If you're a small business owner and service provider feeling the crunch to get clients now — like right now — you're not alone. Navigating a freelance or service-based business that requires a steady stream of clients is rarely 'steady' at all, and instead, your income oscillates between times of feast (more clients than you can handle) and famine (why doesn't the phone ring?).
We know getting clients can be a tough game. Prospects typically need a lot of TLC and nurturing to become a lucrative client. Building the kind of trust required to sell a customer, especially online, doesn’t happen overnight. Most marketing just doesn’t bring in customers right off the bat.
But what if you’re in a slow period and really need to get some clients in the door—like, now?
Every business goes through sluggish times. Even massive organizations with thousands of employees go through plateaus and downturns. But that doesn’t mean you should give up or wait around, hoping that new clients will walk in the door. Being proactive about getting new clients ensures your “slow times” become few and far between in the long haul.
So, what can you do to get clients in a hurry that will show both short-term revenue and long-term growth for your business?
We’re giving you 10 fast, simple ways to get clients now that will get you through this temporary time of famine (without looking or feeling desperate) while also helping you take your business to the next level.
A sneak peek into these 10 tips…
Let’s go in-depth with these tips below.
1. Find ways to add (even more) value to your existing client base
It costs a lot less to retain current clients than it is to acquire new ones. Concentrate your efforts on your current and previous clients. You know they’re already a fan of your business and willing to pay for your services, so engage them again or deeper. What more or what else can you offer them? Think about what your client truly needs at this point and how you can use your services to address those needs.
For example, let's say you’re a fitness trainer and your client just lost 50 pounds. Now, he wants to muscle up. You helped him lose, now reach out to him to offer programs and advice to help him gain muscle.
Or perhaps you’re a dating coach. Now that your client has found a partner, maybe they need some long-term relationship coaching.
An example email you might send:
Hey, Jenna! I’ve loved all your Instagram posts of you and Jim! So happy we were able to work together to find you such a great partner. I’m starting to offer a relationship program that focuses on maintaining long-term desire and transforming your love life from great to outstanding. I think it would be perfect for you in your budding relationship! (Etc…)
The thing is, you don’t need to add an entirely new product or program in order to get started. Reach out to one or two clients individually who you know could benefit from more value and give them one-on-one attention.
Plus, if they really love this new value you’ve given them, then maybe you can consider turning it into an additional offering in the near future.
2. Ask for referrals from everyone
We know, referrals feel pushy. But asking for referrals is one of the best ways to generate qualified leads that convert quickly to clients. So, ask anyone and everyone for referrals.
Clients are always willing to help you out, especially if they love the value you delivered. You’re not being rude by asking for a referral. They know you’re a business, and they know businesses need clients in order to succeed. If they liked your offerings, they’ll be more than willing to do their part to help you grow.
Interestingly, social psychology studies have shown that asking for a favor enhances someone’s feelings towards you. Asking for “more awesome clients like you” makes your client feel worthy and special. Plus, if they help you, they’re more likely to be invested in your future—which makes them a loyal client moving forward.
Asking for referrals can get you more clients and improve your relationships with current ones.
Ask former clients
Did you reach out to someone who said “no” to what you had to offer? No worries. Thank them for their time—and ask for a referral. They may have said no to you for a million and one reasons, but they might know other partners or individuals who could benefit from your services. You’ve got nothing to lose, and they might have the perfect client waiting for you.
Your friends and family want to see you succeed. They have their own circles and connections. They might not think to send you referrals unless you ask, so don’t be afraid to ask.
Tip: Referral incentives work well to encourage people to send more prospects your way.
3. Reach out to the “lost” ones
No matter what your conversion or close rate is, there are always some prospects that slip through the cracks. Remember that guy who had an initial consultation and never called you back? Or the person who asked for a price quote and then dropped off the radar?
These “lost” prospects still have the potential to be clients. And you’ve already got their info and their initial interest, so reach out to them again. Don’t write them off so fast. They may have forgotten about you, or they had too many obstacles. A little follow-up can put your business top-of-mind again, and you have another opportunity to address any barriers they might have been facing the first time around.
Pro-tip: Personalize the email or phone call to them. Bring up a situation or experience you’d talked about in a previous interaction, like ask them how their pet is doing. The goal isn’t to sell them right off the bat but to re-open the conversation in a friendly, personal way.
If they’re still not interested, what should you do? Ask if they have any referrals!
4. Set up landing pages optimized for lead generation
If you want more clients, you need more leads. ‘Leads’ are people who have shown an interest in your business and have given you their contact information.
Leads won’t necessarily purchase from you right away, so don’t expect overnight clients. But building a lead list is the only way to ensure you have a steady stream of clients coming through the door now and into the future.
Landing pages that are optimized for lead generation are the best way to get potential clients on your lead list. Landing pages have a single marketing purpose and call to action, which streamlines the conversion process for your prospects. Typically, your landing page will offer some sort of lead magnet, like a free eBook or scheduler for an initial consultation. This provides fast, strong value to the prospect in exchange for their email address. Now you have more opportunities to continue to reach out to them.
Learn everything you need to know about creating landing pages that can help you get clients in a hurry with the Leadpages’ Guide to Landing Pages.
5. Forray into new formats
Reaching new audiences involves leaving your comfort zone, exploring new environments, and going to where 'your people' already gather. Whether this is online or in-person, it's important to get into your local community and start spreading the word. Even digital, remote companies can benefit from this kind of “offline” networking.
