Finding and Keeping Clients

Discuss how and where to find clients as well as creating and maintaining exceptional client relationships, identifying ideal clients, and more.

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Old 03-09-2011
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Default What are the best ways to gain potential clients
Hi Guys

I have been in business for about 2 years now and I have been slowly but steadily building my business. I have a couple of adhoc clients that earn me good money when they send work my way but the work is very random and few and far between.
I have done all the social media type of networking through Facebook and twitter and done a few one off projects through freelance sites such as Elance. I now feel like I really want to step up my game and get good quality clients that I feel i can handle and deserve now. I just don't know how to get these clients. I know I could join offline networking groups, but due to family commitments this is practically impossible and to make matters worse I am not very good at face to face contact as I am quite shy (one of the reasons I set up the business.)
I am just wondering if anyone has any tips on how I can gain more clients and really get things going.
All advice is very much appreciated.

Thanks
Karen
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Old 03-09-2011
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Default Re: What are the best ways to gain potential clients
Karen,

Half of my current business is from F2F networking. Not necessarily the person I formed the relationship with but their recommendation. You really should get out and join one or two groups to help with your local market too.

There is a lot of competition now as opposed to when I started 3 years ago, so you really need to find what sets yourself apart from the others and concentrate on that.

You could also look into partnering with others so that you have complimentary services that could bring in clients who are looking for one stops instead of single services.
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Old 03-09-2011
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Default Re: What are the best ways to gain potential clients
Karen you're not shy, you're just "reserved" a most of us brits are - I'm originally from London and Brighton. Look for meetup groups locally here http://walkers.meetup.com/cities/gb/p6/worthing/ and join one or two that speak to your interests. Attending those you'll meet people from all walks of life and not feel under "business potential" pressure and stress.

Good luck!

Lynne
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Old 03-09-2011
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Default Re: What are the best ways to gain potential clients
Hi Karen

I am of the same opinion as you in that I am worried about networking in person as I work full time and also find the idea of it quite intimidating.

Have you tried www.4networking.biz ? They are a combined online and F2F networking company. I plan to try networking online with them which also qualifies you to attend a couple of their F2F meetings for free before deciding whether to set up a paid membership. They are quite deliberately an informal organisation which takes a lot of pressure away from the more traditional networking setups.

Anyway, that is my plan.

Sue
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Old 03-10-2011
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Default Re: What are the best ways to gain potential clients
Thanks Guys for the advice.
I got a letter in the post inviting me to a network meeting at a local venue, I would have liked to go but it starts at 6.45am and unfortuanately I am a working mum and I can't possibly get to events at that time in the morning as I have 4 children to sort out in the morning for school.
I have just found another networking site so hopefully that will help and I will definitey look into the one that you have suggested Sue.

Many Thanks for your help.
Karen
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Old 06-07-2011
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Default Re: What are the best ways to gain potential clients
This is definitely an issue for me as well, Karen. I work full-time and have a baby as well as older children to tend to. My husband works two jobs and isn't home to help out very much. Just doing anything outside of the normal schedule is quite challenging.
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Old 06-10-2011
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Default Re: What are the best ways to gain potential clients
What great questions ladies!!! This was one of my main questions when I first started as a VA. There are many things to look at here. Doesn't matter how much you source clients there are important key factors to take into consideration.

Let's start with do you have your niche and target market?

Ask yourself if your current target market are people that require VA's or know what a VA is. There are many entrepreneurs out there that do not know what a VA is and do not understand the importance of having a VA to grow their business. Let me tell you that this is not target market you want. We want to market to everyone and offer services to everyone but your main target market should have a desire, need and be willing to hire a VA for help. For example: Authors, Speakers, Coaches, Online Entrepreneurs etc.

The more skills you have the better and niching yourself is a great way to grow your business. For example Internet Marketing VA, Social Media Marketing VA, Author Support, Wordpress Expert, Shopping Cart Expert, Membership Program Expert, Event Marketing VA etc etc.

So where do you find these clients? Respond to RFP's is a great way to get yourself out there. Join associations such as IVAA or CVAC or CVAN etc etc. It worked for me.

Attend local business networking events such as Ladies Who Launch, POWE, Women Can Do Anything etc. This is an awesome way to market. Niche yourself to Women in Business and you will be over flowing with work Guaranteed!! Most new businesses these days are women business owners. We are changing the world!

Do you have a Website? You need a website that sells and impresses people. Lots of resources, information, testimonials, blog. A great home page is key!

Are you using social media? It does not happen overnight however it works!! Brand yourself and give yourself a professional look. A branded website, social media accounts will help!! Facebook pages are awesome and make it interactive.

There are a list of things to do but the items mentioned above should improve your business by double if done correctly.

Do not decline any work!! If you do not provide the service then find someone who does and outsource the work. Build yourself a team of specialists and what you do not specialize in you can outsource to your team members. Be resourceful and your clients will praise you and love everything you do! I love it that my clients tell me that I am an angel above who has saved them.

