You’re freaking out about your lack of clients. All your friends are all, “I’m all booked up for the year!” And then they give you that little victory smile that means they’re really proud of themselves, and you try to be proud of them, too. Only you are flipping about about how you can’t afford to freaking pay the rent, let alone pick up a Hug Me Elmo before Christmas rolls around.
Having no clients forces you to make personal connections.
If you want business starting today, another Facebook blast or blog post isn’t going to cut it. You’re going to have to get personal, and you’re going to learn a ton about selling in the process.
First, gather a list of the contact information of all your past clients. And I mean ALL. Rummage through your e-mails, your order forms, your service notes — whatever you have — to find the e-mail and snail mail addresses for your past clients, as well as their phone numbers.
Next, come up with a reason — otherwise known as an incentive — for each one of these past clients to book your services.
“I’ve got lots of space on my calendar and I’m just calling to see if you’d like to pay full price for no reason” is not going to fly.
You’ve got to give them a reason to book your services right that instant, on the phone.
An incentive is just an extra special reason to book or buy.
For example, you might offer an extra fifteen minutes on the phone for a consultation, a handmade batch of your famous brownies, or a gift card to your favorite coffee shop. A single serving of whatever you’re selling, whether it’s a mini mascara, a few of your famous caramels, a single digital image, or a design tweak that usually costs extra.
Whatever you choose, make sure your offer is generous and shows your clients something you personally love.
Recently, one of the peeps I gave this information to replied, “Starbucks. Everybody likes Starbucks, right?” Only SHE didn’t like Starbucks — so no, that’s not a good incentive. We kept talking, and it turns out that she adores a local brew pub. Her clients are all local to her, so she’s basing her incentive around that: gift card for two beers and a popcorn, anyone?
When you’ve found something you’re excited to give and your clients are excited to receive, it’s time to take action.
Call each one of those past clients on your list and offer them the incentive. YES CALL STOP FREAKING OUT YOU’VE GOT NO CLIENTS, REMEMBER?
It can go like this: “Hey there, I just wanted to let you know I’ve only got 3 spots left for the rest of the month, and I want to make sure you get one. You’ll get my amazing services, plus a $20 gift card to Barnes and Noble for putting down your deposit right now.”
If you have to leave a voicemail, be sure to leave a time frame to claim your amazing offer — I suggest 24 hours. If you get a live human, it’s a once-and-done thing. No hemming or hawing or getting back to you in order to claim the incredible freebie. Just move on, wish ’em well, and get to booking your next client.
If calling makes you run away to throw up in the toilet, come back to me. You can do the same thing via e-mail, but it won’t be as effective. Personal e-mails are great — phone calls are better. (Also if the phone makes you want to throw up, you’re probably an introvert and should buy this book immediately.)
Before you get all freaked out and say you would NEVER be okay with getting a call like this — think about it. Think about if your dentist actually called to invite you to get your teeth cleaned.
Not his assistant, not his receptionist — but the man himself. Likewise, think about if your massage therapist or your hair stylist or your graphic designer noticed that they hadn’t heard from you in a while and called to check in. You wouldn’t resent them, you’d be like, “HELL YES!! Sign me up!”