Today’s topic is: how do I get clients? I have been asked this question so many times by clients as well as by coaches who follow me!
Several years ago when I started my business, I assumed, as a former corporate executive, that I needed to use all the usual corporate marketing tools in my business. I invested heavily in marketing, acquiring a website, brochures, banners, thousands of business cards, and supplies to create even more of these materials.
Now that I’m in business, I’ve discovered that none of this is what attracts clients. Instead, what actually brings people in the door is simply this: being yourself and being authentic. That’s it—simply sharing what you do and being genuinely “you” while you do that.
Selling Yourself Simply Means Being Yourself
When I started my business I was not very confident about being an entrepreneur and being a business owner. I had no idea how to sell myself and felt uncomfortable at the idea of it. I was super good at selling and negotiating anything else, but not myself.
One day in 2013 or so, I attended a program with Moni Battista. She really helped me to understand that we each have the opportunity today to attract the right clients from our own “tribe,” just by being ourselves and being authentic.
Since that program, everything has shifted for me. My marketing has changed completely. While I was once too shy to consider doing videos, today I’m recording these videos because I really want you to get to know me. This is one way I bring clients in just by being myself. And without feeling uncomfortable or sales-y, I am actually selling my services. You can do this too!
Make the Time for Relationship-Building
To be authentically me, I’m also practicing what I preach with my clients: being authentic, believing in myself, and understanding that I have to create relationships in business and that those relationships have to be nurtured. When I make the time for relationship-building (and even as I enjoy it), it pays off in the long run: many, many of my clients are referred to me by other satisfied clients.
When you deliver quality service—my executive coaching services expose my clients to the greatness of who they can be and help them get there, or I help them understand how their organization can generate more profit—then people will definitely hire you.
This is a pretty simple formula: good service plus authenticity equals more clients, especially by referral. You can read as many books as you want about marketing, and they can be helpful for tweaking this formula to your business or situation, but this formula is the core of my marketing.
Of course, set an image for your brand and consistently embody that. Diane Diaz, whom I was honored to have as a guest on my podcast “Planting the Seeds of Change,” talks about how you create a brand that’s authentic and that’s you.
From the mindset perspective, it’s about first removing that negative self-talk in your head. Next comes being consistent about your branding, consistent about your message, and consistent about how you want to be perceived. Sometimes we behave in a way that’s not truly supporting who we are. It’s important for us to discover this. You begin by uncovering who you are and owning the unique brand of “you.” Then deliver authentically that business slice of you that you want people to see.
For me, this strategy has generated the most clients. I speak at different events to get known, then it’s about being authentic and sharing content. It’s about sharing my passion for what I do, and my passion for the clients I am serving today. I love building emotionally intelligent leaders who can provide outstanding employee experiences, and my enthusiasm shows, so it’s fairly easy as well.
This Strategy Even Works for Executives
I hope you will be able to apply these ideas to yourself and your career—and to your organization as well. Many executives I work with have issues that look like entrepreneurs’. They also are looking for clients. They are also “selling themselves” to teams or other executives (or other companies). They need to “market” themselves and their ideas. This is where they want to be their most authentic, provide top-quality service and share their enthusiasm.
When you express yourself genuinely about what you love doing, then you will attract the best people, the best clients, and the best organization in your life. May it be so for you!