Many entrepreneurs have less clients than they would like to have. And I myself have learned a thing or two about getting clients since I started out as an entrepreneur more than 20 years ago. So I decided to start doing consultations at the Hub on marketing & gettings clients: acquisitiespreekuur. It’s one on one, and it’s free of charge for every Hub-member.

So far, I’ve met about ten Hub-members this way. And there is one thing that came up in at least half of these sessions. Hub-members know very well what it is that they want to do. And very often (but not always) this is something that they’re quite capable of doing.

But that’s it.

And that’s why they’re not getting clients.

You see, knowing what you want and knowing how to do it are just the first two pieces of the puzzle. To attract clients, you need a third piece. You need to start telling the world what problem your product or service can solve. You have to stop talking about your activities, and start talking about the results your clients can expect when they hire you.

Let’s say somebody gives archery-lessons that help people to focus better. Whenever you meet that person and ask him what he does for a living, he’ll probably tell you he gives archery lessons. And before you know it you’ll be in the middle of a conversation about archery. Unfortunately, most people are not interested in archery. What they want to know is if somebody has a solution for a problem that they’re struggling with. That’s why the archer’s marketing should be about concentration problems first, about the results of his archery training second, and archery itself should come last on the list.

Now that’s the easy part.

It gets much more difficult if you know what you want to do and you know that you’re capable of doing it, but you haven’t found a niche for your service. That’s the second question that comes up at the Acquisitiespreekuur time and  time again, and I know it very well from my own experience.

A few years ago Nuon asked me to write and produce a book for them that was unlike anything I had ever made before. The subject matter was more interesting than what I usually wrote about, they gave me total freedom, and the final product was better than anything I had ever made for any other client. Needless to say, I wanted more of that – much more. I wanted to make such books for the rest of my life. But of course, it was clear to me from the start that ‘making books that are fun to make’ was not exactly a winning business proposition.

So I faced this one big question: for what problem would the books that I wanted to make be a solution? First I tried the people-planet-profit sector, because that had been the subject of the book I made for Nuon. That went nowhere. I tried several other things, but again, I got nowhere. But at some point – and I still don’t know where it came from – I had this idea: perhaps the books that I wanted to make could be useful in change programs within organisations. Perhaps they could be a solution for a problem that changemakers face all the time: how do we get our employees – skeptical as they always are – to buy into our plans?

It turned out that that was indeed a niche that worked for me – and if you’re interested in finding out what happened next, go to www.veranderverhaal.nl. Having discovered my niche, I then had to find a way to make myself known to my target group. But that turned out to be relatively easy.

What I learned along the way is that talking to others really helps. I still remember the day a friend of mine casually mentioned the answer to a question that had kept me lying awake for months. And sometimes, I found my own answers, just by explaining to others what I was trying to do.

Therefore, let me end this piece with in invitation. If you are struggling to get clients, you are very much invited to call me at 020-3306685 or send an email to johanna@veranderhaal.nl.

Johanna Kroon

www.veranderverhaal.nl

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