Your own network, even your friends, often forget what it is you do.
Or if they remember, it’s too rarely, and not when they’re talking to someone who would be an ideal client of yours, which is when you want them to be thinking about you!
So if you aren’t keeping in touch with your network, how will they remember to refer you new clients?
Out of the hundreds of entrepreneurs and service providers I have personally coached, I can count on one hand (i.e. very few!) the number of people who, before they started working with me, were consistently and personally keeping in touch with their network about what they do.
Personal outreach is a much higher quality of contact than just seeing your posts on social media, and it’s what can get you clients asap. Briefly, here is the fastest way to gain new clients:
Personally reach out to 50 individuals, with a message customized for each person.
It’s about being a blessing to others… to be of genuine usefulness to them or to their friends.
Here are 4 categories of people to reach out to, and what you might say to them…
1. Supportive Friends
Who are the friends that are most supportive of your business?
To get some ideas:
- Whom have you been texting?
- Look at your email software’s “sent” folder — anyone there who is supportive?
- Open your phone’s “history” — whom have you called in the past few months?
- Look at your list of Facebook friends
…which of them would likely love to help you, if only they knew how?
Here are some thoughts of what to say in your message to them…
As you look at these ideas, be sure to then write the message in your voice and that feels natural to that particular relationship.
This is where a lot of people trip up — they just follow a template and ignore the relationship that is there. It’s best that you be natural and true to that friendship. Be real, not salesy.In essence, what you’re trying to communicate is:
- I would love your help with a little bit of outreach, to fill some client openings.
- I love what I do, and I’m great at helping _____ [this type of person]____.
- Here are a few of the most important problems that my service helps people to solve… [list them in bullet points]
- Here’s what a few of my clients have said… [give 2–3 short testimonials]
- Do you have friends who could use this kind of help?
- Let me know if you have any questions I can answer, to make it easier for you to think of whom would be ideal to introduce to me.
- Here’s the simplest way to introduce them to me (e.g. send them an email and cc me, and I’ll take it from there.)
- I’ll take great care of the people you send me!
Remember: the more you respect someone, the more you’ll customize that email just for them.
The only exception is your email newsletter. When someone subscribes to that, they are expecting the same email to sent out to all your subscribers.
But when you are personally reaching out to someone, not via an email newsletter, it is more respectful to customize the message as much as possible, given the relationship you have with them.
Write from the heart, and take into account what you understand about them.
2. Your Former Clients
Given the principles as above (i.e. use your own voice, not this exact template, and customize it for the person), here is the gist of what to communicate:
- How’s it going with [the issue you worked with them on]?
- Here’s a piece of content I thought you might find helpful for that issue…. [give link to one of your articles/videos, or someone else’s content that you found helpful.]
- I’ve got availability in my business right now. If you’d like to schedule something, here’s the link… (or I’ve got an upcoming event and thought of you… here’s the link.)
- Let me know if I can answer any questions!
- Either way, I’d love to hear how you are doing. Reply when you have a moment!
3. Your Colleagues
For this activity, I define a “colleague” as someone you don’t know as well as a “supportive friend”, but someone you feel resonant with, and has a network/clientele of people similar to your ideal clients.
Where are your colleagues? Find them in:
- First, go to their Facebook profile, and scroll down to see what they’ve been posting lately. Keep scrolling until you find something that you personally resonate with. It could be a life event of theirs that you want to say something about. Or some help they asked for, that you could come to their aid. Or some topic they posted on, that you have a helpful opinion about.
2. Send them a Facebook Private Message:
- Start with what you felt really wanted to say or to support, based on what you saw from their recent postings.
- Say that you’d like to reconnect with them, and see how you might support each other’s businesses. For example, you could give feedback on each other’s websites or services. Or you could talk about whether there might be any referral possibilities to one another.
4. Influencers (think of them as future colleagues)
These are people you don’t know yet, who have an audience of your ideal clients (doesn’t have to be a huge audience), and who doesn’t do exactly what you do.
It would make sense for them to share your stuff, if only they trusted you and your offerings.
Reach out to them. They won’t have the opportunity to support you, and for you to support them and their audience… unless you give them that opportunity.
One way is to go to LinkedIn Groups and use the search function at the top of that page, to find a general topic that is similar to what you provide, e.g. someone who does Energy Healing might search “Spirituality” on LinkedIn. Then, you’ll see groups and how many members per group. The owners of those LinkedIn groups are able to send an email announcement to about 80% of their members… so essentially you can see from the search results how big their email audience is…
Click on the group then click on the Owner’s linkedin profile. Then find their website (or google them) and find their email address.
When you look at their LinkedIn profile, if you have a mutual connection that might be willing to introduce the two of you, do it that way. Otherwise, sending an email directly to them is fine, or send a private message to them on Facebook (or to their Facebook Business Page) —
- Give them genuine praise for the group they’ve built / their online presence.
- They seem like someone who might be open to collaboration.
- Invite them to reply if they’re open to exploring possible ways to support each other. Or directly give them a link to schedule a “get to know you” 15–30 minute call with you.
When they reply back, you might ask them:
Are you open to receiving commissions, if there is something I can offer that your audience would love?
Be open to offering your program or service (e.g. 1 or 2 sessions) to them for free, to get a taste of what you do.
What’s perhaps the only real thing that is holding you back from this activity? Your own internal issues. And remember: You have your own mental/emotional/energy tools to resolve such issues. Or, reach out to a friend, colleague, or coach to have them apply their tools on your hesitations, doubts, fears.
I’ve noticed that the entrepreneurs that are the most successful are the most fearless ones…
Remove your fear… and replace it with love.
By lovingly taking the actions above, you’ll gain new clients very soon.
Remember: in the beginning of your business, before you have a large enough audience who loves your content and naturally shares it forward, you need to do more personal outreach, like a rocket that expends most of its fuel in the launch process, then becomes far more energy efficient once it’s in orbit.
Keep contacting different people, in a service-oriented way, until someone says Yes. Always make it a custom message, to respect that person and what you know about them.
And keep updating the way you do this, as you experiment and learn.
Some business gurus like Gary Vaynerchuk encourage us to reach out to 1,000 people and maybe expect 10 to say Yes. Seems too extreme to me… so I’m asking you to just reach out to 50 or 100 for now… and if you follow my suggestions above, you will very likely get new clients.
The best way of doing all this is with no expectations or requirements from that person you’re reaching out to. Do it from a sense of service for them or their network.Remember that when it’s the right fit, you are a blessing to them.
You won’t know until you try!
Originally published at www.georgekao.com.