The 3 essential systems for getting clients
I’m going to do something unusual in this post. I’m going to reveal my actual results from my first 3 years as a consultant, and share the 3 essential systems I use for getting clients. I’ll reveal even more during next week’s live webcast mini-course on getting clients (see below to save your spot).
Looking back at my first year consulting, I didn’t have any idea what I was doing or how to get clients. I did get a handful of clients, but I hadn’t yet figured out a reliable way to bring in clients. Over the next couple of years though, I got better at getting clients. I experimented, tried lots of different strategies, and quietly documented my results.
You can see what happened here:
You can see that those results are COMPLETELY different than what most freelancers/consultants get. Everyone complains about the “feast or famine” cycle.
Here are just a few recent payments clients have sent in the past couple weeks. These are fairly typical, though I have some client projects where the payments are greater:
You can see the consistent growth in revenue and number of clients in the graphs above.
Again, this is NOT what you see with 98% of freelancers and consultants.
So how was I able to achieve these results?
Did I just work more? Of course not.
The difference was in the systems I used to build my consulting business.
Why am I sharing this?
After I began getting the incredible, life-changing results in my own consulting business while seeing others struggle (and many of them give up in frustration), I started this blog.
I want to help you create your success and help you create the kinds of the amazing changes I’ve been able to create in my own life by building a successful consulting business. Things like:
- quitting my day job
- QUADRUPLING my former salary (and then some)
- having the flexibility to volunteer in my kids’ schools
- being able to work when, where, and how much I want
That’s why I give away so much info for free: your success makes me more successful. I don’t usually talk about my revenue anymore, because I’m focusing on YOUR success. That’s why I created Client Pipeline Mastery, my premium course. Your success is a measure of my success. When you win, I win.
I only share my results to show that this is realistic for you.
I’ve gotten consistent results because I’ve built systems, and I’m sharing some of them with you today.
I had never started a business (and was even scared to)
When I started, I actually didn’t think I could start a business.
I thought running a business was something “other” people did: ambitious people, people who were great at networking, real go-getters.
But not me, since I’m cautious, risk-averse, had never taken a business class, and had never sold anything.
I hadn’t even started a lemonade stand.
But because I focused on strategies and systems rather than advice from “experts” (who haven’t achieved anything), I was able to grow my business. My consulting business even grew 47% during the worst recession in the past 70 years:
You only need a few clients to create life-changing results
You’ll notice from the graphs above that I didn’t have that many clients my first few years consulting.
TRUTH: You don’t need many clients if you want to:
- quit your day job or
- replace your salary
That’s because the annual and lifetime value of each client is 10’s of thousands, sometimes over $100,000. So you do NOT need lots of clients.
I earned my first $100k with just 14 clients, working part-time.
How much time does it really take to get clients?
How much time do I spend finding clients?
Do I spend 4 hours, 8 hours, or 12 hours every week tweaking my website, cold-calling, emailing, posting to social media, PPC, SEO, networking, or channeling the universe’s energy?
How much time do I spend on prospecting to get clients? ZERO.
How is that possible? Because of systems.
I’ve created systems that now automatically bring qualified, high-value prospects to me. By the time prospects reach out to me, they’ve for the most part convinced themselves that I’m the right person. That’s why I can convert 90% of my prospects to clients.
In Client Pipeline Mastery (which I’ll re-open for a short time next week), I uncover these kinds of insights and walk you through, step-by-step how to implement your own systems.
Have you ever struggled to get consulting clients?
Of course you have–I did too.
98% of freelancers & consultants scramble to get clients. They’d love to quit their day jobs, but unfortunately, they often give up in frustration after struggling to create consistent income.
People who struggle to get clients usually say things like:
- “I just need to figure it out”, or
- “I don’t have time”, or
- “I’m not a salesperson”
Or they end up chasing shiny things (Pinterest) that don’t produce results.
TRUTH: You’re struggling because you’re not using systems and being strategic. Maybe you’re jumping all over the place. I understand that–we’ve all been there, scrambling to get clients and generate revenue, doing anything that seemed like it made sense.
The 3 essential systems for getting clients
First, as with any system, it’s important not to over-complicate it. Keep it simple.
Here are the 3 essential systems for getting clients:
- deeply understand your niche
- identify marketing channels
- find your prospects’ biggest problems
I cover these in far more detail in Client Pipeline Mastery, my premium course that I’ll be re-opening for a few days next week.
System #1: Deeply understand your niche
Yes, you say, I already have a niche: small business owners.
That, my friend, is NOT a niche.
Here’s an example of a niche: non-national restaurants with 3-5 locations in only 1 city
What’s the difference?
If you’re targeting a niche like I mentioned above, you can already predict some of the problems they’re struggling with that you might be able to help them solve:
- growing by opening additional locations or expanding existing locations
- human resources staffing and consistent policies & procedures across the company’s locations
- scaling business systems (payroll, inventory, staffing, scheduling, marketing) while controlling time & personnel costs to manage operations
KEY INSIGHT: The more specific your niche, the better, but you’ll also need green-light criteria to ensure your niche is worthwhile. What do I mean by green-light criteria? Here’s what I use:
- adequate size,
- profitable (i.e., able to pay for services), and
- willingness to pay for services.