Some ways to build your credibility in your local community:
- Book a speaking engagement at a relevant conference.
- Join your town’s Chamber of Commerce and/or trade associations.
- Sign-up for a co-working space to meet other business owners.
- Put your business card in coffee shops, restaurants, gyms, and other hot spots that you frequent.
- Get out of your comfort zone and start talking to more people when you go out (yoga classes, pet stores, anywhere). You never know if a client or business partner is hiding in plain sight.
Make sure you’re adding value in every interaction. Don’t just ask for a business card or “beg” for business. Build a relationship one-on-one, and the clients will naturally start rolling in.
6. Throw in an incentive without lowering your price
It’s easy to get a little desperate in times of famine. Do. Not. Cut. Prices.
Too many small business owners will make huge price cuts when they’re hoping to get clients fast because they think it will make people flock to buy from them.
But the opposite is true. If you slash your prices too low (unless you’re a big box store), you’ll end up devaluing your brand, killing your margins, and losing interested clients.
Rather than changing your pricing structure dramatically, consider creating special, limited-time deals. For example, let’s say that you currently offer a free consultation for your coaching clients. Maybe you run a special that new clients can get a free consultation and a first session.
But you’re not going to give away your entire package of 10 coaching calls for $10. You’re giving something a little extra, providing a little more value, while still keeping people interested and opening the door to sell them your package at full-price.
Psst… Come from a place of abundance. No one likes desperation. Focus on adding even more value to clients, and the revenue will boomerang back.
7. Raise your prices
As a matter of fact, while you’re at it, why not raise your prices? It seems counterintuitive—and even a little scary—but it could be worth it. Raising your prices can increase your perceived value and bring in higher quality clients, so you need to land fewer clients to make the same (or more) than you are now.
Keep in mind that pricing is marketing and that if you're raising your prices, you need a solid reason to justify the change—or you risk pushback. Add some value to your offer to justify the increase and consider 'grandfathering in' your oldest clients if you want to ensure they stick around for the long-haul.
Here’s a good way to present a price increase to leads and former clients to get them to take the plunge:
Hey Dylan! How’s your dog Yoda doing? I’m emailing to let you know that I've added several new services and will be raising my prices in March to $xx. I’m still accepting clients, so shoot me a reply to lock in your lower rate now before prices go up. Let me know if you have any questions about my offering (insert offering title or description).
This instills both a sense of exclusivity—since your literal value is going up—and urgency—since there’s an impending date.
People who were on the fence about purchasing will be forced to make a decision quickly, and they’re more likely to respond with questions, follow-ups, or a purchase.
8. Create and sell an online course
This one is a little bit more of a time investment, but a lot of coaches and individuals find it’s a great business builder. Create an online course, where you can teach others about your field. If you’re a life coach, you can bring people through daily exercises or teach the psychology behind meditation. If you’re a chef, you can teach knife skills and your family recipes.
Whatever it is that you’re good at, people want to know and learn from you!
An online course works well for three reasons:
First, you can make money from selling the course itself, which can help maintain a steady flow of passive income. (You might not sell a lot, but every penny helps when growing, right?)
Second, teaching a course proves credibility and demonstrates authority. This can help establish you as a leader in your industry and solidify your branding. This works especially well if “you” are your brand.
Third and finally, you’re spreading awareness about you and your business. If people see or take your course on another platform, like Udemy, they will then likely do more research about you. Then, you can capture them as leads and turn them into paying clients (who already love your course and what you have to offer).
9. Send out handwritten letters
At Leadpages, we’re obsessed with the digital marketing world. But we also see the value of pairing the digital with the “good, old fashioned way” of advertising.
Handwritten letters or postcards are a personal touch that show you go the extra mile to care about your clients and your leads. Maybe you send out a thank you card to a client thanking them for your business and asking for referrals (remember the goal is to get clients now). Or you send out a birthday card to a former client who you want to reignite. Or send out some postcards to your neighbors that encourage people to visit your website or landing page.
If you don’t have someone’s physical address, even a personalized email works well to show your leads that you care about them.
10. Pay for online advertising
Ever heard the saying, “You need to spend money to make money?” It’s not always true, but sometimes it’s the ticket you need to launch your business out of stagnation.
If you’re just not seeing the online traffic that you desire, you may want to pay for PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns through Google Ads or sponsor a few of your Facebook or Instagram posts. These are fairly inexpensive to run, and you’ll usually see a pretty good return on your investment.
The strategy here is to spend money on high-quality traffic through relevant channels, which you can then send to your landing pages that are optimized for conversion. This is a good way to bring people through the door, leverage your landing pages, and then get more clients now who are qualified and ready to buy.
Get the scoop on Facebook landing page strategies that boost your ROI on your ad campaign.
How to get clients now
The takeaways for how to get clients fast:
- Find ways to add even more value to your existing client base. Re-sell to your clients.
- Ask for referrals from everyone, including current clients, former clients, friends, and even strangers.
- Reach out to leads or former clients that may have fallen through the cracks.
- Set up landing pages that are optimized for lead generation. (This is the easiest to do right now and shows both short-term and long-term success.)
- Get out in your community and network locally.
- Throw in an incentive without lowering your price.
- Consider raising your prices.
- Create and sell an online course.
- Send out handwritten, personalized letters or emails.
- Pay for online advertising to pull in traffic. (This works well if you already have awesome landing pages where you can send the traffic.)