I get asked all the time how to find clients. But, I know where to find my clients, but I'm not sure where you'll find yours.
And that is good news. Because of your unique business you need to spend some time rooting out your unique clients.
You want clients that are going to love what you do and love how you do it. Ideal Clients. Dream Clients. Awesome Clients.
There are clients out there that want to do business with you right now. How are you going to find each other?
How to Find Clients
You find clients by spending some time alone. You need to know who that ideal client is before you can go out and find them.
Imagine you're a teenage girl and you are writing down a list of traits for your perfect husband. You'll probably write down physical and personality attributes, you may even list how much money you'd like them to make, the type of job they'll have and where they live. This is the same sort of exercise you'll use to find your ideal clients. (Who knew those teenage dreams would be so useful now, right?)
When you can fully and completely understand your dream client then you know where they are. If you don't understand your client, then you don't know where to look for them.
Understand Your Ideal Clients
The first step to finding clients is getting into their head. See the world through their eyes.
- What are their motivations, their dreams, their desires, their wants.
- What do they do, what is their profession
- Who are they as a person
- What are their hobbies
- Where do they live
- Where do they hang-out
- What books or magazines do they read
- Who are their friends
- What blogs or websites do they visit
- Where do they vacation
- Do they have kids or pets
This exercise is hard but valuable. The time that you spend alone creating your ideal client will make it much easier to actually find them in real life. It may be easier, to imagine your ideal client as a single person - in my course, I call this person "Cam" for Client Awesome Model. Create a single ideal client that you can focus on. You can imagine this is the exact person that you're trying to attract. This will make all your efforts much more personal and feel personal to potential clients.
So Where Are They?
So once you completely understand your ideal client, you should know where to find them. You know if they're likely to go to a neighborhood yoga studio, or if they're reading a specific blog, you know if you should advertise in the yearbook, or place ads on a specific radio station. You should know that they'll be at your talk at the garden club or see your spread in the regional shelter magazine. You'll know that they all use a particular realtor or builder.
Referrals are a wonderful way to find clients and much easier than many other marketing endeavors. But, you want to watch out for referrals, because like attracts like. Meaning, that you take a client just for the cash, you do a great job, but it wasn't your ideal client and not your favorite project. But that project attracts that client's friends and others who see it and want more of the same.
This can also work to your advantage, if you have a wonderful client and want more clients like them. Don't be shy about asking for referrals: Susan you've been a wonderful client, I hope you'll consider passing my name on to other wonderful people. I also heard of a designer that had business cards printed with the completed project photos and left those with the client. How brilliant is that?! The clients wanted to show off their new home and easily gave away the cards with the designer's info. I also recommend when you wrap up a project that you send a end-of-project survey, this is a good opportunity to get testimonials and remind clients that you'd love their referrals.
Give it a Try
So this isn't a science, there is no formula that works for everyone. Give it a try. Find out who your perfect client is. Start fishing around for them where you think they should be. Modify, change, adapt. Keep trying. Try something new. Stop doing what isn't working. Don't copy another designer's process. Figure out what works for you.
If you found this article helpful, please consider sharing with a fellow designer. #collaborationovercompetition