My first client lesson was taught by a fish.
I was 7, and it was about 70 degrees — a blackish-blue foggy morning.
My dad and I had hiked to our favorite fishing creek in the dark, well before sunrise, and we sat there, waiting impatiently for the first ray of light to bounce off the water.
The suspense was thick and every bit as real as the fog swirling over the glassy stream.
As the black changed to dark blue and the dark to light, I saw them.
Two massive trout — over half my size — were lazily surfacing to feed on mayflies.
My saucer-eyes flicked over to my dad, who was graciously handing me my pole to go for them first.
I could feel an electric rush surging through my veins as I cast my popper within inches of those piscine Goliaths.
In the seconds that followed, I learned my first great marketing lesson:
A single grain of rice tips the scale, and NOT having that grain of rice sucks. Really bad.I knew what I was fishing for. I knew where they lived. I knew what they wanted, so I had the right bait. I understood how to catch the fish; what bait to use and how to present it.
But the moment it bit the bait, the game was over.
The fight was finished before it started, because I was using panfishing line, and the line snapped only seconds after I set the hook.
That’s how fishing for clients works — that one weak spot in your marketing methods can and will lose the big ones.
The good news is that you only need to know the answers to 4 simple questions:
From those questions, we’ll delve into 28 (at least) unbelievably flawless methods and assets to find lucrative clients, land them and keep them.
If you can answer each of these questions and follow through on the correct answers, it’s virtually impossible to fail.
So here’s the answers to the questions I get asked constantly (with good reason!).
Who are my Ideal Clients?
(Hint: Not this one.)
To catch a fish, you must think like a fish.
If you know yourself, and you know your ideal client, you can’t lose.
One of the biggest mistakes people make is overcomplicating the “target consumer”, or “sales prospect”.
Let’s just call them your future client.
Who is your future client?
Let’s keep this simple.
My ideal client, for instance, needs to have a big enough budget to pay a 6-figure rate. That means anything less than 20 cents per word usually gets thrown back in — catch and release.
My only other requirement is a lack of micromanagement, because I know what I’m doing, and I don’t have the time or patience to be micromanaged.
(That said, if I had a client paying me $300,000 salary, they’d have earned the right to micromanage a bit. Even freedom has a price tag.)
And that’s it.
If that’s too simple for you, I get it. But freeing up the time spent defining your future client will help you spend more time focusing on the most important things — what your client wants and needs. They’re not overly concerned with what you need, and why should they be? They’re paying you, not the other way around.
So focus on providing value to your client.
And before you can provide value for your client, you need to figure out what gets them up in the morning.
What Do My Clients Want and Need?
Sometimes people choose what they want over what they need. Sometimes it works the other way around.
What should you do to attract the best clients?
Give them both.
What does your client need to survive and thrive?
Yes, they need air and water and love and all that happy nonsense — but what do they need as it relates to what you’re selling?
Usually, the main need within a business context is money. So think about proving how hiring you will ultimately result in them getting more money.
People have wants that are rooted in emotions. For example, I don’t need chocolate, but I want it because it makes me happy. Yes, it literally makes me happy — it tastes delicious, so that satisfies me in that way, but it also boosts the happy chemicals in my brain; serotonin and dopamine.
What makes your client feel happy?
What spikes the happy chemicals in their brain like 6 espressos and a sunny day?
Again, it’s best to keep it brief but specific:
One of the best things you can do is ask. Facebook stalking only gets you so far — send them a quick customer survey to find out what their last team could’ve done better.
After the first month or two, send another to find out what you could do better, with questions like:
Up to this point, you’ve voiced customer retention as your highest priority. Has there been any recent changes in priority? Are there any new priorities I can help you focus on?
What’s the most enjoyable part of your business, and how can I help you spend more time in that area, and less in others?
Here’s a handy little tool to get you started on identifying your ideal client, and their wants and needs:
Knowing your client is half the battle.
Knowing where they live and how to connect with them is the other half.