It’s always a challenge for small businesses and freelancers to find clients without the help of marketing teams and giant advertising budgets.
Many rely on digital and social media to find leads for clients, but building networks with promising partnerships, networks, and direct conversations with potential customers are some of the best ways to source new clients for your business.
1. Get out of your bubble.
If you’re working from home, you’re away from countless opportunities to meet potential clients or client links. In an office environment, such as a coworking space, you are connected to countless other members you can learn from, be inspired by, and create business opportunities with.
Actively pursuing new networks, events and experiences all put you in contact with new people and prospects – and it’s incredibly hard to meet new people when you’re in the same habits as you’ve always been. Taking a risk to build new networks is worth every moment of anxiety if you can be proactive and use it to get your brand and business out in the world.
Read more: How to Plan for Business Growth
2. Sharing and collaborating
Innovation and progress happen when organically when sharing your ideas.
Let yourself be vulnerable and reach out to others around you for ideas and discussions that can be beneficial for both of you.
Creating a diverse network is essential to being able to reach out to new audiences and demographics – having a focused target market is great, but you should always be investigating ways your business can help new clients.
By collaborating with someone in a complementary yet different market, you can each capitalise on your different existing networks and client bases, as well as learning from each other’s successes and mistakes.
3. Use your network!
Sometimes finding new clients is as simple as reaching out to your existing network to let them know you have the capacity for more workload and clients.
Word of mouth is one of the best forms of marketing, and you should already be showing the people around you that you’re great at what you do – if you reach out with a request for referrals, your network may surprise you.
People want to see their friends and connections succeed, and putting yourself at the front of mind for new opportunities or recommendations will help you not only find new clients, but clients who essentially come referred to you too.
Your network is one of the most valuable tools you have, and as well as being a great support they can help you grow your business.
4. Hosting and attending events
Networking at events is hard, but important. Even better than networking as an attendee is networking as a speaker – some coworking spaces provide opportunities for members to host their own events by hiring out event spaces, or as part of member programming, allowing them to either run their own larger event or use the coworking space’s programming as a platform.
If you don’t feel like getting up and speaking about your expertise in front of a crowd, you may find your future clients are at more low-key networking events, or even just socialising events. In a space like Hub Southern Cross, with over 600 members, many members meet each Friday to chat over a drink, and these casual connections have led to ongoing collaborations and business-growing relationships.
Read more: What is Coworking and Why Should I Care?
5. Add value to your product
A value-add is a great way to perk interest in your company from clients who may be more cost-conscious. Whether you offer a free consultation, extra month free, or something else that adds enough interest from potential clients to let them take a chance on your company.
Don’t fall into the temptation to undersell yourself though – your offer is an opportunity for you to prove how amazing you are at what you do and win your new client over.
If you undersell yourself too much, you may attract new clients that are neither willing or able to afford your regular rates, or may undervalue your labour and expertise.
6. Encourage Feedback
Aim to get feedback from every single one of your clients.
Whether it’s in the form of a testimonial or constructive feedback that helps you identify where you can improve, every bit of feedback is valuable.
Negative or ambivalent feedback can be an opportunity for you to prove your business can go above and beyond to offer solutions, and create a passionate advocate out of every customer and client.
Whether your business is service or product based, loyal customers and clients are worth their weight in gold.