This is a very serious subject, and one that would no doubt create a range of different responses from various people.
This covers the topic of whether you could attract customers to your business without advertising your services.
What does this mean? No sales page. No price list. Not even an option to join a list.
But without all of these assets, how you can get customers to ‘apply’ to be a client?
You may think this sounds a little far-fetched. If so, you’ll be surprised to know that more people use it to attract clients than you may even imagine. It is not the quickest method and maybe not the most fluid, but it is very possible.
I know because it worked for me.
How Can That Be?
I have spent a great deal of time learning about, investigating and building sales funnels. Because of that extensive experience, I am a firm believer in the amount of business they can bring.
I also feel that reaching out to potential clients can be effective, whether that is in the form of cold emails or phone calls.
However, I’ve seen quite a few examples of people that believe it is easy to attract clients by offering nothing but free value. Now, I’m not saying that they would help a person or business for free.
I mean that they simply gave away value in the form of knowledge. Afterward, customers approached them to ask if they could hire them as a service provider.
I did believe in this idea, and understood the logic; but at the same time I thought that perhaps there was an element of luck to it. Maybe they were just in the right place at the right time.
Until this happened to me… twice.
SEO and Social Media Services Sold With a Favor
The first was with a local real estate agent that I met when I was looking to buy a house. I had visited their website to view a particular property. I noticed their title tag was way over-optimised, so I simply emailed to let them know.
I was clear with them what the issue was, and how I would recommend fixing it. They didn’t send an immediate reply, but I did notice that two days later their tag had been amended as per my recommendation. (And honestly, this was nice to see.)
A week later I received a call from a partner at the agency asking how I had noticed the problem. Once I explained what I did for a living (Digital Marketing for the real estate industry in the UK), they asked if there was anything else on the site that I would recommend fixing.
I completed a free review of their site and sent them a report. Once again that was it on my part.
I did not try to sell them anything, but simply offered value. The next day I was asked if I could help them run a series of Facebook ad campaigns and how much I would charge them.
I sent them a quote, which they accepted. So I began working on their campaign the very next day.
When I got in touch initially, I had no intention of seeking any paid work from them. I was simply being kind. This paid off in massively ̶ we are still working together to this day.
Social Media Ad Campaign Via A Single Observation
Another example from last week was due to an advert that appeared on my Facebook news feed.
It was from an Austin SEO agency targeting Electricians who were small business owners.
I am not an electrician, and never have been. Logically, I was certain I should not have been seeing this ad.
I reached out to the company and recommended that they tweak their target audience within the advert set. He replied that they had the audience set correctly for job title of electricians and electrical engineers; which they did. However the ads were also going out to anyone with an interest in electronics.
Goodness knows how much ad spend was wasted targeting this huge audience who were not applicable to his business needs at all.
Anyway this was just me being helpful, and it actually looks as though he could use someone to run his Facebook campaigns going forward. I have been asked to provide a quote to support his next set of adverts.
Two Clients Won, Simply By “Paying It Forward”
These two paying clients could be considered as just lucky breaks, but I would like to think that I have created my own luck.
If I had not of reached out with free advice, then I would not have gained this business; which actually came to me.
Most success stories of this method seem to stem from these avenues.
They can be great platforms to show yourself as a generous and knowledgeable industry expert.
I am now a firm believer that, by providing value whilst expecting nothing in return, you can really go a long way to building up your reputation as an industry expert.
Regardless of what industry this is in and offering any skill set, you can give such powerful advice that people will approach you to work with them.
Perhaps this is not (or maybe it can be) the most sustainable form of client acquisition. However the fact that people do not feel as though they are being sold to is a massive bonus.
This can also influence the amount you can quote for your services. As you are not actively seeking their business, and you have proven yourself as an expert in their eyes, they will likely expect a premium pricing structure.
Perhaps this strategy of giving something back could benefit you. Give it a try and see how it goes. You may be surprised to find success there for the taking.
Feature Image provided by the author under his own license.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions stated in this post are that of the author, and Return On Now may or may not agree with any or all of the commentary.