This book completely changed my approach to marketing and selling!
And that after I had worked already for more than a decade in business development, marketing and selling for creative businesses and cultural organisations!
Get Clients Now!: A 28-Day Marketing Program for Professionals, Consultants, and Coaches really gave me some great insights into the real process of marketing and sales, the time and care it needs to succeed, and it gave me a far more practical and action led approach to selling in particular.
From a fairly theoretical (and ultimately safe!) and strategic approach to marketing (think 7 P’s: Product, Place, Price, Promotion etc) and creating strategic marketing plans, this book gave me the tools to get my hands dirty, daring me to get in touch with real clients, and not just theorise (and often fantasise) about getting them!
It also confronted me with some of my own fears around selling and marketing, that I had tried to ignore so far …
So, what’s different about Get Clients Now!?
This book uniquely combines:
- Theory: with lots of practical ‘how to’ info about 100’s of promotional tools you can read about, choose from and use immediately in your small business (at very limited cost!). From how to write a good introduction, to what goes onto a business card, to how to network successfully or succeed in meetings and negotiations, or overcoming buyer’s objections. You don’t have to read the entire book, you just can dip in quickly to read more about specific promotional tools that appeal to you.
- A plan or framework: it gives you a 28 day strategy and marketing plan framework that enables you to set your own overall marketing goals and daily or weekly marketing activities to achieve these goals. This gives focus most importantly, and it breaks the whole marketing process down so that is feels like something you can actually achieve.
- Emotions around marketing and selling: it discusses your fears, procrastinations, resentment, excuses, worries about marketing and selling and tackles them head on. (Yes, it turns out that everybody has these little voices popping up once in a while!)
- Stop talking, get into action: it is a 28-day programme that is entirely focussed on getting you into action, and to move forward.
- Combine short and medium term activities: the book asks you to identify skills or tools that are currently stopping you in your marketing (e.g. not having a website, limited negotiation skills etc) that you will work on over a month, and also weekly or daily marketing and promotional activities (such as: contact 5 potential clients this week, put my work on 2 portfolio websites this week, have one client meeting this week)
- The action plan consists of 10 daily/weekly activities of your choosing: combining longer term project work (e.g. launch a website, get high quality photos), actual business development (e.g. contact and follow up with leads, build a database), and self-management (e.g. make your marketing fun and creative, sleep enough).
- Get support & accountability to help you succeed: This book really encourages you to work with a buddy, marketing coach or coaching group to go through this book and its 28-day programme step-by-step. This will create accountability, and will motivate you to keep going. Think about it a bit like a Weight Watchers or AA group, whereby you will be measured every week against your progress, but also get support and tips. (From my own experience this is THE major factor to really getting you into action as you don’t want to look stupid and you get inspired by others!)
Get Clients Now!: A 28-Day Marketing Program for Professionals, Consultants, and Coaches
is great for:
- Professional sole traders, freelancers, small businesses. Especially those providing a service (such as designers), but it also works very well for makers of high quality craft products. There are many creative case studies in the book, but also from other professions such as coaches, accountants and consultants.
- People who need to focus their marketing efforts, and to get new ideas and energy into their marketing. These might be new sole traders who don’t know where to start and have done ‘a bit of marketing here and there’ to sole traders who have been going for a while and really need to rebrand or push a little harder to be heard in the current market place. You can use this 28-day programme every 3 – 4 months or so to give your marketing a real boost.
- People who don’t know where to begin with their marketing, have got too many ideas, and feel overwhelmed. You want to finish your website before contacting clients, but you are also wondering about writing blog posts and participating in that trade show later in the year. You have got lots of ideas (probably too many!), but you don’t know what the ‘right’ choice is, so you don’t get started at all.
- People who want to get more accountability and support to get into action, who find it difficult to stay motivated working by themselves, and who want to overcome their procrastination. Saying to others that you will do x by x date, will actually really help you to get out there and make it happen! Working as part of a group can really help you to stay motivated, to get ideas and to help each other.
- People who like to be more organised and in control, work within a proven framework and like to-do-lists to tick off regularly what they have done. More than 85,000 copies of this book have been sold so far.
Get Clients Now! is probably not for you, if:
- You hate planning, to-do-lists, setting or committing yourself to goals.
One of the main weaknesses of Get Clients Now!: A 28-Day Marketing Program for Professionals, Consultants, and Coaches, which was published in 2007, is that it is weak on social media. Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, Google Plus or YouTube and the like are barely mentioned, and are great marketing tools to stay in touch with contacts. I assume that fairly soon a new updated version will be published to address this issue (and it shows how quickly online marketing has moved on!) PS You can now get the 3rd edition of the book here: Get Clients Now!: A 28-Day Marketing Program for Professionals, Consultants, and Coaches We will very soon be updating the information and review the 3rd edition.
