In my online business training program, students often ask, “How do I introduce my business to the marketplace?” Or, “How do I get my business/new service off the ground?” One of the most effective marketing strategies I’ve found when introducing something new, is to take on a limited number of Preview Clients.
These are “practice” clients you work with who pay you at a discounted rate. Why is this such a potent strategy? Because as these Preview Clients try out your service, you’re honing your skills and getting the buzz going. And because they’re getting both the service and a discount, you make it clear up front that you’ll be asking them for word-of-mouth referrals. (But more on that in Part II.)
Granted, taking on Preview Clients might not be for everyone, but if you’re just starting out, or adding another service to your current menu, this is a fast and low-cost way to get the word out about your business. And implementing this strategy during the slow holiday period could prove to pay off in the New Year with new clients. Here’s how to get started…
Ask your friends, family, community, existing and former clients if they know of anyone who may be interested in your new service—and that you’re looking for new clients at an introductory or “referral rate”. Let’s say you have just added office organization your practice. You want everyone to know about it and that you’re looking for new clients. Here’s what to do:
Step 1: Send an email to everyone in your social circle and business database announcing your new service. In this email you want to let everyone know who the ideal client might be for this new service (more information on the below). Since Office Organization is what you’ve added to your Service Menu, small business owners or those that work out of a home office are a perfect fit. And remember, don’t underestimate your immediate network—you’d be surprised who knows who, and just how happy people are to help connect you with the right people.
Step 2: Right now, you’re offering your services at a special introductory or “referral rate”.
Step 3: Assuming the client is satisfied with your work, in return for your reduced-fee service, you will be asking for three qualified referrals.
Your goal is to have people experience what you offer so more people can hear about you. And the cool thing is that word-of-mouth referrals have a compounding affect because your happy Preview Clients are out there selling for you.
Now let’s say that you get a lot of bites from your email. Who do you choose to work with…or not? After all, you don’t want to clog up your calendar working at a discounted rate forever, do you? The two keys to narrowing down your list and working with the most effective Preview Clients is to find those who fit your target market.
1. Those who will pay for your services or will connect you to people who will happily pay for your services.
2. Those who are the talkers. You know… people who know a lot of people and will sing your praises and spread the word about your services.
Okay, so now you know what to do and where to find these people, here’s what to do before taking the next step:
• Pull your list together.
• Write and send out your email.
• Read Part II: You Found Them…Now What?