How to Get Clients to Think of You First

How to Get Clients to Think of You First

by Steve Gamel
Edit This

Two people told me at a networking event this week that they had been thinking about me a lot recently. They aren’t clients of my writing and editing business, Edit This®, but I bump into them a lot and have built a trusting relationship.

One of them, an owner of a heating and air conditioning company, was dying to get me to look at a letter he crafted and even pulled it up on his phone to get my thoughts. The other was a lady who found herself giving her mother pointers that previous weekend on how to get more clients. For one reason or another, she thought about me.

Around the same time all this was going on, I saw one of the organizers of the meeting motion to someone and say, “Have you had a chance to meet Steve?”

I apologize if I’m tooting my horn. That’s not my intent. I’m simply trying to drive home the point that it’s important to put you AND your small business in a position where clients think of you first. We live in an environment where competition is fierce, and it feels like everyone peddles the same products and services. How you differentiate yourself so that clients think of you first is critical.

Here are a few tips that have worked for me over the years:

Networking is king
I spend a healthy amount of time networking with other professionals at various events, including breakfast gatherings, luncheons, and after-hours mixers. I do this because I love people and it’s fun to learn from each other. I crave social interaction. Not to mention, building authentic relationships is one of the best ways to grow a successful small business. If people feel like they know you, and they see you a lot, they’ll think of you first.

Never focus on the sale
What’s more important, the sale or your reputation? We all want to make money, but if you go into a conversation thinking only about what feeds your bottom line, you will fail. Even if you do win business, people won’t see you as genuine. Focus on what you can do to help someone, even if it doesn’t result in a sale. The sales will follow organically.

Be solutions-minded
Many of the blogs I write, including this one, provide solutions or advice. While I don’t know everything, I have learned a thing or two and try to share that knowledge. I also ask fellow small-business owners what strategies work best for them and apply that advice to my situation. I think more business owners should be solutions-minded. People will naturally look to you for answers.

Advertise vigorously
The more you put your business in front of people, whether physically or through some form of marketing or advertising, the more you will be remembered. There are a million ways to advertise, and no one is saying you must spend an arm and a leg. Start by cross-promoting with other small-business owners who live by referrals and word of mouth, then maybe think about blogging more and sharing those posts on social media. You can also sign up to be a speaker at networking events or seminars. From there, you can gradually find different ways to improve brand awareness.

Do good work
At the end of the day, if you do quality work and take care of your clients, they will always think of you when other needs arise. They will also be more apt to celebrate your successes with you and refer you to friends, family, and other business colleagues.

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