Where did all the clients go?

looking-through-binocularsToday one of my coaching clients complained that “No One wants me to help them, No one wants to get better. I seem to be attracting people who are in denial, don’t want to grow, don’t want to help themselves.”

Many salespeople or business people have thought this or uttered this some time in their career has asked, “Where are all the clients”? “What is stopping me from getting the clients I want”?

This is actually more complex than it appears on the surface. There is an element of truth when it comes to ‘we attract who we are’. However, there are other circumstances that can affect our business and its growth.

It’s Me Category:

  • It could be you. Maybe you have a deep belief that you don’t deserve or are not worthy of the types of people you want to work with. This means that if the belief or system of beliefs changes you should have a flood of the coolest clients ever. You know, the ones with all the money, who love you and will do anything you suggest. It is usually not one factor that keeps us from having what we want. Sometimes we have unconscious limits to what we make. We have a comfort zone that we work in. Prospects make decisions based on unconscious signals we give people.
  • “I’ll just attract the right people.” This has probably come out of the Law of Attraction ideas. Magical thinking will not get you the clients you want any more than rubbing an oil lamp with a genie in it. Being clear about who you want, talking to the right people and doing it over and over again consistently will get you what you want.
  • Are you giving off the desperate vibe? We go awhile without making a sale and we start thinking desperate thoughts. Put them aside. Act as if you have a million dollars in the bank. People want to do business with self-assured individuals.

It is something I’m doing or not doing Category

  • It is something you are saying OR not saying that dissuades people from doing business with you? Sometimes we give subtle unconscious messages of doubt through our body language or our language. Sales is a numbers game. Are you seeing a good number of prospects? How many prospects do you have to talk to before one says ‘yes.’ How long is your sales cycle? In other words, how long on the average does it take from initial contact through signing contract? Some sales people don’t see enough people and they are not consistent in their day to day activity. Sales is a procedural, high activity game.
  • Are you looking in the right places? Not everyone is a potential client. Say, you sell carpet cleaning services. Not everyone has carpet. Eliminate them from your list. Sometimes people will fool you (their grandmother has carpet) but for the most part, people without carpet are not interested in your service. They can be a referral source. Build relationships with people who are most likely to want and need your service.
  • Change your language. Change the ‘no one’s’ and everybody’s to ‘some’ people. Sweeping generalizations keep us focused on negative or unrealistic results.
  • Have a clear idea of who you want to work with. The more specific, the better. You may work with people who are not in that category but you will have a higher probably of getting those gems if you know who they are and where they are.
  • Set goals and list tasks. Tasks are things you do to accomplish goals. People often confuse them. You must do a lot of tasks to accomplish big goals.
  • Be MOVE TOWARDS. Be outcome oriented. Focus on what can happen; not what can’t. Focus on possibilities rather than limitations. Look at what happens has feedback, not failure. If you have a goal of a million dollars and you move away from pain, the closer you get to your million dollar mark, the less work you will do. You will find yourself starting over and over again. What motivates you is the loss of income. The minute you realize you are in the clear, you will unconsciously back off to create pain again to make you work.
  • Be patient and take what comes and build your expertise muscle. It is a process. Not an event.
  • Keep your eye on the future. Learn from your mistakes.

Category of Cycles

  • Business is cyclical. You may talk to a dozen people who say no. Then for no reason (of course, there is a reason because sales is a numbers game), you acquire a number of ‘yeses.’ Prospecting doesn’t produce neat little packages of clients. You might have to talk to a lot of people before you find some that say ‘yes’.
  • Global and national events can cause people to hold on to their money. People do not like uncertainty, which is the only thing other than death that is certain. If you offer a product of service that is considered unnecessary, people may hesitate to spend money on it. Right after 911, many small businesses ground to a halt. I wrote out an outcome frame to get me going again. People just weren’t calling. Changing my state helped me get back in the game. Election years tend to be turbulent.
  • Building inertia takes a lot of activity and energy. The most energy will be spent in the beginning. People often start businesses because they want freedom. Any of us long time business owners know that there is precious little of that in the beginning. If you are doing it right to get results, you will be consumed by it for awhile. And even after years, depending on the nature of the business, you cannot take your hands off the wheel. You may grow it and have a different role but unless you are in a position to just hand over the ship to someone else, you will have to be involved. You do this because you love what you do and think it is important. Otherwise you are in the wrong business.
  • This next one is a combination of It’s something I’m doing or not doing and Cycles. Avoid being too impatient. Growing a business is like growing a tree. It takes a long time to do it right. Look at the long road. When you are younger, you have knowledge that hasn’t matured. There are things I know about what I do and how I do it that no one taught me, coached me, nor learned in a seminar or read in a book. Someone called it wisdom. I call it tacit knowledge. It come out of the accumulation of experience you collect during many years of doing something over and over. It is like making a diamond. You can’t rush it. It is actually quite rewarding when you realize what you know. But it doesn’t come before the Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours. Learning is a through-time process. My dance instructor called it ‘floor time’ in reference to learning to dance. Nothing takes the place of dancing with a variety of partners often. There isn’t any amount of instruction that will take the place of it.

When selling something (and we are all selling something) consider there are categories of products: What people don’t want or don’t need, what they want but don’t need, what they need but don’t want. Your product category will determine how your position your product. If your product is

Where have all the clients gone? They are their waiting for you to come along at just the right time. Take advantage of that opportunity by being smart, knowledgeable, consistent, available and offer something that people want or need. They may not come flocking but they will come with your persistence. It takes a shift in perspective. Look at whose next rather than no one is there. The right client is a shift away.