Coming out of the slump and slumber imposed by the COVID crisis lots of service professionals will be looking to get more business. The good news is that getting new business is fairly easy – if you’re willing to go out and do something you’re not currently doing to get it.
Here are 12 short-term strategies you can use to bring in more business – and a much-needed cash flow surge over the coming few months.
1. Build a referral engine into your business
It’s a great start if you can make it a habit to ask for referrals any chance you get, but by “referral engine” I mean doing it routinely and systematically. This means putting in place a system for asking your existing customers and strategic partners for referrals, educating them on how to do it right (so that you get the most qualified prospects), incentivizing them, etc.
Focusing on referrals in your services business is one of the best things you can do for growth, recession or no recession, because it can quickly build your business, free up your time, and put more cash in your bank account.
2. Get paid for the referrals you give other businesses
As a service professional you probably give other businesses referrals. You can ask to get paid some fees for them, especially if you’re sending the referrals to businesses that you don’t have a strategic partnership with (for example businesses that do not or cannot reciprocate by giving you referrals themselves).
3. Add new products or services to your back end
Getting new customers is always the hardest part of running any business, and so it makes a lot of sense to maximize your investment by selling your existing customers additional products and/or services.
If you take a business like Disney, at some point they were only known for making movies. But then they added all sorts of other products and services to the backend, including selling toys, clothes, offering theme parks, world class golfing, even vacation cruises!
Note, however that they’re doing it in line with their core vision or value proposition which is something along the lines of “We feel families should be able to spend quality time together being entertained in ways we couldn't when we were a kid!”
They didn’t start adding just anything to their backend. Typically you want to add a product or service that in some way helps your customers to get the most from what you first sold them.
4. Do you sell a service? Think of adding a product that compliments it
So for example, if you you’re a life coach you could have your customers buy personalized apps from you that they can install on their phones to help them become more accountable or whatever. It’s not the best of examples but I guess you get the point.
5. Do you sell products? Think of adding a service
Adding a service to a product is even easier. A venture capitalist could offer specialized business training or consulting to his clients for example, in addition to providing capital.
6. “Productize” your services
Do you offer free-form consulting? Now consider bundling specific services into a “product” that you give a nice-sounding name and a fixed price. The “product” will then fetch a higher price than you earned previously when selling the services separately.
7. Raise prices of your services
Many service professionals undervalue what they do, sometimes charging too little, sometimes discounting in an attempt to win more business. But did you know that cutting prices to get more business is almost always a bad idea?
You should only do it if you’re getting something in exchange. Make sure you’re not charging a bit too little for your services, and if you’re, think of raising prices for both your services and products.
8. Build joint ventures and/or strategic partnerships
There are always other people or businesses that have something you need, such as products you could add to your backend, or customers they work with who could buy your services.
When you’ve found these, the next step is to trade with them by building partnerships or a joint venture. The goal is to pool your time and your resources to create more business all around.
9. Create a customer magnet special report
As a professional there is information you know that your customers will gobble up if you gave it to them in a special report. Your customers have this conversation going on in their heads, “If I could just…” that you can help them find answers to.
An example, “If I could just get out of debt and organize my finances so I could retire by age 55!” If you’re a financial planner you could put together a report that shows these people how to do just that.
Then use this report to market your services, for example by letting your strategic partners we saw above to give it out free to their client base. You could also sell this report for supplemental revenue.
10. Invoke the Rolodex routine
As a business you have a list of resources – customers, suppliers, business partnerships, etc. So, go through this list one name after another and make a call to anyone that looks like they could help your business in some way.
Can they help you sell more of your services? Are they good for networking or joint venturing? Some of these people you could just call to say hello – it’s always good for business, now or later!
11. Conduct a survey to discover why your customers buy from you
Ask your customers questions, and focus especially on why they choose to buy from you.
Besides bringing in new business, this should give you priceless information you can use to get better at what you do, to serve your customers better, even to come up with product/service ideas for what to add to your backend as we saw earlier.
12. Turn what you know into an information product you can sell online or offline
As a an expert at what you do, why not consider turning your hard-won expertise into an educational course? Think e-course. or paid webinar or seminar or a boot camp. You could also create a video (or printed) home study course.
There are all sorts of specialized platforms where you can do this online very quickly, such as Udemy and Thinkific.
I have given you twelve ways how to get more customers/clients for your service-based business, all of them simple and dignified, and they are proven to work really well for service professionals. But listen, you don’t have to apply all of them in your business.
The idea is to find what will work for you, or what you like (or might like) doing, and then taking immediate action (remember, you want a cash flow surge like this week, or this month!).
Like one expert said, “A goal you are carrying around in your head is not a goal, it is a wish.” ~ Jim Donovan in The Little Book That Can Change Your Life
So, why don’t you take action right now, this very minute, by noting down on paper two or three of these ideas above that you feel will work for you?