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5 (More) Nearly Painless Ways to Find New Clients

Aug 23rd 2018
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Everyone wants new clients. However, you don’t want just any new client, but individuals you can develop a long-term relationship with.

Recently, we looked at Five Nearly Painless Ways to Find New Clients. Today, we’ll look at five more. First, let’s define what makes a strategy painless: You aren’t forcing a card on anyone and cold calling is out, too.

You aren’t begging or asking for a favor so, where does the “nearly painless” come in? You might be spending some money, but results won’t happen immediately.

You are laying the groundwork, casting a wide net for new business. It takes time, but it can be done.

Here are addtional five places to look you may not have considered:

1. Former clients and bids you lost

You win some, and you lose some. Clients jump ship because they think they can do it on their own or someone promises them the world. Often, we forget about them. But if you’re seeking to build your client base again, they may be some of the first individuals you reach out to.

How: Build a list. Call them and have a short conversation.

What’s next? You understand why they left (or went with another firm’s proposal). They had their reasons. They were an important client to you. You enjoyed working with them. You wanted to be sure everything worked out as they hoped.

Tact: Often, it hasn’t. Pride kept them from coming back and admitting they made a mistake. You met them halfway.

2. Complainers

Asking for referrals can be awkward. Sometimes, it feels like you are asking for a favor. Clients don’t want to go out on a limb recommending you in case personalities don’t mesh. Everyone knows complainers. When a person has a problem it’s human nature to want to help them.

How: Ask your business-owning clients who they know who complains about their accounting or who feels their company is paying too much in taxes. Include people who have tried doing it on their own and found themselves in over their heads. 

What’s next? You would be interesting in talking to them. Stop there. Move on to the next subject.

Tact: You’ve asked if they know someone with a problem within your area of expertise. You would be willing to help. Now people see bringing up your name as a benefit.

3. People who go to your gym

You know plenty of people. Do they know who you are, what you do, and why you are good? What do you know about them?

How: You belong to a gym near the office. You go several times a week at the same time. The place is always packed. You put on your headphones and focus.

What’s next? Buy some workout gear with the firm name. If you own the firm, it’s inexpensive to have some made up. Take off the headphones. Chat with familiar faces. Take notice of the message on their T-shirts. Over time, ask what they do. The shirt often provides a clue. They will likely return the favor.

Tact: The tasteful logo over your heart makes you a walking billboard. It’s subtle. It’s common practice for people at the gym to make small talk. Gradually, everyone gets to know what you do.

4. Clients who are about to retire

If you offer advisory services in addition to standard tax filing work, you probably help clients plan for retirement. You might even provide impartial investment advice that isn’t product-provider specific. This has value. Lunch is the place to get that message across.

How: Invite a soon-to-retire client you’ve helped out to lunch. Ask them to bring two colleagues who will be retiring in the next couple of years. Settle in and order lunch.

What’s next? Raise a glass of iced tea and toast their retirement. Ask what they will be doing on the first day. They will likely thank you for your role in getting their ducks in a row so they can be comfortable. The others at the table hear this unsolicited endorsement. They realize they need the same help too.

Tact: You aren’t selling. Your happy client is doing all the work without any coaching or prompting.

5. Other patrons at your favorite lunch spot

A bank president shared this idea. He’s done it since he started as a loan officer and continued it throughout his career. It’s based on the logic that small business owners don’t have company cafeterias. They eat leisurely lunches in fancy restaurants. They grab a quick bit in diners and luncheonettes. You need to eat too.

How: Find a place in an area with a high concentration of small businesses. It must have a counter with stools. Eat at the same time every day. Sit on a stool.

What’s next? Be friendly. Chat with the people sitting nearby. Don’t push business. They will ask what you do. You’ve become part of the fabric of the place. They will start to ask business questions.

Tact: You’re a nice person who doesn’t push business. You are accepted as an equal, not a high-priced professional they think they can’t afford.

So there's your five additional strategies. No cards were handed out. no favors were requested and the costs, if any, are low. It may take time, but new business will come your way.

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