Where do clients come from?
I'm talking here about higher end clients. People who hire you for consulting, coaching, training, legal advice, accountancy, etc. People who pay big money.
Every client I've ever had has come from a conversation.
I know that sounds trite. Of course we have to speak to people before they hire us. But if you look at a lot of marketing and the way people run their business you'll see that very often we're geared up to actually avoid conversations.
First thing you hear on the phone these days when you call a business for help is a message telling you that most of your questions can be dealt with on the web (yes, I know that, I tried and it didn't work, that's why I'm calling you). They don't want to speak to you really.
We all do it. We screen our calls. Get other people to speak to clients for us. We have meeting booking systems that mean we don't “waste time” talking to people to get a meeting scheduled with them. I know some people in professional businesses who even have their PAs send out their email newsletter for them so it's not even coming from the person themselves.
I'm a huge fan of automation as I'm sure you know. But if we think we can get big sales without speaking to people we're kidding ourselves.
Instead, we should use our automations to trigger conversations, not stop them. And we should use them to make sure we're speaking to the right people.
That's why I love simple things like asking new email subscribers what their biggest problem or challenge is (in areas I can help them with).
If someone has subscribed to my regular emails it's a safe bet that they're at least interested in the sort of problems I help people with, otherwise they wouldn't have subscribed.
And if they take the effort to write me an email telling me what their big problems are, it also tells me that those problems are pretty urgent for them and that I must have built up enough trust and credibility with them already for them to be willing to share that very personal information with me.
Are these people worth having a conversation with? For a service business, you bet they are.
Way, way more so than a conversation with someone I happened to have met at an event, or even someone who's been referred to me.
Clients come from conversations.
So make sure your marketing is getting you more of them with the right people, not fewer.