How to get more clients ASAP? Business networking with people who already trust you.

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Your own network, even your friends, often forget what it is you do. 
Or if they remember, it's too rarely… and not when they happen to be talking to someone who could be an ideal client of yours. They’re not thinking of you, which is when you want them to be thinking of you!
If you aren't keeping in touch with your network, how will they remember to refer new clients to you?
Of the many service providers I have personally coached, I can count on one hand the number of people who, before they started working with me, were consistently and personally keeping in touch with their network about what they do. 
Personal outreach is a higher quality of contact than just seeing your posts on social media. 
Here is the fastest way to gain new clients:
Personally reach out to 50 individuals, with a message customized for each person.
It’s about being a resource to others... to be of genuine service to them and their friends.
You can take your time in sending these 50 messages… perhaps 10 messages per week for 5 weeks.  However, the sooner you send them, the sooner you’ll get additional inquiries about your work.
Here are 4 categories of people to reach out to, and what you might say to them…

​1. Supportive Friends & Clients

​Who are the friends that are supportive of your business?
Which of these people would probably love to help you… if only they knew how?
As you look at the following ideas, be sure to write the message in your voice and make it natural to that relationship. This is where a lot of people trip up -- they just follow a template and ignore the relationship that is there. Be authentic to your sense of connection to that person. Be real, not salesy.
The essence of what you might want to communicate is the following:
  1. I'm reaching out because I’m seeking some help to fill some client openings.
  2. I love what I do, and I’m great at helping [this type of person].
  3. Here are a few of the key problems that my service helps people to solve... [list them in bullet points]
  4. Here's what a few of my clients have said... [give 2-3 short testimonials]
  5. Do you know anyone who could use this kind of service?
  6. If so, I’d be happy to sit down with them for [a free 1-hour consultation] to figure out their needs, and see if I can help them or if not, to refer another resource.
  7. Let me know if I can help answer any questions to make it easier for you to think of who would be ideal to introduce to me.
  8. Here's the simplest way to introduce them to me (e.g. send them an email and cc me, and I'll take it from there.)
  9. I’ll take great care of the people you send me!
Remember: the more you customize the email just for them, the more you are respecting the relationship.
Write your message from the heart, grounded in the sense of connection with them.

​2. Your Fans

  • Your email newsletters' top openers 
  • People who have inquired about your service in the past
  • Private messages from your fans in your social media acco unts, including your FB Business Page
  • Engagers of your social media business posts (Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, Medium, etc.)
  • If people are already engaging with you, they are already open to your ideas and personality. 
    Use a similar template as above to contact them, except since they’re not personal friends but more like acquaintances, you don’t have to customize the message as much for each person.

​3. Your Former Clients

Given the principles as above (i.e. use your own voice, not the exact template, and customize it for the person), here is the gist of what to communicate:
  1. How’s it going with [the issue you worked with them on]?
  2. Here’s a piece of content I thought you might find helpful for that issue.... [give link to one of your articles/videos, or someone else's content that you found helpful.] 
  3. I’ve got availability in my business right now. If you’d like to schedule something, here’s the link... (or I've got an upcoming event and thought of you... here's the link.)
  4. Let me know if I can answer any questions.
  5. Either way, I'd love to hear how you are doing. Reply when you have a moment.

4. ​Your Colleagues

​For this activity, I define a "colleague" as someone you don't know as well as a "supportive friend" (category 1), but someone you feel resonant with, and has a network of people similar to your ideal clients.
Where are your colleagues? Find them in:  
1. First, go to their social media profile, and scroll down to see what they've been posting lately. Keep scrolling until you find something that you personally resonate with. It could be a life event of theirs that you want to say something about. Or some help they asked for, that you could come to their aid. Or some topic they posted on, that you have a helpful opinion about.
2. Send them a private message:
  • Based on what you saw from their recent posts, say what you resonate with or would add as a contribution to the conversation.
  • Say that you're interested to connect more and see how you might support each other's businesses. For example, you could give feedback on each other’s websites or services. Or you could talk about whether there might be opportunity for any referrals in the future for one another.​​

​Some encouragement...

Perhaps the only thing that is holding you back from doing this activity is your own internal resistance. I trust that you have some tool (mental, emotional, spiritual) to resolve these inner blocks. If not, reach out to a friend or coach to have them apply their tools on your hesitations, doubts, fears.
The most successful entrepreneurs tend to be the ones with the least fear.
Work on removing your fear of reaching out... perhaps replacing it with the love of connection and service.
By lovingly taking the actions above, you'll likely gain new clients soon.
Remember: in the beginning of your business, before you have a large enough audience who loves your content and naturally shares it forward, you need to do more personal outreach. We spend the most energy when starting from zero, but then become far more energy efficient once we’re in motion.
Keep contacting people, in a service-oriented way, until someone says Yes. Always make it a custom message, to respect your connection to them.
As you experiment and learn, keep updating the way you do this, so that it’s more and more authentic to you. 
Some business gurus like Gary Vaynerchuk encourage us to reach out to 1,000 people and maybe expect 10 to say Yes. But that’s for outreach to a totally cool audience. The methods I’ve explained above are to reach your warm or lukewarm audience, so your response rate should be much higher than 1%. 
Just start by reaching out to 50 people. If you follow my suggestions above, you’ll be on your way to getting new clients soon.
You won't know until you try!

If you’d like to go even deeper into this topic of attracting/enrolling clients, check out my Authentic Client Enrollment course.

This blog post was originally written in 2017, updated in 2021.