I am proof that the above works. I have been in business for 3 years and have managed to reach six figure sales by doing the above. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or need clarification!!

Keep us posted on the success you receive from doing any of the above!! I love hearing about everyone's success stories. Brings tears to my eyes!

Virtual Hug to my online sisters!
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Old 06-13-2011
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Default Re: What are the best ways to gain potential clients
I encourage referrals from my current clients and have google alerts setup. I also check craigslist.org daily. All of these things have helped me build my business pretty quickly.
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Old 06-14-2011
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Default Re: What are the best ways to gain potential clients
Great ideas from every one, I will start working with some of them on marketing my VA business
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Old 07-10-2011
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Default Re: What are the best ways to gain potential clients
I am just starting out but I am shy too. I will be forcing myself to network offline but I am going to try to concentrate on online marketing. I already have a Facebook page. Most of my FB friends are professionals that I know will be needing my services. I comment on their status updates as often as I can. I also plan on setting up a website and will posting the link to my website in all the forums that I am a member of. I also joined some professional forums and I'm just working on getting my name out there. the more you post, the more people get to know and trust you and hopefully will want to hire you. I have a list of all the real estate agents in my area (I'm also a realtor and will be working as a REVA) so once I get my prices and services planned out I am going to create a flyer and email it to everybody on my list.
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Old 07-11-2011
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Default Re: What are the best ways to gain potential clients
@ VBS on demand, thanks for the great advice. I really feel motivated after reading your post!
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Old 07-11-2011
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Default Re: What are the best ways to gain potential clients
Your local Chamber of Commerce is a good place to network. Here's a blurb from mine: "The Chamber holds more than 125 networking opportunities each year that connect you to over 13,000 business leaders. You can mingle at the monthly Business After Hours, or case a wider net at the annual Seafood Outing and State of the City Series." They also have a "Connect for Lunch" program and the "Morning Schmooze." They're great opportunities to network and to pass out those business cards.
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Old 07-27-2011
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Default Re: What are the best ways to gain potential clients
Wow, VBSOnDemand - so inspirational! Thanks for all of the wonderful advice. PeppyM, I agree - our local chamber offers all kinds of networking and "mingling" opportunities and you do not have to be a member to attend most of the functions. I'll be attending my first "Mix and Mingle" locally on 8/5 and hope to make some good contacts there. By nature, I am a bit shy but I'm going to try to change that by attending more events.
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Old 07-27-2011
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Default Re: What are the best ways to gain potential clients
Karen,

Thanks so much for opening up and asking this question! I am eager to take advantage of the many replies explaining new and unique ways to meet and build relationships with new clients. I have looked into attending a networking group here in Las Vegas, Nevada, but my schedule too somewhat restricts the time I can spend networking with other professionals face to face. I hope the online networking works out for you!

Good luck!
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Old 07-27-2011
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Default Re: What are the best ways to gain potential clients
I agree with VBSOnDemand's info. I took away from it that the main thing to do is specialize in something. That's been my issue. Trying to be all to everyone dilutes my energy. Now I focus on the legal community, and I've made some good connections.
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Old 07-27-2011
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Default Re: What are the best ways to gain potential clients
Hi Karen,

Some of my clients who only give me projects here and there were open to the idea of sending a blast to their list recommending me. I put together 3 simple packages and was able to book some regular clients. Everyone won't go for it but some people will be more than willing to help you grow especially if they have confidence in your work.
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Old 07-28-2011
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Default Re: What are the best ways to gain potential clients
Hi Karen

I've just got back from a Business Link meeting about start-up businesses. There were only 6 of us in the group but I've now got details of a couple of people who are interested in staying in contact as they both say they are not really keen on the admin side of things and would potentially consider using me when they are also up and running.
I know Business Link do also do sessions for existing businesses - could you perhaps book on one of those and then you will meet people who you could network with? The session I did today was only for the morning.
I'm now updating my business plan following today's meeting but then I'm in the boat of actually looking for my first client
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Old 07-28-2011
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Default Re: What are the best ways to gain potential clients
This is a great thread, very inspiring. Thank you VBSOnDemand. I'm new to this and the voice is experience is very welcome--as is the confirmation that there are people who actually make a good living at this.

I have also had some luck with the local Chamber, but the work I have received has been very sporadic and takes me off into multiple directions. I think VBS's advice about cultivating a niche and targeting that market is right on.

Establishing a team is also great advice though I'm uncertain how to evaluate partners.

Leanne
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Old 09-07-2011
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Default Re: What are the best ways to gain potential clients
Thank you for your help. I really do appreciate the ideas to help me get started.
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Old 09-12-2011
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Default Re: What are the best ways to gain potential clients
I've also taken my startup time when I've been lighter then I'd like to grow other skills. Right now I'm expanding my Wordpress expertise so that I can offer that to client.

Finding a niche is great advice, I'm still trying to find that out.
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