Do you offer a great service, but attract too few clients? If so, here’s one way to turn things around… fast!
I was prompted to write about this, after speaking with a client earlier. We talked about what’s happened since she tripled her fees last year. Yes, it took a lot of courage, however, not only is every client now massively more profitable to her, she has never been busier with new clients.
So, why did a 300% increase in her fees result in more clients, rather than fewer clients?
My client is highly experienced and provides an excellent service. However, her fees used to be around the average for her industry.
In other words, she was claiming to offer a top quality service for what sounded like a bargain basement fee. She was giving people a mixed message and creating doubts in their mind.
The kind of people who seek out excellent service and are willing to pay for it, would have ignored my clients former marketing. They would see the service being offered, compare it to the cheapo fee and get suspicious. They’d assume she was another bargain basement provider making claims she couldn’t back up.
Of course, those looking for a cheap provider were not attracted to her either, as they shop around for the lowest fee and hers were close to average.
So, my client had previously failed to attract the best clients and the worst clients. She was left with the overcrowded middle of the market, where it’s exceptionally competitive, low profit, and very hard to stand out.
The lesson here is simple: If you genuinely provide an excellent service and want to attract lots of great clients, you need to make sure that your prices match your promises.
I have an idea to share with you today, which is one of the most powerful I have covered on Jim’s Marketing Blog. If you want to attract more clients, I’m sure you’ll find it extremely useful.
Allow me to explain.
When I speak with a new client or prospective client, I have a 4 word phrase that always captures their attention.
It’s simply this: “Bring me your problems”.
Bring me your problems
The moment a small business owner hears those words, I can almost feel the stress leave their body. Many have wrestled with their business development problems for years. Now, they have help from a renowned business development expert.
They’re no longer guessing. They’re no longer alone. I’m there to solve their marketing and business development problems.
Your business can do the same
If you’re a service provider, you are a professional problem solver. This is true regardless of the kind of services you offer. With that in mind, I have a question for you.
Do you clearly ask your clients [and prospective clients] to bring you their problems?
It’s hard to overstate how powerful those 4 words are and how attractive they are. Why? Because it’s what everyone wants to hear. No one wants to struggle with a problem, so asking them to bring you their problem is providing exactly what they want AND what they need.
Think about that for a moment. Next, figure out how to incorporate that message into your marketing.
When it comes to being a pushy business owner, there are two ways to do it. One of them works extremely well.
Allow me to explain.
1. You can push other people
- Pester them with cold calls.
- Interrupt them with selfish requests.
- Spam them.
- Try and close the sale the first time you speak to them.
- Hassle them for referrals at networking events.
- Hound them on social networks.
2. You can push yourself
When you push yourself, you move forward.
When you push others, they just push you back again.
We live in a golden age for small business owners. Thanks to the Internet, you can find pretty-much anything you need to know without leaving your chair. You can also find talented people, to guide you and your business to success.
Armed with access to the answer to any business problem, what does the average small business owner do with it?
They do exactly the same as they did 20 years ago. Statistics suggest that they spin their wheels or go broke. The numbers vary from country to country, but the story is very similar. [A quick search for your country’s small business survival rate can be a real eye opener.]
Why does this happen?
It happens because the average small business owner isn’t interested in doing things correctly. No. They are interested in doing things comfortably.
These business owners tell themselves a story, that trying something new is too risky. So they decide to stay comfortable and stagnate. This stagnation then ruins their business.
In short: Your success is directly linked to the story you’re telling yourself about the future of your business. If you’re frustrated at your lack of progress, it’s time to tell yourself a better story.
This will help you – Is the story behind your business powerful enough?
Here’s a great question for business owners to ask themselves: “Would people miss my business if I stopped trading?”
One of the best investments you can make in your business, is to constantly look for ways to be irreplaceable. Think of it like this:
- If people want carrot flavour ice cream and you’re the only person who makes it, carrot ice cream lovers would miss you like crazy if you stopped trading.
- However, if people want a predictable, good quality training provider, designer or consultant, etc., it’s relatively simple for them to find another good quality provider.
Not easy, but required
As a small business owner, there is enormous value in finding your equivalent of carrot flavour ice cream.
By being hard to replace, you give your existing clients no reason to look for another provider. Additionally, it is a great deal easier to successfully market a service, which offers unique value.
No, it’s not easy to develop a product or service that is irreplaceable. That’s why your competitors are not doing it and why the opportunity exists for you.
However, if you want to retain more of your clients, to generate more word of mouth recommendations and also earn the fees you deserve, it is required.
There is a powerful success factor behind every great business, which you can implement starting today.
It can be summed up in just 4 words: It’s all about them!
It’s all about them
The most successful business owners have figured it out. They know that their success is always going to be an extension of what they do for their clients. So, they consistently look for ways to be of greater value.
In short: They are more interested in the success of their clients, than they are in their own fees or prices.
Why the me, me, me approach doesn’t work
The least effective business owners are focused on what they can get from their clients or customers.
- They talk about closing the sale, rather than opening the relationship.
- They talk about up-selling, rather than upping the value they provide to their clients.
- They focus on what they can get, rather than what they can give.
That approach comes across in everything they do. As a result, their client retention is poor and they get few referrals from their clients, because we don’t recommend greedy, self-obsessed people to our friends.
Some ideas for developing the ‘them’ approach to business
It starts with an understanding that it’s all about what you do, not what you say. Every business owner claims to be client focused. So, you need to demonstrate that you are passionate about the success of their business.
- Keep in regular contact and if you find they have a problem, offer to help.
- Help them make connections. Think of people you know, who you can introduce them to… then do it!
- Take a little time out every day, to help one of your clients in a way they were not expecting. This can be something as simple as sharing a useful blog post or newsletter article.
- Find something valuable, which has a low delivery cost to you. Then add it to the service they receive from you… at no extra cost.
- Keep your promises. Surprisingly few service providers can be totally relied upon. Become one of this rare group and your clients will notice (and tell their friends).
As the late Zig Ziglar used to say: You can have everything you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.
PS - I recommend you read this: How To Build a Massively Valuable Business, using a More Human Approach.
We remember Roger Bannister today, because he was the first person to run a mile in under 4 minutes.
Apple is the world’s most valuable company today, largely because of profits from the iPhone — the world’s first smart phone. [Here’s the original iPhone press release.]
There are 2 useful lessons here:
- When you are the first to do something, it’s remembered for a very long time. We remember Bannister, even though Australia’s John Landy broke Bannister’s record just 6 weeks later. Landy was faster, yet remained relatively unknown because he wasn’t the first person to go sub 4 minutes.
- It doesn’t have to be perfect. The first iPhone was buggy. It even lacked a basic copy and paste facility for over a year!
This begs the question
What product or service could you be the first to create for your marketplace?
Remember… it doesn’t need to be perfect. It needs to be useful.