One of the greatest questions I have ever been asked was by a guy, who was selling products to businesses and who was trying to get more business clients. Since he was selling consulting, he asked if I had any particular hints or suggestions for that area in particular. Of course, I have many tips and suggestions how to get more business clients and since this question is frequently asked by many people, I decided to write the answer here, so that everybody can read it.
The first step to getting more business clients is to make a list of your existing business partners. You can ask your existing business partners to introduce you to companies and individuals they work with. In some cases existing vendors or customers of your partners could be interested in doing business with you, too.
For instance, one of my business partners is a speaker who makes presentations mainly to companies but also to associations. One of the benefits of establishing contacts with an association is that this is an organization of people from many different companies, so you get a lot of exposure.
His presentations include some advanced marketing tactics – i.e. a referral campaign and a lottery. Everybody, who gives a testimonial and gives his or her name and contact info, is eligible for the lottery. The lottery prizes are gift certificates with discounts for his presentations. This is great for him because this way he gets repetitive engagements.
The discounts he offers are not negligible – as far as I remember, his gift certificates were for $500 and $250. He usually charges $5,000 per presentation, so the discount is tangible. The catch is that if the certificate is not redeemed within a predefined period of time, for instance 3 or 6 months, it is voided. The risk to have the certificate expire makes people take action – in this case, to hire him for another presentation.
If the winner does not redeem the gift certificate, this is as if he or she had burned money. This moment is critical because this is the trigger for action – redeem or lose money. Everybody is happy with this arrangement because people enjoy his presentations and they get a gift certificate, which has a value and gives them one more excuse to hire him again.
If people have a good reason to hire you again, then they will. That is why, you should always think of creative ways to provide good reasons for rehiring, when you sell your services. The moment to do it is when the audience is gathered in front of you and are excited by your performance. Followup is essential because it will remind them of the nice moments with you and they will make the necessary steps to hire you again.