The 5 big ideas in this book are:
- “People do business with people they know, like and trust.” This has become my marketing mantra! Think about it for a moment. You wouldn’t ask somebody on your first date to marry you, so why should you buy something expensive or important when you have only just heart or seen something? There are various steps involved in the process to sell (see also under Marketing Cycle).
- The most effective marketing strategies (those that really work) for professional service providers are based on building personal relationships. People are bombarded with marketing messages and far more cynical and critical then they used to be. Again, you need to earn the trust from your potential client, especially if you deliver a service as these are intangible.
- The most effective marketing strategies for professional services are: direct contact, follow up, networking and referral building. The least effective are advertising and promotional events.
- There is a marketing and sales process that operates on a predictable cycle or pipeline called the Marketing Cycle,which has four separate stages, that follow each other:
- Filling the pipeline to get to know more people and to fill your address book
- Following up to build trust and knowledge of your existence
- Getting presentations where you present yourself and work in more detail
- Closing the sale where you will negotiate and sign the contract
- If you focus on the stage where you are stuck or struggle with and focus on that with specific marketing actions for that stage then your marketing effort will start to flow (again). For example if you don’t have enough contacts in your address book or you don’t have a database at all (stuck at stage 1), then you need to start working on getting more contacts and business cards in the first place through research and networking. Or you might get lots of meetings, but actually very few contracts (stuck at stage 3). You then will need to work on your presentation and negotiation skills, and probably focus on getting more higher qualified leads.
My top 10 practical business & marketing tips from this book:
- Only commit to doing those marketing activities that you will actually do! Don’t like cold calling? Don’t do it, as it won’t work for you! Marketing needs to be a reflection of who you are and what you believe in, so make it fun and creative! (having said that, your goals need to be a bit of a stretch to really satisfy you, and you sometimes need to push yourself out of your comfort zone!)
- Effective self-promotion is not rude, pushy, boastful or self-serving. Effective self-promotion is about serving others, being helpful and useful to others, it is about caring about fulfilling other people’s needs and wants.
- One of the best tools of the book is the so called ‘Special Permission’. Most people are blocked in marketing and sales by self-sabotaging thinking or behaviour. You are definitely not the only one suffering from procrastination or negative messages from your own inner critic! Giving yourself permission to alter these long-standing habits can be a powerful step in the direction of lasting change. In the Get Clients Now! programme you will be consciously granting yourself a Special Permission every day to counter your negative thoughts or behaviour that prevents you from being successful. For example: I can make a good living and still raise my family, I deserve to be successful, Its ok to put my business first, I can be scared and still pick up the phone.
- This is the Thought of the Day for Day 10:‘Work expands to fill the time allotted to it. If you want to get more done, give each task only the amount of time it is worth to you. And if you want to work less, allow less time for work.’ (ouch!)
- Following up with contacts and leads is one of the most important but underrated aspects of the marketing and sales process. Many sole traders focus mostly on constantly getting new contacts – it is far more beneficial to followup with those you already have contact with. Not very sexy, but far more productive! Stay in contact with people through regular newsletters, invite them to events or exhibitions, let them know what you are working on. Don’t spam them, but keep them informed, not just as a potential client but as a potential referral too!
- Getting more referrals is one of the most effective ways to get new business. If somebody else refers you then they will trust you, are more ready to do business with you, and are more likely to spend more too. It is very likely that more than half of your design business work will come from referrals, so work on getting more referrals!
- Networking means so much more then circulating in a room full of strangers to exchange business cards. A broader view of networking is to create a pool of contacts from which you can draw potential clients, referrals, resources, ideas and information. You can network by phone, online and in person. Attend workshops to network in a smaller group, continue to go to recurring meetings or workshops, participate in online communities and forums, volunteer or serve on committees. (I personally dislike networking in a large group, but love 1-2-1 networking, and felt really good to get this confirmed)
- Afraid of public speaking? Start out with trying something small: volunteer to introduce speakers at an event, be part of a panel, host a meeting, run a practical workshop.
- One of the best ways to get more referrals is to actively give referrals to others. They will ‘owe’ you, and are therefore more likely to return the favour!
- You need to have so many potential prospects in your pipeline that any one ‘no’ becomes much less important, as there are others to follow up with!
About the author:
C.J. Hayden is a bestselling author of various business and marketing books, a business coach that specialises now in social entrepreneurs, a trainer and speaker who helps entrepreneurs get clients, get unstuck, and get on purpose. Her company, Wings for Business, specializes in serving independent professionals, solopreneurs, and service business owners.
The Design Trust Get Clients Now! Coaching programme for designers and makers
I thought this book gave me so much practical advice and tips, that I decided to train as an accredited Get Clients Now! facilitator. I now regularly run intensive 6-week group coaching programmes specifically for designers, makers and other creative soletraders and freelancers to help them with their marketing and sales.
If you want to boost your marketing skills & confidence, and want to get into action and stop procrastinating, then join us for our next programme! Click here for full details.
Get Clients Now!™ is a trademark of Wings for Business LLC and is used under license.