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Whether you are already running your own business, or still
thinking about starting your own business, I suspect that deep
down you know you have gifts and talents that can really make a
difference to others. In an ideal world, you'd spend the
majority of time doing the work you love to do, with a steady
stream of clients knocking at your door as and when you want
them. The reality, however, can be somewhat different, and the
whole process of finding new business can be a time consuming
challenge full of uncertainty.
Some would be entrepreneurs are so intimidated by the idea of
finding clients that they never put their dreams into action.
Others start promising businesses, yet give up disillusioned by
the frustrating lack of clients. Some die-hards persist, but at
great emotional and financial cost as the uncertainty about
attracting and maintaining clients takes its toll.
But it doesn't have to be this way. There is a way to reverse
the sales process. Imagine, if you will, a situation where
instead of having to go out and chase new business, qualified
buyers are seeking out YOUR expertise. Imagine putting your
marketing efforts on 'automatic pilot' so the right work turns
up as and when you need it. Imagine being able to pick and
choose which projects you want to work on. Can you imagine
having the confidence to turn down work that doesn't meet YOUR
Here's a metaphor that nicely sums up this approach. Imagine
two boys in a garden. Both of them want to catch birds. One of
them is frantically chasing after birds; the other just stands
still holding out birdseed in his hand and waits. Instinctively,
most of us recognise that the second boy will be more
successful. Yet most sales techniques used by businesses today
involve some form of 'chasing' with the net result that
prospective clients are scared away. In this article you will
discover how the birdseed approach can help you attract rather
than chase clients, and even get them eating out of your hands!
'But that doesn't apply in the business world', I can hear you
say. 'If it were that easy, why don't I already have all the
clients I want?' Well there are a few possible answers. Some of
us have entered the commercial garden, but forgotten the
birdseed! Others haven't even taken the birdseed out of the
packet. Some of us have the birdseed in our hand, but clenched
so tightly the birds can't get to it. If you are to adopt the
latter approach, it's important to spend some time selecting the
right birdseed. So what's your birdseed? To answer this question
you need to know who you are aiming to attract, so that you are
offering the birdseed which is most tasty and appealing to your
1. Take a moment to think about your prospective clients. What
are their concerns and fears? What problems are they struggling
with right now? What are their hopes and desires? Be willing to
think laterally as you think about what is most important to
2. The next step is to align what you have to offer with their
most pressing concerns and needs. How can you help your target
clients even before they become a client of yours?
3. It's important to emphasise that you already have skills,
knowledge and expertise that is valuable to your prospective
clients. The trouble is most of us take what comes naturally to
us for granted, and completely underestimate the value of what
we know to our prospective clients.
Not only is what you know very helpful, you could be using it
to attract your prospective clients, by packaging your knowledge
and expertise in a form that meets one of their current needs.
A classic way of doing this would be to offer a free report or
information pack which answers a question or solves a problem
that your prospective clients have.
For example, if you are a recruitment consultant, you have
probably noticed that some of your existing clients are more
successful at attracting and retaining talent than others.
Now if you sit down and reflect upon this, you could probably
come up with five things that the companies who are successful
at retaining talent do that others don't. This could be based
entirely on your personal observations over the years. Voila!
Flesh out your opinions and you now have a report, '5 ways
attract and retain talent' or 'What companies who are successful
at attracting and retaining clients do that their competitors
This does not need to be a ground breaking piece of academic
research. I want to remind you that you already have an opinion
on this, which may well differ from the mainstream view, and if
I asked you this question over lunch, you would have no problem
in coming up with an answer.
4. Once you have your article written, you could offer this
free report by placing a message or short ad in a place where
your target clients congregate. I call this a magnet - something
that provokes prospective clients to raise their hands and say,
'I'm interested!' By requesting your report, responders indicate
that they are interested in this topic.
Now, not everyone who requests your report will be a hot
prospect, but there will be some potential clients within this
group. The free report would just be the starting point of your
relationship. From this point you could offer more 'birdseed'
each time demonstrating your credibility in this subject area,
up until the point when the prospect asks, 'can you help me', or
a one-to-one conversation is necessary.
This is a low cost way to generate leads and position yourself
as an expert in your particular field. Yes, it takes a little
brainstorming, imagination and creativity on your part, but the
knowledge which shapes your 'birdseed' should come naturally
anyway, and the time spent thinking about the needs and desires
of your prospective clients will never be wasted.
(c) Bernadette Doyle, 2004. Reprint rights granted to all
venues so long as the article and by-line are reprinted intact.
This article may not be used for any publication unless it is
Bernadette Doyle is dedicated to helping self-employed and
small businesses become Client Magnets. Get her FREE 7 part mini-
course 'How to Become A Client Magnet', send a blank email to
|This article was submitted by - Bernadette Doyle||Please Rate/Review this Article - Recommend it to friends|
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