This is not some gimmick. I’m going to give you the exact step that is an easy way to get clients, especially when you’re first starting out with your service-based business.
So many people skip over this easy and effective step. They try harder things first, assuming it has to be hard.
You don’t need a website, a speaking engagement, a business card, or a networking event to get some new clients.
I recently had a first coaching session with a client who we discovered was ready enough to have her first customer, but she wasn’t sure how to find customers. I nudged her to try this one idea, described below, and by the time we met the second time, she had two new customers!
I’ll explain the idea, respond to some concerns, and even give you some email templates below.
Here’s the Step in a Nutshell
I’ll explain in full below but here it is in a nutshell: Make sure you announce to the people who already trust you that you’re ready for clients.
Think of at least 15 people you already know, and send them a clear, sincere, and brief email about what you do and what kind of clients you are most suited to help. Ask them to think of a few people to forward the email to, and you’ll soon hear some positive responses and inquiries.
After seeing what happens with the first few messages, you might fine-tune your message, and expand to another set of 15 people. Keep going.
It really is that simple. It’s amazing how often this step is skipped over.
There are people who already know, like, and trust you. If you think you have to get clients primarily by connecting with strangers, you’ll be waiting a long time. Start with where there is already trust.
What to do, in more detail:
Let me respond to some of the concerns you might have about this:
- “But people who know me already know what I do.”
Actually, they mostly don’t grasp it, I promise you. And they would appreciate knowing and would appreciate the opportunity to help in some concrete way. Let them help.
- “I don’t want to bother people with another email.”
If you keep it easy to read, and concrete about exactly what you’re requesting, they will read it and try to help. People love to help when there’s something clear to do! Start with just a few people to test it out, revise as needed, and then widen the circle as you build confidence.
- “I don’t know enough people to tell.”
You probably do. Think about former co-workers, former clients, friends, family, and all kinds of people sitting in your email contact list. Those contacts are more interested than you may think. Go through your contact list and find at least 15 people to start. The more you tell, the better.
- “Is this a bulk email?”
Individualized emails work best. People are more likely to see it and respond to it when it’s customized. You can start with the same template but customize the opening. Yes it takes time. It’s worth it.
- “How many do I need to send?”
If you keep adding in more people, step by step, it should eventually work (IF you have a clear message and clear niche). Patience and perseverance is essential to successful self-employment.
- “Is it OK to send reminders and updates to the same people?”
Reminders and updates are helpful. People might even thank you for the reminder because these are people who already like you and want to help and hear how it’s going. Emails can get lost in the heap, hence the reminders.
8 Tips To Make It Work Better
- Choose people who trust you.
You don’t have to send it to everyone. Think of people who are supportive of you and your ideas. Especially include people who are familiar with your reliability or skills. Former co-workers can be great for this.
- Prioritize people who love to connect people.
Some people naturally love to introduce people to each other. I call them “Connectors.” They get excited when someone wants new connections. Their internal wheels will keep turning until they can match you with someone. In fact, these are the ones to invite to meet up if they’re willing.
- Keep it fairly brief and easy to read.
Try sticking to a max of 5 short paragraphs. Short words and short paragraphs make it easy to scan. If you need to go longer, at least keep the paragraphs short so it’s easy to read. Bullets and headings can also make a longer email easy to read. See email samples below.
- Show your passion and sincerity.
They don’t need (or want) the details, but they do need to feel your sincerity and passion for what you’re doing. Example: “I’m excited to share this…”
- Include a specific and easy invitation for the interested person.
For instance, “I invite them to contact me at [email or phone] for a free sample consult…”
- Just send it, imperfectly.
All you ever need for any next step is “Good enough for now.”
- You can call them too. 😁
Remember, your chosen contacts already like you! The phone still works. Some people answer.
- ***Don’t assume that one email is enough.
Emails get buried. People are busy. They still might be interested. More than one email, or a follow-up phone call, is often needed and it’s not stalking. It’s real life.
If Your Emails Don’t Get Responses
If you’re not getting new inquiries, notice what does happen. Did people respond with questions? Did they say they would forward it?
Consider a follow-up email to everyone to clarify questions that have come up.
Whatever happens is a sign that is useful for you in finding your next step.
A good entrepreneur sees each “problem” as an insight to work with. If no responses, it means one of these:
- You’re expecting instant results and haven’t taken some next steps.
Solution: See tip #8 above.
- Your message is not clear or doesn’t speak to your people.
Solution: You could call one or two of the people and ask for feedback. You could also get help with writing, even from a friend.
- You might be trying to offer your services to the world instead of to a clear niche.
Solution: You could get help to refine your niche.
- You chose people who don’t trust you. I’m guessing this is unlikely but it’s possible.
Solution: Find people who do trust you and ask them for feedback about the email, whether it was clear and what might help.
Tune in to your heart to think about what is off. You’ll know.
More Details and a Sample Email
OK, you want more background and a sample email?
- Sample email requesting referrals for a new service-based business (PDF download)
- Here’s a snippet from Chris Guillebeau’s book, $100 Startup, including a sample email at the bottom: How to Spread the Word About Your Work.
Ready for More Easy Client Attraction Steps?
I wrote another post that takes you through a couple more steps:
3 Quick, Easy, Effective and Free Steps to Get Clients
These tips are for real. No gimmicks. No sales. No charge. Just stuff that has helped me and others, shared from the heart because I hate seeing people struggle so much.