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Top tips to get clients queuing up (virtually!) - even in a lockdown

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

It might not feel like the ideal time to market your service-based business, but marketing expert Kathryn McGarvey says taking this time to make some small changes to your tactics will have clients queueing up to work with you. And they’ll be the best clients you’ve ever had.

Recently appointed New Zealand’s only Book Yourself Solid® coach, Kathryn believes now is the perfect opportunity to build trust in your brand, even if you currently can’t easily decorate interiors, teach yoga or take photos.

"People will make investments in you that are directly proportional to the amount of trust they have in you," begins Kathryn. "You don’t have to have sales conversations that feel sleazy to win clients - in fact, now is emphatically the wrong time to be doing that! But you can show up in their lives in other ways to help create or maintain a connection. And if you do that regularly - not too regularly, mind you - you’ll be top of mind when they need you."

Book Yourself Solid® is a business growth system founded in 2006 by New York Times best-selling author Michael Port. It uses smart techniques to bring in more clients than you can handle, even if you hate marketing and selling. Over 90% of small business owners who use the system see a 40% increase in their revenue in the first year alone.

Using the proven Book Yourself Solid® system, Kathryn coaches service-based businesses through an eight-week programme. She says she was attracted to train as a Book Yourself Solid® coach after working as a marketing adviser for 20 years in banking, telecommunications and entertainment, and as a top consultant to small and growing businesses. "It became clear to me, working in my own small business, what a difference it makes when your clients are the type that make going to work fun," Kathryn says.

"One of the most challenging but crucial concepts of Book Yourself Solid® is ‘The Red Velvet Rope Policy’. It’s like a filtration system that allows only the very best kind of people to work with you - the kind of people who energise and inspire you, and allow you to do your very best work, which means you get to love what you do! My own analogy is that if you only have room for 12 people at your dinner party, if you say yes to the first 12 that come along, you’ll inevitably be eating with some who are tedious or who talk with food in their mouth, and you’ll have no room at the table for the really excellent people that will inevitably show up after those 12 places have been filled!"

And there’s so much more to learn through the programme. Book Yourself Solid® CEO Matthew Kimberley says it’s a pleasure to have brought Kathryn on board as New Zealand’s only certified coach. "We’re absolutely delighted to have a marketer the calibre of Kathryn McGarvey leading the charge," Matthew says. "There’s nobody in the country we would rather have helping New Zealanders get booked out with more clients than they can handle."

During the online coaching programme Kathryn’s dubbed Time To Get Booked Solid, participants learn everything from how to attract great clients, to setting pricing based on the value offered, to having sales conversations that feel natural. The course is open for registration now.

And in the meantime, Kathryn says even if you’re on an enforced break from your service-based business over lockdown, you can start getting booked solid for whenever you’re able to operate again.

"It’s such a great opportunity to review the foundations of your marketing, embark on some education, or glean tips or tricks from people like me who have spent their careers in marketing."

To learn more about Kathryn’s Time to Get Booked Solid coaching programme, see

Kathryn’s top 5 tips to get service-based businesses back on their feet.

1. Talk to your current clients first The easiest way to get new business lined up is to make compelling offers to people you have already worked with - these people know you, trust you, and have already benefitted from your good work. Think about what you can offer your past buyers or clients, then get in touch! An email or phone call might be just the thing to get you more business - or perhaps even a referral.

2. Figure out where your best future clients hang out

Most business owners think of digital marketing as the only kind of marketing they should be doing. But before digital, we used print, radio, billboard, signage, even direct mail to attract new business. Break it down for yourself - if you think your potential customers are on Facebook, are they going to be receptive to your business there? Perhaps they are if you sell kids' clothes but not if you sell dental supplies. The best way to get known by potential clients might be on a social media platform, or it could be more effective to drop flyers into letterboxes around your neighbourhood.

3. Critically assess what marketing has worked for you so far.

Look back over your client work for the last 6-12 months and tally up all the ways new clients found out about you. It might have been word of mouth, business networking events, SEO, email marketing, PR activity, or chatting to someone on the sidelines at your kids’ sport. Once you’ve done that, you should be able to see pretty clearly what your most effective marketing channels are. Invest your time and money there. Because if you’re busting a gut coming up with new Facebook posts every second day but the posts aren’t bringing you clients, bust a gut on the 3-4 things that are already getting you results.

4. Show you’re credible and trustworthy

When you are thinking of paying for something, how do you decide that you trust the business you’re using will do a good job? Well, you do your research. You ask people you know, or you look at reviews and testimonials - standard credibility markers. Look over your own basic ‘credibility checklist’. Do you have a website with a professional domain name? Do you have a professional email address that’s not a Gmail or Xtra address? A professional photo and credible, named testimonials on your website?

5. Explain how you transform clients’ lives

Talk of transforming clients' lives might sound grandiose, but it’s not. Transformations don’t have to be big and life-altering. People pay for tiny transformations if they are desirable enough! For instance, if you are a bookkeeper, you do so much more than reconcile bank statements and complete GST returns. You also give your clients extra time and peace of mind - the peace of mind that comes from not having to worry about doing their own financial paperwork and the time they can reclaim because they no longer have to spend it on admin. Talk about how to transform lives in your marketing, and it’s suddenly much more compelling to hire you. And if you’re not sure how your service transforms your clients’ lives - ask them!

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