Staying on top of lead generation can be a real challenge when you’re really busy with projects. Juggling multiple projects and clients in a “work feast” moment in your business can mean that a “work famine” is right around the corner.
If you pride yourself on doing good work but you are prone to over-promising and bending over backward to ensure a happy client you’re on your way to becoming overstretched and time-poor. And this is a sure-fire way to have repeating work feast and famine cycles and frustratingly inconsistent income. If that sounds like you, please read on.
Serving your clients well but protecting your time.
Let’s look at how you can set expectations and boundaries so that you can serve your clients well and still have time to attract new leads.
For me, I avoid replying to emails and doing client work out of office hours. In the early days, I was almost always available and reacted as quickly as possible to requests and enquiries. Even in the evenings, at weekends and on holidays! My schedule was all over the place and lead generation was always the first thing to suffer. When I began to stick to proper office hours, and structured my days more consciously, I was able to serve my clients and find time for marketing. This sounds really basic, but it’s incredibly effective.
Be sure to have a clear rule on communication with your existing clients so that you’re not jumping between social, email, and Whatsapp. If clients are using multiple platforms to reach you your workflow will be a mess. Simply let your clients know the best way to communicate with you. For me it’s email and I even write this into my contracts now. Nobody seems to mind and it means I have a central place for conversations and feedback.
Make sure your clients know what to expect from the project itself (eg: sign an agreement with a scope of work). This is a big one! Again, in the early days, I would get stuck into a project as quickly as possible to show my enthusiasm, but I neglected to let my clients know how much would be involved in the project. This led to people asking for more bits and bobs that would add more time, led to missed deadlines and a tonne of stress and frustration. My being 100% flexible was bad for everyone involved. When you have a ‘scope of work’ or project outline that you both agree to it means you can stay on track, have a better basis for communication and have a lot less wasted time.
Protecting your time and sticking to deadlines means that projects are less likely to run over and you can make space in every week for lead generation. Literally put it in your calendar. When you have no time left to work on getting leads you’ll find yourself with no leads in the pipeline. It’s a scary moment when there’s nothing coming in and this often means you’ll be tempted to offer discounts, take unsuitable jobs, and get flippin’ stressed out about income.
But it’s not just about finding time…
Are you showing up enough to make an impact?
There are potential clients out there in need of your help, part of your job as a service provider is to show up for them. Having a good looking website and meaningful social media posts is great for business, but are you spending more time planning and editing and playing with nice designs than you are making real connections?
Managing your online presence can he very time consuming, but I’d like to move away from simply managing time better, and talk about connecting with people who would become clients in a meaningful, memorable way.
It’s normal to feel a bit shy, or reluctant to really get out there on social media. When we feel insecure about showing up online we tend to fiddle and tweak and ‘perfect’ how things look. It’s easy to get into a rut of busy work saying things like “As soon as I get my brand redone I’ll start sharing more on Instagram”. “As soon as I get this new microphone and ring light I’ll start doing Facebook Live”.
Look, I totally get it! But “As soon as…” usually means that you’re procrastinating and that means you’re losing weeks (if not longer) and missing out on getting new clients. People who need your service need to know you’re out there. If you’re offering something they need they probably won’t give a toss if your Instagram grid is fabulous or not! So don’t waste time trying to get things looking perfect before showing up, just get out there so that the people who need you know about you.
RELATED: Is “as soon as” holding you back?
If you find yourself doing and redoing things on your site and social feeds maybe it’s time to get more structured in your plan of action and get clear on what you should be doing daily to show up online. Here are a few things to do to get you started.
Zoom out then zoom back in
I talk a lot about having a “lead generating machine” for your business. It’s different for every-single-business! I use these 3 questions with my own clients when we’re designing their ‘machine’ (website + strategy) so that we end up with an incredibly powerful system for getting clients.
- What’s working to bring you leads already? (Explore how and why this is working so that we can replicate it.)
- What are you spending time on that actually makes no difference to your bottom line? (Time is your most valuable asset, let’s not waste it on stuff that doesn’t work.)
- If you’ve got a plan of action and you dutifully implement it, what is the weak point where you lose leads? (Look at the path that clients take to hire you – where are people dropping out?)
So there you have it. Free up time by keeping your projects on track. Don’t wait until everything is “perfect” to get visible and get clear on what you need to do so that you’re not wasting time on things that don’t work.