A lot of service agencies, SEO and otherwise, lean to salesmen when they need more clients. I understand how this seems like the best solution. You end up with more clients and you don’t have to waste your already precious time on getting them.
However, you need to realize that a salesman is not going to fully understand your business. They are not a professional in your industry. This is going to lead to other issues that will take up an equal amount of your time, if not more.
- Clients having false expectations of your service
- Your services being undersold
- Clients thinking you provide an additional service related to your industry
- Ending up with lots of low budget clients instead of a few large ones
- Individuals with limited industry knowledge representing your company
Not only are these issues going to take up your time to solve, they’re leaving people with a poor perception of your company. This is especially the case if your salesman end up speaking to people who are very savvy in your industry.
I’m not saying salesmen can’t work. You will acquire your ultimate goal of getting more clients. However, there are lots of other ways to get clients that will also leave a positive impression of your brand.
1.) Write on Well Respected Industry Blogs
This is going to be one of the easiest ways to get clients, however it’s not guaranteed. Reach out for an opportunity to write on prestigious blogs in your industry. If you get the opportunity, write something DAMN good.
This will instantly put you and your companies name in front of thousands of eyes. This doesn’t mean you’ll get thousands of requests, but you have the potential to get at least a couple!
The absolute worst that could happen, is getting new followers and links, but no work requests.
2.) Partner with an Industry Related Agency
This will require some schmoozing and networking, but can have a large pay off. Find companies that are in an industry that correlates to yours. In SEO for example, a traditional media agency would be perfect.
These companies, will often get requests for your services from their current clients, but have to turn them down. Wouldn’t it be nice to be their go-to guy for all these requests? This helps them appease their clients’ wishes and provides you with extra work.
3.) Become a Referral for a Company
This is similar to above, but a little easier to land. You can become a referral to a business instead of fulfilling their service.
If they get requests for your specialties, but have no intentions of ever providing it to clients, ask them for a referral. Tell them if they refer you to clients interested in the service, you’ll provide them with 10% of the profit.
You may want to limit this fee to the first six months, so that you don’t end up feeding 10% of all your profit from a long term client.
4.) Reach out to Business Owners in Your Area
I’m not saying pitch your service to business owners in your area. Build a relationship with them on social networks and then grab lunch or a happy hour with them. Show interest in their business and give them a chance to learn yours.
This alone may land them as a client, but it also makes you a great referral. If they run into someone looking for your services, they’re more likely to refer someone they know in person than through the web.
5.) Attend Events Thrown by Potential Clients
If there’s a local company on your radar, see what they’re up to. Larger companies are apt to have social outings. This is the perfect opportunity to poke your head in and do some networking.
Even if you don’t end up finding the CMO of the company, there’s still a good opportunity for you to meet other potential clients.
6.) Present an Industry Lecture
A great way to show that you know what you’re talking about is by presenting a lecture. Find a conference hall and present a lecture about your industry.
By doing this, you’ll get the opportunity to meet everyone from the industry experts to the curious business owners. It’s also a great way to get your name known locally.
7.) Attend Charity Happy Hour Events
This is a great way to kill two birds with one stone. There are several happy hour events that are also fundraisers. By being an attendee, your business will gain notoriety from the charity itself (and possibly a link). Anyone reading about the charity event will see your companies name as an attendee.
It’s also a great way to get your employees mingling with other participating companies. This way you’re able to amplify your existence to several companies at once and show them you have some personality too.
8.) Start an Industry Meetup
Do some research on what type of industry meetups are available in your area. If there’s only a handful, start one with a unique angle.
For example, say there are several marketing meetups at the same bars every month. You could connect with some local agencies and see if they want to do a rotating in-office marketing meetup.
Yes, this means you’ll mostly be networking with other companies that provide your service, but you’ll be the guy who runs the show. That puts you in a position of respect.
9.) Throw a Tech Happy Hour
Yes, more drinking. An easy way to meet lots of folks at once is to throw a broad-niche happy hour. If you’re doing anything search marketing related, tech is the way to go. They’ll at least have some understanding of what you do.
Again, even if this isn’t very fruitful, it has other advantages. It gets your name out there and makes you more likely to be referred, but it’s also a great way to throw a community event. It’s an opportunity to let your employees socialize with each other as well as other companies.
10.) Speak at Conferences
Last, but definitely not least, speak at conferences. This is probably THE best way to get more clients. If you go to an industry conference and you’re the speaker, you’re going to get a lot of respect. People are going to see you as an industry leader.
This is especially true to businesses that are attending these conferences trying to learn about the industry. They’re going to see you as the best of the best and are more likely to reach out to you for a proposal.
It’s typically not that hard to speak at events. You just have to email the right person early enough. You’ll want to find conferences that are a good eight months away and reach out to them.
Of course, as with the rest of these, this is also a great way to get your name out there. This is an opportunity for you to let others within your industry know who you are. It’s more important for them to know your name than anyone else.
You really don’t need salesmen to grow your business. If you have one salesman that truly understands your industry and is only seeking top-tier clients, great! However, in reality, this is a rare thing. They’re most likely going to put your brand name in a seedier light. This can slow your business’ long-term growth when compared to other methods of gaining clients.