Winning clients is no mean feat - especially in today's market. But with so many quality competitors, how do you stand out from the crowd to attract new clientele? To help answer this question, we've unpacked how effective communication can help you attract prospects and ultimately win new clients.
As we explore each stage of the process (from marketing and social media to business referrals and birthday cards), this deep dive into client relations will demonstrate how nurturing your relationships can effectively expand your business.
Attracting new prospects
Before you can start converting leads, you need to attract new prospects to your business. To do this, you need to undergo some self-assessment.
With that in mind, the following steps will help to uncover any flaws in your current marketing strategies and provide actionable steps to improve your chances of attracting leads and winning clients:
1. Examine your strengths and weaknesses
To successfully attract and win new clients, you need to capitalise on your strengths and confront your weaknesses. Although this sounds simple enough, it's easier said than done.
Addressing the flaws in your business can be uncomfortable and costly to rectify. However, left unresolved, these points of weakness can cost your business far more in the long run. So, where should you begin?
Reach out to prospective clients who decided against working with you or opted for a competitor instead. They can pinpoint exactly where you went wrong, making them the perfect resource for honest and reliable feedback. Try and create a list of 10 different reasons why people decided not to work with you (despite your best efforts) and start strategising solutions.
Similarly, if you want to win new clients, you need to promote your strengths. Ask yourself, what makes your business unique? What problems are you best at resolving? Again, ask for feedback, but this time from your latest clients. Use their answers to create a list of 10 reasons they chose your firm over your competitors. Once you have your list, start advertising these strengths and incorporating them into your marketing strategies.
2. Refine your marketing skills
We all know the role marketing plays in attracting prospective clients. But what if we told you effective marketing was the secret to converting leads too?
Although attracting new clients is the primary aim of marketing, it's not the only benefit of a successful marketing strategy. Get your marketing right, and prospective clients won't just be curious - they'll want to start establishing relationships and paying for your services!
So, how do you create a marketing strategy that will motivate prospective clients to engage with your business?
- Focus on your target audience - it's far more productive to cater to a specific audience than to try and appeal to the masses. Work out which clients you want to attract. Who can you help the most? (And who can charge better fees too?)
- Aim to resolve your client's issues - it isn't enough to advertise your services anymore. To attract new clients, you need to show them how you can make their lives easier by providing solutions to their problems.
- Educate introducers about your target audience - networking is only effective if you're getting quality referrals. So, be specific about the clients you're trying to attract.
- Raise your visibility within your target market - in the age of social media, free content and marketing - if people don't know who you are and they can't find you online, they will question your credibility.
3. Develop your online presence
Your online presence says a lot about your company - it establishes your brand, communicates your values and sets the standard for the rest of your business. Therefore, if you want to attract and win new clients, you must establish a positive online presence - starting with your website.
Your website is the first place people visit when they want to learn about your business - so you want to make a positive first impression. To ensure you achieve that lasting first impression, start by asking yourself these questions:
- Is your website easy to use and navigate?
- Is it visually appealing?
- Does it appeal to your target audience?
- Are your contact details readily available?
Once you've answered these questions (and ironed out any necessary creases), it's time to get an outside opinion. Ask someone from your target audience to review your website. Their objective feedback will help you tweak your website to better suit your target audience and attract new clientele.
Social media will also help draw traffic to your website. By being active on websites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, you can connect with potential clients, share helpful resources and show a more personable side to your business. To gain the most from your social media channels, make sure to:
- Post regular content (blogs, images, videos)
- Share relevant links
- Reply to comments and DMs
- Interact with other businesses and forums
4. Establish relationships with potential introducers
When establishing a relationship with an introducer, the end goal is to develop a mutually beneficial connection that will result in a steady stream of future referrals. However, to achieve your desired outcome (and win new clients), you must be able to form a genuine relationship with your contact - not just sell to them. But how?
Firstly, you want to spend your initial meetings getting to know them and their work - after all, you're not going to gain referrals and win new clients if you don't like each other. Your focus should be on these three pillars: their credibility, their ability to refer and your mutual relationship. To assess whether they fulfil each requirement, as yourself these questions:
- Can I trust that they will deliver if I send them work?
- Are they in a position to regularly refer work? And if the relationship develops, will they refer me work?
- Can I get to know and like this person?
Many of the hiccups that occur because of referral friction (whether it's political or educational, down to a lack of understanding or a poor relationship) can be avoided by asking these questions and really getting to know your introducers. After your first few meetings, you should be able to assess whether pursuing this relationship is a worthwhile investment and whether or not it will improve your chances of winning clients.
Converting leads into clients
You've invested your time, effort and resources into attracting prospective clients - but how do you convert these leads to paying customers?
