Nearly every image consultant who comes to me for coaching shares a general goal: get more clients. I’m happy to help them gain new clients but that’s not always the quickest way to get more business. I say more business rather than more clients. If the end result is that you’re earning more each month, does it matter if that business growth is coming from existing clients or brand new ones?
To get a new client you need a strategy for reaching potential clients. This often includes teaching people about our industry. (“You get paid for doing that?”) Then you need to explain how hiring an image consultant is a cost effective solution to their problems.
If you have clients already, you don’t need to put in that effort. They’ve already experienced you and your services. They’re fans already.
Shocking but true: You may be neglecting business that’s right in front of you
In the early years of my career, I assumed more was better: More clients meant more success. It sounds counterintuitive to say this but working with fewer clients is what has created success beyond my dreams!
I had to break some mental barriers for this to happen.
Here’s what I used to think
1. There’s no reason to be proactive (because proactive might come off as pushy) so I’ll just wait and see if my client calls me back for more work instead of me calling her.
2. My client is so busy. She doesn’t have time for me.
3. She’s spent money on clothes and my services this spring. She’s probably not going to want to see me again until fall.
4. I gave her a list of what she needs to shop for. She’ll be okay on her own.
Getting more appointments from clients whom I am already comfortable with became easy once I dumped those assumptions and changed my attitude.
Here’s what I did.
1. I thought about my client long after our appointment ended. I decided to call her and check in. I wanted to know how things were going since our last appointment. I was thoughtful, not pushy. I listened. I felt comfortable bringing up something she’d hinted at in our last meeting.
“Sheri, the stores are filled with spring colors. You mentioned you wanted to get away from your neutral wardrobe and move into brighter colors. Shall we set up a shopping trip to explore these new options? I could see you on Friday if that works for you.”
She could always say no and I’d be fine with that but she never did.
2. A busy client may need you more, not less. I remember the first time I realized this. I saw my client’s busy schedule—travel, business events, hosting parties—and said, “You know what? I don’t think we need to do more shopping this season. You just need to see me more often so I can prepare you for all the commitments you’ve got going.” She said, “Oh my gosh, you’d do that? That would be wonderful!” We did it; it helped her so much. I started offering this to other clients. Soon I was seeing clients on a monthly schedule.
3. Instead of having one or two giant appointments in the spring and fall, I offered smaller appointments to accomplish specific tasks. For every small appointment, another one would show up. I love working this way. No one gets exhausted, more gets done, and I stay on top of my client’s needs.
4. It took many years for our clients to get into the wardrobe ruts they got into. It doesn’t make any sense to give her a shopping list and expect her to get amazing results. I always tell a new client, “I would never expect you to see the things I see in a store. I’ve got your style formula, I know your lifestyle, and I can find what you need in places you’d never know to look. I can make this easy for you. That’s my job!” Once clients experience shopping with you, they’ll never go back.
Is there a chance you’re not opening yourself up to more business? Put your client’s needs in front of your fear of being pushy and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the results!