Find More Clients in a COVID-19 World

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” -Charles Darwin

The world has changed. Your clients’ needs have changed.

You have changed, too.

You’re not the same person who dreamed of your business. You’re not the same person who built your business from the ground up. You’re the person you are now, right now, reading these words.

Yes, something isn’t working with your business the way you had hoped. It’s easy to overthink and procrastinate. It’s hard to know what to do.

However, you have a business. You have a network of relationships. You have experience working with clients. You have talent and expertise and you’re good at what you do. You have all of the ingredients to find more clients.

All you need is a recipe (which I’ll share with you in a moment).

My aim is to help you improve the health of your business so you can take care of yourself and your loved ones.

First, you need to understand what’s different about selling services in the COVID-19 era and how that can be turned to your advantage.

What’s different about marketing and selling services in the COVID-19 era

For many small business owners and professional service providers, COVID-19 has been a significant challenge on multiple levels: reduced income, smaller pipeline of prospects, and of course the social, psychological, and health issues.

Some people will need our services more than ever and to be able to reach them and help them in this time of huge need is our privilege and our responsibility.

However, your current service offerings may not be what your clients need. The way you deliver your services may not be what they want. The way you market your services may not be effective anymore.

In a crisis, or anytime when we aren’t sure what to do, it’s natural to:

  • Focus more on short-term needs.
  • Pay attention to the people we trust the most.

When a client feels like they can’t predict what the world will look like a few months (or even a few weeks) from now, they start thinking about how to get results quickly. This may mean taking on smaller projects that can be completed faster, or devoting more resources to larger projects in order to finish them within a shorter timeframe.

Therefore:

  • Customize your services to address your clients’ short-term needs.
  • Be generous, empathetic, and trustworthy

Of course, these are always things we should be doing, it’s just that in this pandemic pressure-cooker, these two issues are more important than ever.

What’s exactly the same about marketing and selling services (even in a crisis)

The best marketing is word-of-mouth.

And....

The people most likely to hire you or refer you, know you.

Therefore....

Your best new client prospects are people you know and people they know.

Therefore....

The closest, easiest, quickest way to find more clients and referral sources is to access your current network of relationships.

However....

You probably have very little training in networking. For that matter, you probably have little training when it comes to marketing or selling.

And why should you? That’s not why you started your business. You don’t want to learn how to be a professional copywriter, marketer, publicist, AND salesperson. You don’t have time and that’s not what you do.

Therefore....

You need a system to find more clients that is simple and efficient.

It should be easy to learn and focus only on the most essential techniques.

It should not require SEO, PPC, email autoresponders, content marketing, lead-gen sites, or any advanced sales/marketing technology.

It should leverage your expertise and harness your enthusiasm.

Let me show it to you and explain how it works.

Find More Clients:

A System To Market and Sell Your Services

My clients have used this system to sell fill their client lists and waiting lists, get national TV and print interviews, sell book proposals to major publishers, speak at Fortune 100 companies, and more.

The Find More Clients system:

  1. Develop a modular elevator pitch.
  2. Create new pitch structures.
  3. Reach out to the right people in your network.
  4. Pitch effectively to convert prospects to paying clients.

Step 1: Develop a modular elevator pitch

The most common mistake I see with elevator pitches is when they are used as “one-size-fits-all.” That can repel potential clients because it can seem so cookie-cutter, impersonal, and artificial.

Instead, you’re going to develop a modular elevator pitch that can be used in different contexts (in person, on the phone, Zoom, etc) and customized using different:

  • Professional categories
  • Market segments
  • Client problems
  • Features (what you offer; how you provide it)
  • Benefits (what they get; how it makes them feel)

This will give you many more options for your elevator pitch. You’ll be able to expand or adjust your pitch in the moment to fit the context and the specific needs of the person to whom you’re speaking.

You’ll also be able to test different versions of your business more effectively, attract your ideal clients, and align your business with your expertise and enthusiasm.

Step 2: Create new pitch structures

Four additional pitch types complement and amplify your elevator pitch:

  • Genesis pitch
  • Comparison pitch
  • One-of-a-kind pitch
  • Teasers

These pitches focus on your expertise, credibility, and uniqueness. They layer in those key arguments and essential details that often make the sale.

Genesis Pitch

Your genesis pitch is the story of how you started your business.

This is what you answer when you’re asked questions such as:

  • How did you come up with this idea?
  • What made you decide to start your own business?
  • When did you become a coach/consultant?

The reason this is so important is because these questions aren’t really asked to determine exactly when, where, and how the idea to start your business popped in your head.

These questions conceal another question hidden within.

The hidden question is: Are you an expert?

In other words: “How did you come up with this idea?” is a way of asking, “Are you an expert?”

When you sign a client, they are investing in your expertise. That’s why your genesis pitch must position you as an expert.

Often, outstanding marketing content comes from exploring “how it all started.” Your genesis pitch often provides connection to a deeper part of yourself that makes you a unique, wonderful person.

Comparison pitch

Entrepreneurs tend to value uniqueness and originality, and it’s important to innovate and bring fresh ideas to the marketplace. However, originality can scare potential clients and customers. 

Words like these in your pitch:

  • “revolutionary”
  • “unique”
  • “unprecedented”
  • “breaking new ground”
  • “completely original”

…are code for: “so far, ideas like this have never been successful.”

This is where a comparison pitch can be especially helpful.

