About the time I really started to wrap my head around this notion of narrowing your target market focus to a certain type of client and certain type of work I could identify as ideal, a funny thing happened that sealed the deal on this strategy. (The first time you turn down work is a bit scary, but the payoff long term is so worth it.)
I got a call from a prospective client that was ready to hire me based on the advice of a friend of a friend. We chatted briefly and agreed to meet. I was following my lead conversion process so I presented what I knew, asked about his pain, and told him how I worked. He nodded, agreed, and said, “that’s great, but here’s what I really want you to do.” There was a time when I would have said to myself, “OK, I mean, how hard could it be and he said he would pay me, right?” In this case, I said, I may not be the right person for what you need, but I think I know someone who could help you. At first he was caught a bit off guard, but I agree to stay in touch and sent him several contacts I thought could help.
But, here’s where it got good. About a week later I get a call from a colleague of the former prospect who says, “Bill told me about what you do and how he really liked your honest approach and style – I think we should work together.” And then it happened again, and then again. This one “no” turned into three perfect long-term engagements. I took note of the power of saying no the right way, never again attracted the wrong kind of work, and saw referrals go through the roof.
Now, referrals increased in part because of my stick to it, authentic, we can’t help everyone approach, but the real referral momentum came about because of the focus on attracting clients I knew I could be successful helping and knew would value what I had to offer – nailing these two elements will lead to referral business faster than you can ask for it!
Wrap your brain around the exact type of prospect, problem, engagement or solution you know you can deliver to a prospect in need and tell the world yes I can help you if you fit and no I can’t help you if you don’t fit with equal conviction and watch the side buzz from both groups help you grow your business.