80 calls a week
My husband is a sales guy. Not the stereotypical greasy-haired used car salesman, but a really great person who knows his ideal client, the problems that client faces, and the solutions he or she needs that he can provide.
A couple weeks ago, I asked him a question I never, ever thought to ask him. I asked about his sales funnel – how many people he had to talk to every week and continue talking to before his company was hired. He told me there was a time when he knew that in order to fill the company's schedule with client work, he had to make 80 cold calls a day. That's right. 8-0 phone calls to potential leads at companies who might need his services tomorrow or in the future. He liquidates technical assets for large companies, so his company's services are high dollar. From all those calls, only a fraction of people may show interest. Of those people, if he doesn't end up sending more information or submitting a proposal, he adds those names into his client leads database to remind himself to follow up according to a particular schedule. He may or may not be hired, but he has followed up with some people for years before they decide to use his company's services.
My husband then said that since he improved the SEO of his company's website, he gets several calls a day now from people who are looking for bids for services, so he doesn't need to make nearly as many cold calls now. The people who call may not become clients, but they're already interested and looking for his services. In addition, he's worked with many companies over the last 15 years and gets a fair amount of referral business.
My husband's company is not the cheapest to provide liquidation services. The company may have 4-5 projects going on at any one time – of different lengths and sizes. And it all starts with an email or a phone call. Lots of them.
How to get clients??
Sometimes I hear frustration from birth professionals that it's such a struggle to get clients. Now I get that it would be highly unusual for birth pros to start setting quotas and begin cold calling. However, the example I shared above is relevant because it illustrates that in order for you to fill you calendar with clients, you need to be talking to people. Lots of people. I know. It's not sexy, but it's necessary.
In the beginning, you will need to put in a good deal of work, such as:
- participating in baby fairs
- going to networking events
- building your referral network
- getting your website optimized for the search engines
- figuring out where your ideal clients are online and getting to know them there
- giving free talks to your ideal clients
- growing an email list and nurturing it
- Once you're more established, you may find it gets easier and easier as you begin to get repeat clients, referrals from your network, past clients, and your online efforts.
Numbers are magical
In business, there is a technical term called a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) – which is basically a number that helps businesses figure out if they are meeting their goals. Playing with different variables of KPIs can help businesses change course to increase their success.
There are two KPIs that are important for birth professionals. Most people focus on what's called the Lagging Indicator, aka "output," revenue, or a number of new clients. The Lagging Indicator is a result of your marketing activities.
Then there is the Leading Indicator, which includes the number and types of marketing activities you engage in to attract new customers.
If you were to track all your marketing activities and the positive responses you received from potential clients up until they hired you, over time you could use that data to help you determine what methods to focus on and how many people you had to talk to, email, and interview before you were hired. From that data, you could also figure out what you could try to change to make a certain marketing tactic be more successful for you.
KPIs can guide your marketing efforts
Back to my husband's example, years ago, he determined that in order to get the desired 4-5 projects each month, it started with him making 80 cold calls a day. As time went on, the number of cold calls shrank when more of his ideal clients called him directly after he optimized his site for the search engines (made his marketing message clearer, used better keywords, etc). And, that number became even smaller as his referrals grew. If his referrals began to shrink or if Google changed its algorithm and web traffic decreased, my husband knew he had to get back in touch with people in his network and nurture those relationships, tweak his SEO, or begin making more cold calls.
So for you, say you track your numbers for three months and discover that for every three people you interview with (leading indicator), one of them hires you (lagging indicator). If your goal is to have three clients per month, it's safe to say you need to secure nine interviews each month. So now, your challenge might be to figure out 1) what marketing tactics will put you in front of people to help you get those nine interviews a month, or 2) what can you tweak in your marketing to help you lower the number of interviews per month and increase the number of ideal clients who hire you?
Perhaps you tracked the number of people who ended up interviewing with you after you met them at a baby fair and found that they were more likely to hire you vs. the people who found you on your website. Maybe refining your website's marketing message would help, so you work on that and look at your numbers a few months down the road and see if it made a difference.
You might try a new marketing method, like create an irresistible opt-in so people sign up with their email address, and follow that with a series of emails on the benefits of labor support plus offers to interview with you. Or you could set up some meetings with potential referral partners or attend a new networking meeting.
If you're not already doing so, will you begin tracking your marketing efforts to determine your leading indicators? Do you already use KPIs to help drive your marketing efforts? Comment below, or join me in the Inspired Birth Pros Facebook Group.