We’re using the word “comparison” broadly here to refer to:

  • Metaphors
  • Similes
  • Opposites

In fact, even if your business isn’t on the absolute edge of innovation, a comparison can still be a powerful way to get your message across – if you choose the right comparison.

One-of-a-kind pitch

How are you and your services unique?

To figure this out, you’re going to need to research who else does, generally speaking, what you do. Once you’ve compiled a list of these people, you’ll look for differentiators – the things that make your competitors and allies different from you.

The end result will be a pitch that looks something like this:

“I’m the only _______ who does _____________________.”

This pitch is especially helpful when you know that your prospect is considering you as well as your competitors.

Teasers

Teasers are designed to get your attention and build your curiosity.

Teasers can be used in different ways depending on the situation.

Here are four teaser types worth using:

  • Unusual phrases
  • Qualifying questions
  • Contextual statements
  • Persuasive statistics

You might use a teaser when you’re meeting someone for the first time and it doesn’t feel quite right to use your elevator pitch. Teasers can also work in a large group when you need to make a quick, memorable introduction.

Step 3: Reach out to the right people in your network.

Once you’ve improved how you pitch yourself and your services, it’s time to reach out to your network. Accessing the right people in your network at the right time is part art, part science.

When it comes to networking, people tend to fall into one of two groups.

There’s the group who doesn’t do it at all because it feels uncomfortable and salesy. They don’t want to contact their friends and acquaintances and sound like a salesperson.

Then there’s the group that is networking all the time, meeting people, having coffees, going to conferences, joining organizations and groups and forums. However, they aren’t building the right relationships or generating the right kinds of referrals. It’s a lot of work with not much to show for it.

The first thing I want you to understand is that the Good in a Room networking philosophy is based on being your authentic self, using a personal approach, and developing quality relationships.

It’s also important to be strategic in your networking efforts.

Here is my approach to networking strategically:

  • Focus on fewer, higher quality relationships.
  • Follow your enthusiasm.
  • Organize your network.
  • Control your introduction.
  • Build your network one person at a time.

Networking can be fun and effective. In my experience, it is a powerful way to sell your services – and a great way to meet interesting people.

The problems with networking result from the beliefs that 1) as soon as you meet someone, you’re supposed to pitch them and sign them, and 2) you want to meet and pitch as many people as possible.

This doesn’t work. I’ve had a lot of clients tell me:

“I have this huge list of followers but when I make an offer, it doesn’t convert.”

Right.

The power of your network isn’t in the quantity. It’s in the quality.

Step 4: Pitch effectively to convert prospects to paying clients.

The time has come to convert a prospect to a paying client! 

You’re going to have a live interaction in person, on video, or by phone. It may be set up in advance, it may be spontaneous. This is the key moment in the business development process.

I call it a “pitch meeting.”

Pitch meetings take many forms and go by many names, such as:

  • Free consultation
  • Complimentary initial session
  • Discovery call
  • Meaningful conversation
  • Website audit

The term “pitch meeting” comes from Hollywood. In Hollywood, the writers and producers at the top routinely pitch and sell multi-million dollar ideas that are invisible, intangible, and unquantifiable. They do it in a seemingly casual and effortless way, though there is a strategy to how they succeed.

As a film executive, I had over 3000 pitch meetings where writers, directors, stars, and producers would try to get me to buy their projects. I sat in other meetings to see how other executives handled them. I even pitched and sold projects myself.

Over time, I discovered that there were five stages to every successful meeting:

  • In Stage 1, you build rapport and warm up the room.
  • In Stage 2, you ask questions and listen to show respect.
  • In Stage 3, you pitch your services.
  • In Stage 4, you answer any questions they may have.
  • In Stage 5, you ask for one thing (if necessary) and close on a warm note.

Every stage has one or more goals that must be achieved and one or more traps that must be avoided. I taught my Hollywood clients this system and soon they were crushing pitch meetings and selling their work.

Then something unusual happened. I taught the same system to my non-Hollywood clients, and I discovered that the pitching and selling techniques that worked in Hollywood worked in other industries just as well if not better.

It made sense because the structure of a pitch meeting has nothing to do with writing, film, TV, creativity, or the insane culture that is Hollywood. The structure of the pitch meeting is designed around the way people make the decision to purchase services.

For Hollywood film/TV writers, they’re selling writing services. You may not be a writer, but your architectural, chiropractic, accounting, legal, or web design services are the same in the sense that they are based on your talent, expertise, and experience.

The other thing that makes the “five stages of the meeting” concept so powerful is that if it works for writers, it can work for pretty much anyone who is willing to learn. Writers are notorious for being introverted, anxious, weird, and not natural salespeople. And yet, with a basic pitch meeting structure to follow, they can sell their services for large sums of money.

Look over the five stages and think about the way you meet with prospects.

  • Where do you feel confident and strong?
  • Where does the meeting go smoothly?
  • Where do you feel awkward?
  • When do things get off track?

This five stages framework helps you diagnose where the obstacles are to your clients saying, “Yes,” and makes it possible to troubleshoot those issues.

Over time, you sign more clients, and your confidence grows. Confidence helps you pitch even more effectively.

Soon, you break through to the next level in your professional life.  You’re excited about your future.  You know that you’ll be hearing the word “Yes” a lot more often.

That’s what it’s like to be good in a room.

Are you ready to find more clients? Let's work together.