“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
~ Peter Ducker
Years ago, when I worked with a Business Coach for well over a year to set up my Life Coaching practice, there were two things he repeated to me regularly.
Clients are created not attracted.
No client is ever created outside of a conversation.
Which meant for the purposes of growing my business, I needed to be in conversations every day. I duly followed his advice and grew my coaching practice quickly and relatively easily.
Clients are created
This approach to client creation is best laid out in a book called The Prosperous Coach by highly successful coaches, Steve Chandler and Rich Litvin. Here’s what Rich has to say in the book:
“You don’t get clients. You don’t acquire clients. And you definitely don’t attract clients.
Clients are created.
‘Getting’ clients is an old-fashioned, hunter-gatherer approach to growing a coaching practice. It’s outdated because it puts all of your success in the hands of other people. It puts you in an aggressive mindset that isn’t conducive to having people say yes. And it has your clients on edge, waiting for that moment when you are about to manipulate them.”
If you’ve spent any time at all on the internet looking into how to get clients for your service based business, you’ll likely have heard that having certain things in place, such as beautiful branding, a fancy website, photos of you looking amazing and sun-kissed, enticing copy and highly converting marketing funnels, are all a must if you are to attract your dream clients.
The key to this approach is attraction — make yourself as irresistible as possible to your ideal client and they’ll be putty in your hands. But what to do if you don’t have $15–20K to spunk on professional branding, web design, copywriting and a set of personal branding photos? Or if, like many of my clients, the whole idea of portraying a perfectly polished image online, leaves you feeling cold.
Well I don’t mind telling you that I have none of these and I’m doing just fine on the client front thank you very much. I’ve also pretty much DIY’d all of the above.
For the bootstrapped business owner who has little choice but to DIY it, not needing all of these fancy bells and whistles to enrol clients, often feels like a blessed relief. But if we don’t need to go to all this trouble of attracting our ideal clients, what then?
Well my lovelies, this is where the fun beings. Instead of trying to attract clients, we get to create them. And we create clients by doing what we, as purpose driven, conscious folks love to do.
We connect with people and we help them.
Before we get into that though, I want to share another thing my business coach used to say.
Your next client is right in front of you.
This one has been a game changer for me because it has allowed me to a) focus fully on the person right in front of me and b) put my attention and care on looking after the people in my network rather than have my focus on the growing the number of people on my list or following my Facebook page.
When you seek to help the people you already know and take the time and effort to cultivate deeper connections with those people (regardless of whether or not you think they can afford to work with you), you will inevitably create your next client. And you’ll also grow your audience because when people are blown away by how you’ve served them, they go and tell everyone they know about you.
All too often I see business advice that encourages business owners to be looking out at the horizon for their next client rather than focusing on the people and followers they already have.
How often have you put a piece of content out and bemoaned the fact that only 1 or 2 people commented or shared it? Rather than focus on the lack of engagement, I invite you to celebrate those who are showing up, reading, commenting and/or sharing your work. When we do that, people feel seen and appreciated, which inevitably and organically leads to more business.
Being of Service
This is where I favour 1:1 connection versus 1:Many. So much marketing advice would have us shouting to the masses, posting on social media and churning out marketing designed to attract clients to us.
But there absolutely is another way.
What if rather than spend your time trying to attract clients, you spent your time simply serving people. Showing up to your network and being generous and helpful with your gifts and your content? Read blog posts here and here for more on outreach and activating your network.
Finally, I’ve also created a graphic that simplifies the distinction between the attract and create approaches below. I think I can already guess which approach you’d rather take!
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