When we talk about business development, many entrepreneurs automatically think of sales and prospecting – but these are only two components of your business development strategy.

To become an exceptional entrepreneur, to really make a difference in the lives of your clients, you want to master these three elements:

Once you master these critical elements, you and your business become unstoppable – you now become the go-to professional for their needs, you position yourself as ‘the’ trusted professional, the one who understands their needs, the one who anticipates their future needs, the one who’s always one step ahead.

And that positioning in priceless! When client know how much you care and how much you truly understand them, their loyalty increases exponentially, and so do their referrals.

Let’s look at each of these critical elements in details, so you can bring your business to the next level (and the ones after that… because there’s always another level…)

No.1: Attract & create clients

We all want more clients – for some it’s 5 new clients a month, for others it’s 10 new clients a year. Regardless of the number, we all want more clients – new people to help and to serve – and to do so we need to build a strategy to continually create clients.

And this starts with attracting the right type of client to your business. Often entrepreneurs will tell me ‘well I help so many different types of clients: men, women, some are older, some are younger, they have different professions…that’s possibly very true. But if you take a moment and pick your top 3-4 clients right now in your head, you’ll find that there’s an underlying common need they have.

In business, we are a solution to a problem – ask yourself…

  • What were the problems my top 3-4 clients had when I first met them?
  • What did they want to achieve?
  • What did they want to stop feeling or to start feeling?

There’s always a common need/want amongst your clients. Sometimes, we simply need to take a step back and reflect on it.

If you want to attract the right type of person and create the right type of client, you must first understand the real problem you solve, and this is rarely the ‘thing’ you do directly.

Let me give you a few examples:

  • When people seek help in time management, the real reason they do is mostly that they want to spend time with their family or have more time for hobbies/travels – because that’s what fuels them. It’s not to ‘do’ more; it’s to align better where they spend their resource of time and their values.
  • When people seek to have a new website, it’s rarely about the site itself. It’s mostly because they want to have a greater and better impact, serve more and communicate their message in a better way.
  • When people want to lose weight, it’s often not the weight the issue – the person wants to feel sexy, attractive or wants more energy to be able to play with their kids, be healthy to see their grandkids grow.

You get the idea…understand the underlying need of your clients, and you’ll be able to attract and create more of your ideal clients.

When you ask a question, you get an answer. When you ask a great question, you get the real answer.

Now, go back to the questions you answered above regarding the needs of your top clients and dig deeper. What did they truly want more of or less of when they decided to work with you? This will form the foundation of your new positioning statement, a message that truly connects and converts.

Sell them on what they want and give them what they need.

Perhaps people really need a 5-step process for achieving more or your training program or your services – but motion comes from emotions. You want to position your message in a way that gets them to their core – ‘get a new optimized website’ doesn’t sell, nobody wakes up at 3 am in sweat saying ‘oh I really need an optimized website’, what your potential client wants is to ‘elevate your impact and attract more clients’, now that will sell – everybody wants more clients, even your clients.

Not many people are looking for ‘a truly diversified investment portfolio’, but everyone wants ‘to feel financially secure so you can enjoy the important times in your life.’

I love using weight loss industry examples because if there’s one industry who really understands human behavior, it’s them! WeightWatchers launched their program WW Freestyle, and their message could not be better positioned: it’s all about freedom to choose, freedom to eat the food you love to eat AND losing weight at the same time. Their message doesn’t focus on the ‘how’ they’ll help you get there, it is all about the desire: I want to feel free to choose what I eat.

You’ll be able to attract the right type of clients when you understand what they really, really want. Once you understand that, then you can focus on creating clients. You need to be at the intersection of what they want and where your potential clients are:

You can have the best positioning message in the world, but if you’re not visible to your potential clients, you’ll waste time and resources. If you have the wrong positioning message in front of your ideal client – you’ll lose your visibility opportunity.

To reach your potential client where they are, ask yourself…

  • Where do they hang out/network?
  • Do they use social media? Which one?
  • What do they read (newspaper, magazine, blog, etc.)?
  • Do they prefer online or in person information?
  • Do they prefer print or video?

Once you answer these questions, you’ll know exactly where you want to be! There’s no point being on Facebook if the clients you want to attract and create are on LinkedIn. There’s no point going to the chamber of commerce if the client you want to attract isn’t there (you can certainly go to build your network, but not to focus on creating clients).

Go deeper in your client attraction strategy, not wider.

This means, focus your energy. Don’t try to be everywhere at once. Understand where your potential client is and focus your resources (time and money) on those platforms with a message that speaks to their deepest desire.

Now, take the time to answers these questions, to reflect on the real wants of your potential clients and find where they are. Because next month, we’ll dive deep in critical element #2: Elevate your service offering, and you’ll need to have this first element completed. 🙂

To your success!

Sara Gilbert



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