with your audience?
You are offering a product or service that is aligned with what they are used to buying or can imagine themselves buying.
This sounds obvious, but it’s hard to do, especially if you’re selling a unique transformational service: by and large people still aren’t used to buying “coaching” or “mentoring” or “healing” services or programs yet.
How do you break through when you’re offering a new service that people aren’t used to buying?
Here are some ideas:
- Offer your expertise in a format that many people (in your audience) are used to buying. Common examples are Books, eBooks, Audio Books, and Online Courses. Then, once they buy one of these things (assuming they have enough trust in you to do so), and they have a positive experience of buying from you, they’re more likely to buy other things from you, that they hadn’t previously thought of buying, e.g. Coaching, Healing, Mentoring or a Group Program. It can be enlightening for you to have conversations (or use a survey) with your audience to find out what they have bought / are used to buying, that is related to your area of expertise.
- Describe what you do, in your content and marketing, in ways that help your ideal clients envision themselves also experiencing your service. For example, tell stories in your content about your work with your clients (keep them anonymous unless they’ve given you permission.) Or interview your happy and willing clients to share their story of working with you. I have a video series like this that I call Client Lessons.
- Offer samples of what you do. You can let your audience/network know that you are giving away a limited number of free 1–1 sessions, for example. Or record a Zoom call (video or just audio) with you and a willing client (or supportive friend) where you are actually doing your service for that person, and if you have their permission, share that video or audio in your content and marketing, so that others can get a taste of what it’s like to work with you.
- Offer a live (in person or online) group experience that is free or low cost, where you are demonstrating your expertise, giving them an experience they’ll find useful or be delighted by. Example of a free one is Ruth Toledo Altschuler, a Flower Essence Practitioner, who offers free online Healing Circle experiences. An example of a low-cost experience is my online workshops.
- Encourage your existing clients to refer you to their friends. There are many ways to do this. One example: Give your happy clients a Gift Certificate that they can hand to their friends. Everyone wins: your clients might enjoy letting their friends in on a deal for a service they believe in, those friends who need your service get to try it out, and you get new clients.
- If you don’t have any clients yet, or not enough clients to be able to easily do the above actions, then try this: Ask the people you know if they are willing to try out your service, without charge, for the purpose of you developing some possible case studies. Even if they aren’t willing to share their name, you can describe the case studies, in your content and marketing, in a way that keeps their privacy.
You can get clients just by doing any one of the above enough to become excellent at it. Try different ways until you can commit to doing one or more of the above consistently.
If your audience doesn’t know about your offering, or hasn’t seen it lately, you’re making it harder for them to say Yes to hiring you.
I find that many of you (in my audience) seem to be having this problem: you aren’t letting your audience know, often enough, how they can work with you!
If you don’t invite them to the party, would they feel welcome? How do you know?
Once you are doing the above — building trust and finding alignment — then I encourage you to get into a rhythm, a habit of inviting your audience to your offerings (your services, programs, products.)
Ways to invite:
- Include a mention of your offering(s) in your regular email newsletter.
- Have a rhythm of posting about your offering(s) on your Facebook business page
- Have a rhythm of personally contacting your biggest supporters and past clients and referral sources. For example, if you have 50 people you want to personally keep in touch with every 3 months, then it only requires you to touch base with 4 people per week. Very doable. You’ll be better at keeping in touch than the vast majority of business owners.
Do you have questions about any of the above? Let me know.
The most important thing is to get started. Re-read this article and see what pieces of the puzzle you’re missing, and get working on it. Remind yourself of how helpful your service will be to your ideal client, if only they trusted you enough and understood your service enough to say Yes.
To receive the newest content once a week, or his best content once a month, Subscribe to George Kao’s Email Newsletter.