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By Charlie Cook

If you are like most service professionals and small
business owners one of your primary concerns is generating
as many leads as possible. And that may be your biggest
mistake, resulting in wasting time on unqualified prospects
and working with to many clients you wish you didn't have

Bill is a financial advisor looking for clients. Working
from his stack of leads he picks up the phone and starts
making calls. The first person he gets on the phone has lots
of questions and it turns out is just looking for free
advice. After a half hour Bill finally gets him off the
phone. Bill's next call finds a highly interested prospect.
After forty-five minutes, he's ready to sign her up, when he
discovers she only has a couple of hundred dollars to

At the end of the day, Bill has spent eight hours on the
phone and still hasn't signed up any new clients.

Do you ever spend time chasing leads that are just a waste
of time?

Martha is a graphic designer who has plenty of clients but
her profits have been shrinking instead of growing lately.
One of her long-term clients calls her daily with a question
or a complaint. Just when Martha thinks a project is done,
this one client changes her mind and wants it redone. And
while the customer is always right, this customer's lack of
respect and professionalism is starting to get under
Martha's skin.

Have you ever had to deal with clients who waste your time
or are unrealistic in their demands?

A common mistake is to try to appeal to everyone, with the
result that you attract to many people who don't want to pay
for your services and clients you'd rather not work with. A
more profitable marketing strategy is to position yourself
and your firm to attract just those clients that want to
work with you and who you'd enjoy sharing your expertise.

Imagine that every lead you pursued turned into a client,
one who you could be honest and direct with, a client who
you looked forward to working with. You'd make more money
and have more fun.

Wouldn't it be nice if you could pick and choose your

While you can't completely control who contacts you, you can
use your marketing to position yourself to attract promising
prospects and people who would make good clients. Here's

Define Your Ideal Client
If you want to attract the perfect client, you need to know
who they are. Take out a piece of paper and write a couple
of paragraphs describing their characteristics.

- What business is your ideal client in?
- What is their role in the organization?
- Where are they located?
- What type of person are they?
- What is their situation?
- What are the problems they want solved?
- What are other characteristics that are important to you?

Use Your Marketing Message
People are far more likely to contact you whey they have a
clear idea of who you help and how. Increase the number of
qualified prospects who contact you with an effective
marketing message and you'll reduce the number of "tire
kickers" who waste your time.

Use Articles
Write and distribute an article and/or provide it on your
web site, to help people understand your approach, who you
help and how you can help them. Prospects who like and agree
with your thinking will want to contact you and work with

Use questions to Qualify Prospects
You can't be everything to everybody and it's a waste of
time to try. Create a short list of questions to qualify
prospects. Use these questions when you call them on the
phone and in the service inquiry forms you provide on
your web site. If prospects don't meet your criteria,
you can keep them on your mailing list, but avoid wasting
your time by calling them.

If you've called one of them and they don't seem like a good
prospect, get off the phone in 3 minutes or less and move on
to a more promising prospect.

Clarify Expectations
It is tempting to want to sign up every prospect that wants
to work with you. This is particularly true when you are
just starting up your business or when business is slow. But
before you close a deal or sign an agreement, make sure they
clearly understand what you will do and when. You don't want
them emailing you every five minutes or expecting you'll
answer their phone calls at two in the morning or provide
additional services for free.

Make a short list of questions to ask that will help clients
define what they are looking for. When you talk with clients
use these questions to clarify their expectations. If you
can meet these requests, use their answers to provide a
summary of services. That way you will both be working from
the same script.

Get Rid of Problem Clients
With only a limited number of hours a day and years in your
life, you'll be happier and more profitable if you focus
your marketing on clients that understand and appreciate
your expertise. They'll be far more likely to return and
refer you to others. If you have clients who are unpleasant
to work with or are taking up too much of your time, find a
way to tactfully get them to look elsewhere.

Use these marketing strategies to position your firm to
attract the prospects you want so you can pick and choose
your clients. You'll have more fun, increase your profits
and be more successful.
2004 In Mind Communications, LLC. All rights reserved.
The author, Charlie Cook, helps service professionals and
small business owners attract more clients and be more
successful. Sign up for the Free Marketing Plan eBook,
'7 Steps to get more clients and grow your business'

This article was submitted by - Charlie Cook Please Rate/Review this Article - Recommend it to friends

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