Recently I was on The Dave Ramsey Show and we took a caller that had a great question. She’s a freelance assistant and her target market is law offices, accounting firms, and real estate companies. Her question was how to cold call on clients in order to get her foot in the door.
That’s a great question, because many of the women I coach through the Business Boutique have a similar desire to grow their client base but aren’t sure how.
So here are three ways for you to get your foot in the door and grow your client base.
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1. Don’t cold call. Make connections. Somewhere in your network of friends, church, community or social media, you know people who know people who know people. I’d start there. Ask around to start making connections with people in your target market. You’re much more likely to get in the door with someone that’s a connection than just cold calling, even if it’s a really far-removed connection. Even if it’s your brother’s college roommate’s cousin’s best friend’s Twitter follower, that’s better than nothing. We live in a relationship culture and trust economy. They just need to be connected to you in some way.
2. Come bearing gifts. If you exhaust your network, chat up every other adult on the sidelines at your kids’ soccer game, and still come up empty, you can cold-call companies—but don’t come empty handed. Deliver hot doughnuts, warm cookies or fresh coffee. When you bring something, you can start to build a relationship with them. As you invest in that relationship, you earn the right to be heard and can get in the door for a meeting with more ease and credibility.
3. Offer a free sample. When you walk through Costco, they’ve got free samples everywhere. And every time you try something that tastes delicious, you of course want to buy it. Offer your services for free for a short period of time as a free trial in order to gain their trust and prove yourself. Few people turn down free help, so that will get you in the door. As you build a relationship and prove your worth, you can convert them into paying clients.
No one enjoys cold calling, but you don’t have to let fear keep you from growing your business. Use these three strategies to help you build your client base and get your foot in the door gracefully.