Is email the fastest way to get clients?

By: Stella Orange

Lately, one theme keeps popping up in many of our conversations.

The theme is: Relationships are slow, technology is fast.

This week, we told a client the story of how we, Las Peregrinas, got our first clients.  So I thought you’d like to hear it, too:

We put together an offer where we would help someone envision and outline a three to five year strategic growth plan for their business.

Then I got off the call with Sarah and Rebecca. I got quiet and still. I took a deep breath. And I asked myself, “Who do I know who needs this?”

I made a list of three people. I picked up the phone. I called each person, told them what we were up to, and that their name sprang to mind as someone who might be interested. And then I asked, “Are you?”

All three said yes. Two of them still work with us today, more than two years later.

To recap, the sales strategy is: Get clear about who you want to work with. Pick up the phone. Call the people you want to work with. Tell them that. And ask them if they are interested.

Those calls took me an afternoon to make. That’s pretty fast. (But in a way, it was also slow. I had known those people for years.)

“But, Stella,” you may be saying, “I’m not one to just pick up the phone and ask people if they are interested in working with me.”

Well, okay, fine. What could you do?

Surely, there are other ways you could take what I am telling you about my experience, and make it work for you. Let it inspire you! Dream a little! Tip toe outside your comfort zone a skosh!

The problem is that too many of us have made the getting of clients too damn complicated.

You don’t need a webinar. You don’t need a lead magnet. You don’t need a website.  I want you to entertain the idea that you are enough. Your work speaks for itself. The way you treat people speaks for itself. And you do not need any formal marketing to get your next three or ten clients.

You just need to root yourself into the solidness of your own reputation, and reach out to the people in your network who are positioned to make use of your work.

Maybe you ask them to work with you, like I did.

Or if that’s not your style, you connect, and get interested in what they are up to, and make sure they know what you do now. And then commit to connecting with them again next quarter.

To recap, the marketing strategy is: Make a list of your past clients, colleagues, and allies. Set a target of how many conversations you book with this squad each week (think: four? Six?). Show up, be interested, tell stories about what you do. Rinse and repeat next quarter.

Now, maybe you find yourself in a different sort of pickle entirely. Maybe you are like another one of our clients, who recently told us, “Oh, I am very connected. I know lots of people.”  But then, when she had a quiet moment to reflect, she realized that, actually, the people she was connected to weren’t in a position to hire her – they simply didn’t have the money.  

Then she did something that few people ever do – she asked Sarah if she’d be willing to introduce her to people who are in the position to hire someone like her.

When was the last time you evaluated the quality of your network?

When was the last time you asked a colleague to introduce you to the people in their network?

When was the last time you made an introduction of quality for someone in your network whose work you would vouch for personally?

To recap, the marketing strategy is: Evaluate the quality of your network. Reach out to trusted colleagues you have a relationship with, make sure they understand what you do, and ask if they would be willing to introduce you to people they know who could use your work. Be someone who both receives and makes quality introductions between people doing work you personally vouch for.

For my money, the people I know and who know me deliver results way more reliably and predictably than webinars, emails, Facebook Ads, or LinkedIn.

And yet most people continue to look outside their network for business and opportunity.

This is messed up!

Technology can be great for getting in front of new audiences and expanding reach.

But what if we’re putting the cart before the horse here? What if we keep pouring money, attention, and time into technology… without ever digging in to the riches that are right under our noses… cultivating relationships with likeminded folks who practice giving and receiving high quality referrals, introductions, and buying from people in their network first?

It not only is faster, it’s more sustainable. And it’s way more cost effective than an online course teaching some esoteric online marketing strategy will ever be.

Stella is cofounder and copywriter at Las Peregrinas, a creative and consulting agency. As our resident word nerd, she writes copy and points out the stories everyone is living and telling through their work. She is also fun at parties.

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