I get asked all the time how to speed up the process of booking free consultations and appointments with TARGETED prospects. Well here are my top ways to book them fast. The thing to note here is that this is MY style. So it may not work for you, but I guarantee it works. This is how I’ve built a 6 figure coaching practice on a small budget. And if you are a small business owner reading this… KNOW THIS…. These are great strategies for you as well….
Before you use any of these strategies you have to ask yourself a few questions.
1. Who is my target market? (industry, revenue size, number of employees, etc…)
2. How much do I know about these people? (Have you got any scouting info on them??? Know your prospects, but use your judgment on this. I typically only scout info on big fish. I rarely do on the little ones.)
3. What is the best way to reach them? (you have to customize the approach for the individual)
And now for the strategies….
1. Networking – Networking has always been a core of what I do, but I use it for different reasons that most people. I have found that I can pick up a client or two at networking events, but I have more success when I build alliances or referral partners at these events. So my main focus when networking is looking for great alliance partners like CPA’s, HR consultants, payroll companies, staffing companies, and similar industries. I will also make a point to scout around for appointments. You just have to be ruthless with your time and meet the right people. I’m very quick to act at these events and ALWAYS have my calendar on my phone to set the appointment right there. It’s an absolute WASTE of time to think you can book the appointment when you get back to your office.
2. Referrals Part 1 – The first type of referrals is FROM CLIENTS. Tip number 1… You don’t have to wait 6 months to ASK for a referral. Ask at the end of consultations, who they know that would benefit from the topics you discussed today in the consultation. For example, who do you know that always complains about hiring good people? Ask a targeted question and get some specific names. And yes, you do need a plan to ask about once a quarter from all of your clients. I like to reward them with a prepaid gift card or something else they will love after I get a new client and at least a thank you card for the referrals. Show them you value their help whether it results in a sale or not! They will love that….
3. Referrals Part 2 – This is a great strategy that most coaches never use. Next time you go on a consultation and DON’T CLOSE, ask them who they know that is a good prospect for you. There’s a good chance they will come up with a name or two.
4. Targeted Direct Mail – Regular direct mail does work, it just has to be done on a MASSIVE scale. Which is a pain in the backside if you ask me. So I like to do targeted campaigns. Use a case study like the one on Carpet Cleaners and mail out something to just carpet cleaners in your territory (by the way, your territory is larger than you think…. It’s your whole state and not just your backyard.). The great thing about a campaign like this is that you can invest more in each candidate. For example, the normal direct mail campaign to 1,000 prospects of all shapes and sizes will usually run you about $500 just on postage. So each prospect gets about 50 cents worth of investment when you count the envelope, letter, and stamp. Impressive!
Now let’s look at a targeted list of Carpet Cleaners. I pulled up a list for all of them in my metro area here of 3 million people and found there were only 13 that met my criteria for revenues, employee size, etc. I expanded the search until I got to 25 around the area. Now that’s targeted. If I invest the same $500, I can now invest up to $20 per prospect. So I can actually mail them a small package or something really creative. The odds are, all 25 will GET the piece, and all 25 will OPEN my piece. Beats a 1% call rate from shotgun blasting direct mail any day.
5. Sporting Events – I live in big sports town. We have the Rams, Cardinals, and Blues. All of which have done well over the past 10+ years and been to the playoffs or won championships. So it’s a big part of the town and much of the surrounding area. Again, looking at my budget, I can invest $500 to $1,000 in marketing and maybe get in front of a few folks or I can take that $500 to $1,000 and buy 5 to 10 seats at a game. Imagine getting a letter or call from me asking if I can take you to a game. No strings attached. Come to the game. I have you for 3 hours… This is best when you ask clients or strategic alliance partners to invite a business owner they know. It makes a great CNE for them, and opens the door to a new client.
6. Dinner Out – The theme here is if you have a couple hundred dollars to spend on marketing, do it right… This is yet another strategy where I can get a targeted lead in front of me for about 2 or 3 hours in a casual setting and really get to know them. Again, go back to your clients and strategic alliances and ask them to bring a guest to dinner.
7. Strategic Alliances – We’ve all heard about this one and quite frankly it’s about as mythical as a unicorn for most coaches. Here’s the secret… If you want to develop great strategic alliances you have to do two things. 1. Show them the money! – They have to see a FINANCIAL MODEL on how this relationship is going to make them more money. YOU CAN’T SKIP THIS. 2. You have to stay in constant contact with them. At a minimum, setup a 15 minute call each week.
8. Speaking – Want to make more money…. Go speak! Coaches that speak earn on average more than 40% more than those that don’t. I love this strategy and always sign a client or two. I speak at office training events, quarterly planning or team events, rotary clubs, chambers, industry conferences, and networking groups/events/lunches. Put time on your schedule to focus on booking yourself to speak.