A lot of people approach me because they want better clients than the ones they’re getting normally. Typically that means bigger clients, higher-paying projects. Or nicer clients, who treat you well. Clients that are totally aligned with the work you love to do.
Guess what — this is totally doable! I’ve helped hundreds of small business owners upgrade their client base, and it can happen in a matter of months. I myself have been consistently upgrading my client base in my video marketing agency. When we started, I was just happy to have paying customers. Since then I’ve moved us from 5-figure clients, to 6-figure clients, to high-prestige projects with major brands and even a Times Square billboard!
Here are five of my best tips to bring in the clients you really want. Follow these and you’ll be amazed how quickly it’ll work.
1. Put It Out There Loud & Clear
This may seem obvious, but it’s the #1 thing holding most people back. The clients you’re attracting now are a result of the way you’re marketing now. To get the new, better clients, you need to change your message!
Your marketing needs to EXPLICITLY speak to the new, bigger/better clients. They need things that are somewhat different from what your current clients need. So your elevator pitch, website, etc. all should speak to this new, better client.
2. Start with Your Fans
You have a tremendous resource with your current and past clients, who love working with you. As well as those referral partners who love to recommend you.
Get on a call with them, or meet them for coffee, and tell them about the new type of work you’re looking for. Again, you need to be explicit, and direct with the ask for referrals. People do want to help you but I find often they don’t realize that I’m asking until I ask directly. “Who do you know who fits this description?” These people really like you and would love to help… make it easy for them.
You may find that some of your current or past clients actually have these bigger/better project needs!
3. Be Bold in Your Proposal & Price
Another key ingredient to having a dream client is putting a dream proposal in front of them. This is almost always (very!) scary the first couple of times you do it. Because you have to put some big numbers out there!
I recently submitted my biggest ever proposal for my video company. Lots of dollar signs! I procrastinated on doing the proposal, contemplated worst-case scenarios in my head, and clenched my teeth as I hit send. But I told myself what I tell other business owners: If you’re not way out of your comfort zone, you’re not stretching your comfort zone that much.
Go be bold, and land those dream clients!
4. Say No When There’s Signs of Trouble
In my zeal for new business, I have been guilty of overlooking “warning” signs. This has landed me some clients I later very much regretted.
For example, I remember signing on a coaching client… a woman who I really wanted to help. I could relate with her situation and empathized with her challenges. However, she wasn’t always respectful of professional boundaries. In my eagerness to help and to earn the money, I ignored the warning signs.
Fast forward to 20-text-messages-in-a-row with LOTS OF CAPS, five-minute-long angry voicemails, MORE CAPS over emails…. Suffice it to say, we had to part ways, and at that point it wasn’t pretty.
Do yourself a favor and amicably part ways with prospects who don’t seem aligned with your vision of a great client.
5. Clean House
Hopefully you’ve avoided having problem clients! But most people I work with have a couple of “very-not-ideal” clients on their roster. These clients drain a vastly disproportional amount of your emotional energy.
If you have to ask, it’s probably time to let them go. (For more tips on this, here’s my article with details on when to fire a client.)
The sooner you find a stopping point and part ways with them, the sooner you liberate all that time & energy! Which you can redirect to going out and finding the new, upgraded clients.
Share Your Thoughts
I’m curious to hear your thoughts! Who’s an upgraded client for you? What’s something you can do to go find them?
Put a comment below!