My first customer outside of my many family businesses came from a very unlikely source. She was referred to me from someone in the My Total Money Makeover forums. Why did she ask for my help? Because I had spent months answering marketing questions, for free, on the MTMM forums and established myself as an expert.
She looked at my profile and clicked on my blog link, reading my website information which then she decided proved I really was an expert, then she contacted me.
My second customer came from a referral from one of my old coworkers. Rest assured that coworker got a referral check and a hand written thank you letter. I could use more referrals that nice!
I’ve gotten amazing leads, speaking opportunities, exposure referrals and customers – none from a golden goose.
I call it ‘sewing seeds’. I do it all the time. When I talk for free anywhere I can, when I post blogs, when I offer help on forums, when I attend events (networking or otherwise), when I take people out for coffee or help a non-profit get their website up. Whatever it is, if it’s building relationships, improving good will, increasing my exposure or developing my expertise, I’m positively impacting my chances of getting more clients.
I never know exactly where these clients will come from or when I’ll get a new exposure opportunity, but I do know that this way works.
Don’t take my word on it. Environmental Compliance Source grew 300% in three years using this method combined with a few old-school marketing techniques. Dave Ramsey describes his first TMMO class and how only a tiny number of people showed up. We all see these big successes and want to be them as soon as we declare ourselves entrepreneurs, but it doesn’t work that way. However, if we step outside of our comfort zone, push ourselves to meet new people and develop lasting relationships, opportunities are bound to happen.