The good news is you've already laid most of the groundwork! This next stage of the process isn't about convincing people why they should choose your firm - it's about being at the forefront of their minds when they're ready to buy (because, unfortunately, not every prospect you meet will be immediately ready to buy).
Keeping in touch with prospects, nurturing your connections and going the extra mile is the perfect way to remain at the forefront of people's minds and win new clients. So, to offer you some inspiration (and help you win new clients), here are our favourite ways to keep in touch with prospects:
1. Reach out via social media
As mentioned previously, social media is a great way to establish your online presence, build credibility and connect with your prospective (and current) clients. So, to help you convert your prospects into clients here is a breakdown of how we like to nurture our online relationships based on their platform:
- Connect with them on LinkedIn
- Like/comment/share their updates
- Share their blog posts with your network
- Partake in community discussions with them
- Comment on their blog posts
- Send them relevant blog posts you have written and attach a personalised note
- Share their blog posts with your network
- Offer to write them a piece for their blog (and visa versa)
- Add them on Facebook
- Like/comment/share their status updates and blogs
- Join the networking groups they frequent
- Follow them on Twitter
- Add them to your 'prospects' Twitter list and review it once a day
- Retweet any relevant updates and blog posts
2. Provide value beyond your services
Nowadays, providing a high-quality service isn't enough to impress potential clients. People want companies that not only fulfil their promises but perform beyond expectations.
The best way to exceed expectations is to provide additional value beyond your standard services. You can do this effectively (and inexpensively) by compiling any of the relevant resources and contacts you have and forwarding them to your clients and prospects. By doing so, you're not only helping the recipient maintain their business, but you're also providing them with the necessary tools to expand and grow.
Here are 3 ways we like to provide our prospects with additional value:
Find an introduction for them
As you know, networking takes a lot of time and effort. If you can provide a prospective client with a relevant (and reliable) contact, not only are you saving them time, you're providing them value beyond your area of expertise.
Find a referral for them
Referrals are essential when growing a business. So, if you can provide your prospects with genuine referrals, you're in with a far greater chance of winning clients. Ask around and see if any of your contacts would be interested in their services - you have nothing to lose and a lot to gain!
Invite them to your webinar
Providing content-rich webinars to your prospective clients is a simple and effective way of converting leads into clients. However, to provide the most value, you must design (and promote) the webinar with your prospects in mind. So ask yourself, what issues are your clients currently facing? And which can you help them solve?
Of course, for this to become an effective way of winning clients, you need to ensure people show up. Emails and status updates are the perfect way to remind your prospects of an upcoming webinar/event.
3. Go the extra mile
Extraordinary service isn't just about providing quality services, reliable contacts and helpful information - it’s personal.
Showing a genuine interest in your prospects and their personal lives can really set you apart from your competitors. Why? Because, although your other strategies for winning clients still hold great value - it's often the little gestures (the personalised notes, the phone calls after a big meeting) that end up being the deciding factor for many prospective clients. So, with that in mind, here are some meaningful gestures that can help you win new clients:
- Send them a birthday card
- Invite them to an informal lunch (or breakfast, or dinner)
- Send them a small gift for a personal achievement or event
- Have their favourite drink and biscuit available when they visit your offices
- Express an interest in their hobbies/travels/loved ones
4. Maintaining your client relationships
After investing so much time into attracting prospects and winning clients, you want to make sure they stick around. One of the most effective ways to create customer loyalty is through maintaining meaningful relationships with your current clients. But with so many contacts and clients, how do you keep on top of client relations?
The answer is through effective organisation. We highly recommend using software (either a spreadsheet or CRM system) to record details about your clients (and prospects) and when you last contacted them. For example, if you notice you haven't heard from a prospective client in a few weeks, give them a call and see how they're doing. Similarly, if you're planning an event and one client has specific dietary requirements, store that information for future events and meetings.
With a clear outline of your client relations, it's far easier to keep in touch, chase loose threads and maintain genuine relationships. You can also share this information with your team to improve efficiency and ensure extraordinary client care is maintained throughout the entire business.
Client care is the key to converting leads
Nowadays, winning clients is less about technical abilities and impressive statistics. Instead, the focus has shifted to client care. Why? Because every customer wants to feel valued! And what's more attractive than a business whose central focus is their clients?
So call up your prospects, invite your clients to lunch and learn what drew them to your business. You can utilise their feedback to adapt accordingly and provide genuine value to new and existing customers - value that extends beyond the traditional services you offer.
Although keeping in touch with your prospects does take time, the rewards will come back tenfold once you've developed a large (and loyal) client base.