July 20th, 2010 by Sue L Canfield
The first thing many newer virtual assistants wonder is how to get new clients. We've talked about this before in other blog posts and in our group coaching calls. I wanted to share with you what happened to me this week. Perhaps my story will help you understand how you can get new clients through word of mouth referrals.
I've connected with many great virtual assistants at FindVirtual. I've chatted via email or on the forums with many. One of the great VAs I've connected with is Vickie Turley. In fact, she's even quoted in our book, The Commonsense Virtual Assistant - Becoming an Entrepreneur, Not an Employee.
Vickie recently released her book, What's Love Got To Do With It?, How To Have The Perfect VA-Client Relationship. I contacted Vickie to ask her if she'd like to contribute copies of her book for the Client Communication Clinic for Virtual Workers in Vancouver. After several emails and a couple of phone conversations, we realized how well matched we were and that even though we are 'competitors', we could refer work to one another.
During the course of our conversations it came to light that Vickie needed a backup plan when she was unavailable to clients. All VAs should consider putting in place some sort of backup for when they need to go on vacation or are unexpectedly unable to handle their client work. After more conversation, Vickie and I came to an agreement and she hired me to be her backup as needed. In fact, she needed someone immediately since her client needed work done and Vickie was going to be leaving on vacation. So I now have a new client, as a backup for another VA, from connecting with Vickie.
Now her word of mouth referral has resulted in yet another client. Vickie told me about another VA who needed some assistance. Deb Howard Greenleaf needed some assistance with a variety of tasks so she could continue focusing on her tax and accounting business. Since Vickie and I had talked and hit it off, Vickie referred me to Deb. Deb and i had signed contracts for more than one project within a day.
So develop relationships and start referring people. You'll find that you start getting new clients also from word-of-mouth referrals.
July 18th, 2010 by Sue L Canfield
Using Facebook to promote your business is great - when done appropriately. Many of us have gotten so eager to share with others what we do or so desperate for work, that we post on our friend's wall about our business hoping to get their friend's business. This recently happened to me. I know this person wasn't trying to offend me and even when to the extent of praising me as a leader in my field. I believe they thought that would make it okay to then post and solicit business for themselves.
However, I really don't know this person that well yet for one thing. I do appreciate that times are tough and we're all looking for ways to get more business. However, proper social media etiquette means we don't just post on other people's wall's for business. I'll admit I've inadvertently posted something on a friend's wall promoting my business. When it was brought to my attention, I immediately apologized and removed the post.
Here's what I suggest. Send this type of message directly to your contacts and ask them if they'd mind sharing it with their friends. Then allow your contact to decide if it's something they feel comfortable promoting on your behalf or not.
I'd love to hear your comments!
June 3rd, 2010 by Sue L Canfield
Our Virtual Assistant Group Coaching Telecalls program launched in April has been a great success! Joel and I have enjoyed helping newer virtual assistants refine their business skills. The topics discussed so far have been:
- Marketing Your Services
- Defining Your Ideal Client
- Networking Creates Word of Mouth Referrals
- Converting Prospects to Clients
We're happy to have repeat attendees who have found value in the calls and free reports. After the "Networking" call we received this email from one of the attendees: "Thank you Joel and Sue for a great and informative call, I don’t know how I would ever know the things you share if I hadn’t connected to you. Because I am new to networking, this call was powerful and very helpful, I already joined a Meet Up networking group as soon as the call was finished to increase my in-person networking activity." ~L.P.
After each group coaching call, we send out a follow-up email that includes a free report on the topic. Another repeat attendee says, "Thanks for the after-call goodies, Sue, they add that extra value to the coaching sessions that I know everyone enjoys." ~ M.F.
We invite you to join us on our next call, Effectively Marketing With Your Newsletter.
On this call you will learn:
- How to effectively market to prospects with a newsletter
- Various newsletter tools available and basic information about them
- Where to find content for your newsletter
- What the reports (open rates, click-thrus, etc.) mean and how you can use them
BONUS: All participants on the live call will be entered into a drawing to win a gently used copy of the book, Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson.
May 22nd, 2010 by Sue L Canfield
Jennifer Bourn of Bourn Creative was the guest speaker at the monthly meeting of the Northern California Virtual Assistants Meetup group today.
Jen made the point that each page on our website should have a goal. We need to take time to decide what the goal is for that particular page and then be sure that everything on that page is working toward that goal.
That was just one little tidbit I took away from today's presentation. Bourn Creative provides a ton on information on their blog and I highly recommend you visit their blog today.
May 21st, 2010 by Sue L Canfield
Of course you're trying to find more clients. Isn't everyone? Have you ever wished you could get in front of a crowd of business owners so you could speak to them about your services? That's exactly what I'm recommending you do - speak to your prospects.
I've been able to do this more than once at local networking events where I was invited to speak to a group of business owners about what a virtual assistant does. I've also done this on telecalls. So how do you prepare to speak to a group of business owners?
1. Determine what you will speak about. Create a title that grabs their attention and that shows the benefit they will receive. For example, my title is "11 Ways a Virtual Assistant Will Help You Get More Done".
2. Write up an outline detailing the challenges your audience faces and the solutions you can provide.
3. Create a bio that demonstrates your knowledge, background and experience.
4. Include testimonials of clients who have worked with you and used your services.
5. Contact local groups and pitch your idea to come speak to their group. Often local organizations are looking for speakers and would be very happy to have you come speak to their group.
6. Prepare a handout to give each attendee providing valuable information and of course include all your contact information.
I'd love to hear from any of you that have done this or something similar. Tell us how it went!