I get it.
When I ventured from corporate America into self-employment, I was excited to serve as a career coach for women seeking more meaningful work. I knew my niche and had a website, but the clients weren’t showing up.
I had two problems.
And my experience tells me you’re facing at least one (if not both) of these problems as well.
That’s why I’m going to share the two things preventing you from getting clients AND give you the solution to end your client-getting woes.
If you follow my 3-step action plan, you could be attracting new clients by the end of the week.
My weekly torture session
First, we need to play a little game. (You’re up for some fun, right?)
I’m going to paint a picture of my early days as a career coach.
See if you can pinpoint my two client-getting problems and the one simple solution.
It’s a Friday morning in the fall of 2009. It’s 7:30 a.m., and I’m dressed in my best business casual outfit, makeup on, coffee mug in hand, and a mix of excitement and nervousness in my belly.
My husband and I hop in our little blue Jetta and head north to Oregon’s most popular small business networking event, where over 100 business owners show up weekly to network, schmooze, support one another, and talk shop.
Paul’s been going for a few years and has found several clients through this event, so I eagerly tag along week after week to fill my client roster, too.
We pull into the parking lot at 8:30, and my excitement has completely deflated.
Dread has taken over entirely. I feel a cold sweat come over me, the coffee in my stomach turns rancid, and my hands shake at the thought of going inside.
I soldier on, thinking, “This is what I have to do to make my business work, so here I go.”
I walk inside, drop my business card in the jar, and slap on the best smile I can manage.
The event begins and there’s the usual pass-the-microphone introductions and business spotlight presentation. This gives me some much-needed time to compose myself.
Next up: networking.
I find the closest friendly face and introduce myself. The friendly face asks me what I do, and I spit out as quickly as I can, “I’m a life coach. What do you do?”
The friendly face fills me in on her business. Then I do the secret introvert networker strategy of asking as many questions as I can think of so I don’t have to talk about myself.
Someone else joins us, and I repeat the same process. “I’m a life coach. What do you do?” Peppering her with question after question.
Rinse, repeat. Rinse, repeat.
Finally, the bell chimes and networking is over. Deep relief floods my system. I can breathe again.
The event wraps up and people mill toward the doors. I can’t get out of there fast enough.
I repeated this Friday torture session weekly for nearly a year.Click to Download21 Winning Ways to Book Yourself Fast
The (extreme lack of) results
Would you be surprised if I told you that I didn’t get a single client from these events?
Of course not!
How am I supposed to get clients when I avoid talking about what I do?
Now you might think that was my problem—I was afraid to talk about what I did—but the real issue was much deeper than that.
Can you guess what was underneath?
The real problem was this…
I didn’t know how to confidently talk about the results I helped my clients achieve.
Sure, I had the credentials. I had been through two incredible training programs, read nearly every self-help book in existence, and logged over a hundred hours of coaching peer coaches.
But still, when I thought about serving total strangers as clients, the number-one thought that ran through my head was, “How do I talk about what I do in a way that shows my expertise without looking like a know-it-all?”
The secret to solving this problem
So how did I get past this hurdle, get more than enough clients, and build a successful, profitable business?
I coached. And coached. And coached. Kept coaching, and…
I paid attention the problems prospects spoke about. I recorded the words they used to describe their dreams. And I listened intently not just as a coach but as a business owner and marketer.
The words—and my confidence in describing the results my clients got—all came from hopping on the phone and serving client after client after client, paid and free.
Eventually, everything I needed was right there, waiting for me.
Experience bred confidence and clarity. Or, I like to often say, “Clarity and confidence come from taking action.”Click to TweetClarity and confidence come from taking action.
Which brings us back to you and the 3-step action plan that will get you the clarity and confidence (and clients) you’re looking for.
Your next step
Your next step is all about getting clarity and confidence in what you do and also how you talk about what you do. There are two ways you can tackle this.
Option 1: Work with 5 clients for free to practice your skills and unearth the language they use.
Here’s what you need to do:
1. Right now, write an email that you can send to your friends and family. It should look something like this:
[A personal tidbit related to your connection with this specific individual.]
I recently started my [industry] business and I primarily help people ________. Do you know anyone who might be interested in a free session?
I do most of my work by phone so I can help people all over the country.
My website is [URL].
If you know anyone who might be interested, please forward this email or refer them to
my website. The session is free so I can build my confidence, practice my skills, and get
clarity around the kinds of people who will get the most out of working with me.
[A personal closing related to her connection with this person]
2. Send the email to 25 close friends and family.
3. Take voracious notes during your free sessions. Write down the language your clients use, and notice who you like working with the most.
Option 2: If you have a TON of past clients you loved working with, interview them.
Here’s what you need to do:
1. Email your favorite past clients. Tell them they’re one of your favorite clients, and ask them if you they’d be willing to hop on the phone with you for an hour. Tell them you’d like to ask them some questions about working with you so you can get more clients just like them. In exchange, you’d like to offer them a free half-hour session.
2. When on the phone with your client, ask them questions about their frustrations and desires from before they worked with you. (They might need some help getting to that pre-working-with-you state, because as a result of working with you, their language has changed.) Take voracious notes!
3. After your interviews, review your notes. What words were these clients using that you could use on your site? See how these conversations brought you further clarity about your work.
Take action now!
You have your assignment. Now it’s time to take action. Write your emails then hop on the phone and take notes.
I’m sooo excited to see you get the clarity you need to take your business to the next level.