Do you ever get the feeling your business isn’t quite reaching its full potential? You’re receiving regular enquiries, but they just aren’t quite hitting the mark? We’ve all been there! Whether it’s the wrong kind of work, the wrong kind of client or simply projects that aren’t making you enough money, it can be really frustrating. Dealing with this is often when you realise you need to learn how to upgrade your audience and reach more valuable clients.
Before we begin, it’s worth noting – looking to reach more valuable clients is a positive thing. It does not mean you don’t appreciate the people you have worked with in the past!
What it means is that you’ve grown your business to a point where you can differentiate between a client or project that is a strong fit for you and your brand and one that is not. This is about narrowing your focus and shifting your communication to work with more of your ideal clients.
What’s causing the problem?
99% of the time, you can count on communication being to blame. If you aren’t communicating clearly enough, it’s easy for potential clients to misinterpret your services or misunderstand your products.
Knowing your brand and, most importantly, your USP inside out, and ensuring that you’re putting across the right message has to be the first step in your journey to reach more valuable clients. In order to get started, it’s important to figure out where the communication issue lies, and tackle it head-on.
In this post, I’ll outline a few issues you might come across, and the steps you can take to fix them.
When did you last evaluate what you’re actually selling? It can be easy to lose focus yourself! Check this post out for my top tips to make sure you have that clear before you begin.
Issue #1: Rates “too high”
Do you find that people often make enquiries about your services only to say “oh, I can’t afford that.” This is a common issue small business owners run into. Let’s explore how to fix it.
Solution: Be open about your pricing
The only way to avoid this is to be transparent. Be as clear as you can. Outline not only what your prices are, but how you came up with them. If you’re consistently faced with this complaint, it might mean that people aren’t seeing the value in what you’re offering.
So show them! Lay out absolutely everything that is included in your services/products. And do it before someone has to come looking.
By putting your prices (or, at the very least, a starting price) on your website, you’re setting yourself up for a win. Anyone who isn’t prepared to pay your prices won’t get in touch (saving you time) and anyone who is already knows how much value you’re offering. Check out this great Instagram post from @leighelizabethstudio, it does a really good job of this.
Nervous about sharing your rates? I’ve written a whole post on this topic – have a read here!
Issue #2: Rates “too low”
I know – two of the most common issues are the exact opposite of each other. While high prices can scare some people off, set your prices too low and you may unintentionally communicate a lack of experience in your field or a lack of confidence in your own abilities.
Solution: Check the benchmark and explore your options
Particularly in the early stages of running a business, setting prices is notoriously hard. No one wants to look like they’re asking for “too much” and put people off. The problem is, this often means people sell themselves seriously short.
In order to work out if you’re doing this, take some time to look at what others in your industry are charging. What is the benchmark?
You could even put out a survey on your social media to find out what budgets people looking for your services tend to be working with, and use that to help guide you. And don’t be scared to raise your prices, especially over time.
Don’t allow the fear of asking for more money lead people to assume you don’t know what you’re doing. Of course, the most expensive isn’t always the best – but people often perceive the pricier option as the “better option”. So keep that in mind when you’re working to reach more valuable clients.
Issue #3: Expectations
Find that people are often looking for one-off support when your goal is to work with clients longer term? Or that people are just keen to get a quick fix, sticking a plaster over the issue rather than actually fixing the problem?
Solution: Highlight your process
Here, it’s important to explain why you work the way you do. When communicating your processes, show how they get the best results. While it’s crucial not to talk down to your audience, remember that they don’t have the experience in the industry that you do. That’s why they want to hire you!
Explain clearly why you don’t believe short term jobs or quick fixes will work, and how your way of doing things can transform their business or solve their problem. They’ll either get it, in which case you’ve succeeded in your goal to reach more valuable clients, or they won’t and you’ll know they weren’t the right fit. Either way, you’re upgrading your audience.
Issue #4: Perception
This is one that comes up time and time again. In many industries (marketing included), there are a whole host of different jobs and each focuses on something different. The problem is, often people outside of the industry can’t clearly differentiate between roles. Because of this, they may end up contacting you simply because a certain word (digital, being a prime example!) is part of your job title!
Solution: Give them the lay of the land
People really appreciate it when you take the time to explain your industry to them if there has been a misunderstanding. It can, of course, feel frustrating to have to say “no, sorry, I don’t offer that” for the twentieth time. But rather than shrugging that enquiry off, use it to help shape your communication.
Ensure that your marketing really emphasises what someone with your job title does. And take the time to break down what some of the other areas in your industry are, and who they can turn to for help with that.
By setting clear boundaries between yourself and other professionals through your marketing, you will start to eliminate the dud enquiries and start to reach more valuable clients.
I shared this blog post a few months ago, breaking down 12 different sales and marketing roles, to help clarify some of the differences in the marketing sphere!
Issue #5: Focus
Over time, your small business will evolve. And a year or five years in, you might find that some of the services you offered in the early days either aren’t making you money or, quite simply, they don’t float your boat anymore. If you find people that keep approaching you for these tasks, it’s time to make some changes.
Solution: Prominently feature your main service/products
Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? But often, we’re so keen to ensure we’re attracting as wide a variety of clients as possible that we’re scared to sideline any service or product.
Push past that fear! Don’t be afraid to prominently feature your main services or products! It’s the only way to tell people that this is what you love to do. You don’t have to delete any mention of these smaller/less lucrative tasks. You can still offer them, but potentially as an add on or extra to your key areas of focus.
Until you choose to put the spotlight on the areas you care about, you’ll naturally attract enquiries for these other tasks. And while the focus is on them, you likely won’t be attracting enough people to your main services – so you can’t turn them down. Stop this vicious circle in its track and shout about your passion!
Issue #6: Purpose
Purpose is a tricky one because it sometimes doesn’t present itself right away. Have you ever found that people want your help or your product, but after a discussion, you find they have a different goal in mind to yours? If this is the case, the purpose behind your products and services may have gotten lost in translation. It’s time to clarify!
Solution: Be clear and specific
Straight off the bat, make it clear what industry your services are aimed at. Outline the goals you are prepared to help with and the outcomes you generally focus on. Often, small business owners worry about being too specific with their purpose. There’s a fear that narrowing things down will mean reaching less people.
The problem with being vague, however, is that you will find people often misunderstand what your goals as a business are. So be brave!
By doing this, not only will you deter clients or customers who are not the right fit, but you’ll give those who are the confidence that you are the right fit for them. Seeing you outline your purpose so clearly will show them how passionate you are and suggest a level of expertise in your industry.
If you are interested in reading more about this topic, have a look at these:
6 Tips to Convert More Website Visitors Into Paying Customers
How to Reach Customers Sooner in their Journey to Grow your Small Business
Create a Strong Brand: How I Did it and How You Can Do it Too
7 Ways to Turn Your Social Media Followers Into Paying Customers