How Can Serving Entrepreneurs Find Their Best Clients?

Do you help your clients see the big picture?Do you help your clients see the big picture?
Do you help your clients see the big picture?

Do you help your clients see the big picture?

How do you increase the average sales transaction for your growing business?  It’s funny, we coach clients on the different ways we can grow a client’s business, but fail to apply the same thinking to our own businesses.

Before I get any more notes from people saying, “My clients would never pay me a seven figure fee for coaching or consulting!” I suggest the size of the fee doesn’t really matter. If your client isn’t getting a significant ROI on their engagement, the relationship will end sooner rather than later.  Let me share several ideas that help you become a stronger advisor and get better more profitable clients.

The first way to get better clients is to become better at what you do.  If you’re a coach and you’re trying to increase your fees you must get better at what you do.  I was given great book by Dan Sullivan and Catherine Nomura called The Laws of Lifetime Growth. The subtitle is Always Make Your Future Bigger than Your Past.  This book gives many great strategies that help you increase your confidence in dealing with others.

Each chapter has a law that helps you develop as a better person.  The more you model your beliefs, the better you are at creating a future that brings more joy and celebration. Every chapter in this book helps you bring you closer to your growth goals. Dan Sullivan has made a career coaching high performers and taking them to the next level.  You just have to read the chapter titles to get the idea. This should be on every successful coach’s reading list.  Here’s a short sample of the chapter titles:

  • Always make your contribution bigger than your reward
  • Always make your purpose greater than your money
  • (And my personal favorite) Always make your questions bigger than your answers.

If you’re in the people development business, you might want to consider starting with yourself. The more work you do, the more likely you will find your million dollar clients. As my mentor Jim Rohn used to say it’s not the million dollars that matters, but what you become in the pursuit of the million dollars. You can lose the money, but you will never lose who you are.

The second way to get better clients is to learn how to identify better clients. I’m amazed that more people don’t spend time better understanding who their best clients are and why.  When I was regional President for Association of Microsoft Solutions Providers, I had over 350 partners in my region.  I was surprised how many had the same clients. Our more valuable partners had developed successful strategies to develop clients outside the big four or five that everyone else had. When talking with leaders of these businesses, I learned that many of their best clients came from research on what organizations were growing in the region. Find a growing client and you are more likely to sell products and services to them.

Every year, I review the INC 500, Forbes 200, and E&Y Entrepreneur of Year contestants to find new clients. Since many of these businesses don’t appear in local lists of largest employers, you can help create a unique contribution to their growth.  Several of these clients have gone on to become multi-billion dollar organizations and I was able to grow as they grew.  Better clients appreciate the contribution you make to their organization and are willing to support you in growing, as well. When I work with clients, the first thing I do is help them identify their ideal client profile and then help develop products and services that work well in these potential clients. A unique twist one of my partners created was stretched out payments for organizations in high growth. It meant working closely with my clients’ CFOs and controllers and has paid out great dividends over my career.

The third way to get better clients is to invest in understanding how your clients’ businesses operate. If you are successful in doing the other things we’ve talked about, you will be able to create a profitable niche for your business.  When I first went into retained search, my client wanted me to build an organization for them to address their needs for quality professionals. I suggested we would need to develop the knowledge required in this emerging profession. Our client underwrote my learning curve and we were able to successfully add over 20 quality professionals in the first 12 months. Because of this unique specialty, I was invited to work with Dr. W. Edward Deming and represent him here in the Midwest. This single practice and connection has generated millions of dollars in consulting and coaching fees over the years for me and my businesses.

Finally, learn to be more provocative in how you share your ideas.  Get good at sharing a different view of the world. My best long term clients came from my ability to captivate senior leaders with how I saw their current situation. Learn to create powerful frames and metaphors around how you share a client’s challenges.

For example, when the IBM Apple Partnership was announced, I called former clients and partners to see how this new partnership was going to impact their client expansion process with the trend of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trends. I asked what would it be like to have a portable hospital staff that you carry everywhere you go? I’m in the process of working with several new clients because I called to see what they thought it meant to their business. Good advisors invest time every day reading and keeping up with what’s happening with their clients and their client’s customers.

See you next week.

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