by Brandon Reiter
A question I get asked all the time is “where do you find your clients?”
The answer: Networking
When I first started Skyview CFO, I landed my first few clients through a website called bark.com where people can post certain business requests. However, it became too costly as I would have to pay for their contact information, and I wouldn’t be often paying a lot of money for dead ends. So once, I had enough of a client base I stopped paying for leads and focused on a more organic sales approach.
Once I had a professional looking website and some testimonials from my first clients, my new approach focused more on promoting my business through word of mouth and networking. As a consultant for small businesses, I am in a unique position where 95% of the people I talk to either know someone who owns a small business or runs one themself. Therefore I approach any conversation with somebody new as a potential to land a new client.
By promoting my services in a more natural way, not only was I able to avoid the hefty fees from lead sources, but I was able to find clients who were more aligned with my company’s overall mission. Every business is different, and whether or not you are a business owner, improving your networking skills can only benefit your career and life in general. Below are some easy tips that can instantly give you a boost.
Talk to your current clients
This may seem obvious but the best source of information about your business is none other than the people you serve. I like to occasionally touch base with my clients and ask them there is anything I could be doing to improve their experience with me. If they do have feedback, not only do they feel heard and value, but I can improve my service and their experience. If they are content, I can naturally steer the conversation to if they need help in other areas of their business. This gets them talking about aspects of their business they may not have thought to bring up with me but has the potential for me to either point them in the right direction, or provide them with more services. I also try to wrap up the conversation by asking them to either leave a positive review on Google or Social Media, as well as asking them if they might no of anybody who could also benefit from my services.
Utilize your Alma Mater
I received my bachelor’s from Syracuse University, and although I have had some qualms with how they treat their younger alumni, they have also been a tremendous help in supporting my growth. Your alma mater is in a very unique position as they benefit from your success. A college looks good if their alumni go off and do great things, so they will provide you with certain resources if you ask them.
For example, I reached out to my old professor and they recommended me to be a guest speaker for the Entrepreneurship Club. Not only was I able to teach and promote my business to soon to be graduates, but I ended up hiring the president of the club to be my Social Media Manager. They provide me with brilliant interns and split the cost their salary with me while they earn credit for the experience.
They also did me a solid by naming me as the alumni entrepreneur of the month in their online magazine.
Ask People What They Do
If you are having a conversation with somebody new, always ask them what they do. People’s jobs are a huge part of their lives whether they love it or hate it. If they hate it, you can ask them what they’d rather be doing. If they love it, you can ask them what makes it so enjoyable. In either scenario a natural conversation will unfold where you are showing a genuine interest in their career and they will often return the question. Maybe they are an ideal client or potential employer for you, or maybe they know somebody else. Whether you are switching jobs or trying to find clients, creating as many natural conversations like this will eventually lead you down the right path.