In Client Pipeline Mastery, I uncover the exact steps you can take and tools you can use to determine the green-light criteria for any niche.
System #2: Identify marketing channels
“But I’m already ON Facebook, Twitter, have a website, and joined the Chamber of Commerce,” you say.
Yes, those are marketing channels, but are they the right ones for your niche?
You need to find what the BEST marketing channels are that consistently bring high-value prospects TO YOU.
That’s a key point: Get prospects to come to you. This way, by the time you talk to them, they’re already pre-qualified and you have a far higher conversion rate.
My conversion rate is over 90%. The prospects who don’t become clients are low-value, and I can decide to refer them to competitors who are willing to take any work (see previous post about my 3 huge mistakes). You don’t want to fight over scraps; let your competitors do that.
KEY INSIGHT: Identify & test marketing channels to know which consistently produce the best prospects. Then, focus your energy on ONLY those channels where you’re getting clients (your highest-value clients). As you get more advanced, you can create systems to automate those channels so that you spend virtually no time sourcing prospects: you only talk to them after they’ve qualified themselves and reached out to you. This is how my marketing works, and I’ll reveal my exact strategies in next week’s live webcast (yes, it’s free, but no recording will be available). See below to register.
Client Pipeline Mastery pulls back the curtain on the exact step you can take to create these kind of systems for your own consulting business.
System #3: Find your prospects’ biggest problems
People care about THEIR problems, not your skills. Like I mentioned in earlier posts, I made this mistake early on, and I see 95% of freelancers & consultants make this mistake.
You already know the result: no clients, and just a trickle of consulting work.
Do you know why you can’t sell? Because you’re pushing your agenda on prospects. I know, sometimes it feels desperate when you need to get some revenue.
Here’s a secret: I’m not a “born salesperson.” But I still convert 90% of prospects, most of whom turn into 5-figure and 6-figure clients.
How do I do it? I have specific, systematic ways I talk to clients. Specific scripts and questions I use to uncover their biggest problems. Problems they desperately want solved.
The result? It doesn’t even feel like selling. Prospects convince themselves they want to work with me. They say things like:
- “When can you start?”
- “How soon can you send a proposal?”
- “What’s your availability over the next couple weeks–we’d like to get going ASAP.”
KEY INSIGHT: If you focus on the things prospects care most about and are desperate to solve, it feels like there’s no “sales” necessary: you’re just highlighting the problems they want to go away, and subtly demonstrating how you can make those problems go away. There’s no need for sleazy sales tactics. You can sell ethically.
Again, I cover the exact steps and scripts you can use in Client Pipeline Mastery, my premium course. I’ll share some details during Tuesday’s free mini-course webcast (see below to register).
Notice how powerful these systems are
The results I’ve gotten have nothing to do with:
- being a “born salesperson” (I’ve seen evidence that the typical “salesperson” approach actual kills high-value sales compared to the approach I teach),
- being connected to the “right” people, or
- some woo-woo channeling of the universe’s energy into a golden dewdrop of serendipity.
These results are the product of working strategically to create systems.
Systems that create predictable results and can even be automated.
You CAN create a profitable consulting business
TRUTH: People who learn how to systematize their business:
- make a better living,
- have more fulfilling lives, and
- reap the majority of rewards while others fight for scraps.
This is because systems let you leverage your time and effort to create outsized results.
This how you can get 5- and 6-figure clients to come to you instead of having to seek them out. By the time they come to you, they’re already pre-qualified and confident that you’re the person they want to work with.
You can create your own “luck.” At least this is how it looks to people on the outside who don’t know how you’re doing it. Others who see these kinds of results say things like: “Wow, they’re lucky they can work for themselves / quit that job they hate / get so many clients / etc.”
It’s not luck. It’s strategic focus on building key systems.
FREE: Mini-course this Tuesday (4/1/2014):
Creating a Consistent Pipeline of Clients (even if you have limited time)
This Tuesday, 4/1/2014, at 9 p.m. Eastern, I’m going pull back the curtain on my own consulting business like I’ve never done before.
A consistent pipeline of clients is possible, even if, like most of us, you’ve got a busy life: family and friends, a full-time job, or other responsibilities.
During Tuesday’s live webcast, I’ll show you how, including:
- The “expert” advice you can skip.
- How to create systems that bring clients TO YOU, even if you don’t have a single client right now, and have no idea where to start.
- I’ll reveal the exact strategies I use to get consulting clients (and my specific revenue numbers) that bring me clients worth $1,000, $10,000, and even $100,000.
This is info I DON’T share on the blog, and I’ll reveal specific details of my consulting business that I’ve never discussed before.
This is FREE, live, and starts at 9 p.m. Eastern. You can watch from anywhere.
There will NOT be a recording available (all my premium course material is recorded so you can watch it at your convenience).
Yes, I’ll be re-opening my Client Pipeline Mastery course, and I’ll briefly tell you how you can get access to this premium course. But I’ll spend the majority of the live presentation revealing my exact strategies and actual revenue numbers so you can start getting results in your own business.
Bonus: I’m giving away a special bonus during the presentation, but you need to attend the presentation to get access to the bonus.
Reserve your spot in 15 seconds (required).
See you on Tuesday!