Here’s My #1 Client Acquisition Strategy. What’s Yours?

client acquisition strategyThe last time you heard from me, I shared the idea that traditional referrals are dying (or dead). I referenced a study which revealed that referrals are at an all time low for financial advisors, and I suspect they are low for most other professionals as well. This study led me to do an audit of my existing client base to determine how I was acquiring new clients.

This review revealed that I am currently generating over $300,000 in annual recurring revenue from clients who were not in the market for my services when we first met!

Before I tell you how I acquired these clients, let me share the process that led to this discovery. Try this for yourself and see what patterns you notice.

  • Open up a new Excel spreadsheet and make a list of all the clients you’ve acquired over the past five years.
  • Put their names in one column, and how you met them in a second column.

If you have never done this, I highly recommend investing 15 minutes towards this activity.

When I reviewed the data I compiled in the spreadsheet, I realized that hardly any of my clients came through a traditional referral (the prospective client asking my clients for a recommendation, or my clients encouraging them to meet with me).

Almost all of these new client relationships came as a result of me doing something special for my existing clients – often where they could include their friends.

Client Appreciation, in one form or another, has been my best form of business development.

Over the years I have done this in a variety of ways, including hosting events like wine tastings, networking lunches, golf outings, lunch and learns, and sporting events, to name a few.

But the most effective thing I have done that has led to acquiring new clients did not involve me hosting an event. It was inviting existing clients to events which featured great speakers and attendees while giving them the opportunity to invite someone from their network to join us.

So, how do you put this into action for your business?

To start, identify events featuring speakers who will share information that is relevant to a particular client. If you work with business owners, it could be a keynote, a panel discussion on sales, or a topic related to HR. For retirees, it could be a seminar on how to use modern technology more effectively.

When you invite a client, let them know the invitation is for them and a guest of their choosing.

I mentioned earlier that I have $300K of recurring revenue from clients who were not in the market for my services when we first met. In some cases, my recurring clients had tried and failed to get these same people to meet with me.

While they weren’t interested in exploring a professional relationship with me, many of them were interested in the topics presented by Seth Godin and Dan Pink (two of the many speakers I have invited clients and their guests to hear). They were grateful that I made it possible for them to learn from these speakers. And they also realized their current advisors weren’t creating these experiences for them.

These experiences have led to some of my client’s guests becoming clients of mine right away. Most of the time, it simply got me in the game, and I was able to convert them into clients over the weeks or months that followed. And there are times, of course, when these guests do not become my clients, but they were still a huge win from my perspective.

Creating these shared experiences will, first and foremost, deepen your existing client relationships and increase the likelihood they will continue to be happy clients. And in an era where traditional referrals are declining, these experiences can be a great way for you to acquire more amazing clients.

What are your thoughts on using strategies other than traditional referrals to successfully acquire new clients? Share your comments below.

If you agree with my client acquisition strategy and think a friend or colleague could benefit from it, please feel free to share this post with them.

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