Before you spend any more time, money or energy chasing new prospects, it might be a good idea to first get CLEAR about the most likely way people will find you.
According to HUBSPOT’s research, these are the top 4 ways a prospective customer goes about selecting a professional service provider.
Cue the drum roll…
The number one way a prospect chooses a service provider is…
1. WORD of MOUTH Referral from a trusted friend or source.
No surprise there.
Most business owners will tell you referrals are their number one source of business.
That’s awesome because obviously it means you’re doing a great job. The only problem is that growing a business with organic referrals can be painfully slow.
The key is to ignite your referral efforts. This means you need to stop waiting for them to slowly roll in and start driving them in by establishing a referral system.
Okay, if referrals from a trusted friend or source is the number one way to choose a service provider, then what’s number two?
Surprise, surprise, more referrals…
2. Is a referral from another service provider.
Outside of your clients, your next best source of business are the clients of other quality service providers.
I know that I’m constantly asked by my clients for referrals to other service professionals I would recommend.
This is one of the reasons you need to build a strong network of service professionals, people you have real faith in. The fact is when you recommend another service provider to one of your clients, you place your reputation on the line.
You don’t want to HOPE they will do a good job and look after your client well; you want to KNOW they will.
I know there are a lot of referral networks out there but my rule of thumb is if you don’t know the quality of the work another service supplier offers, be careful. Referring someone who let’s your client down can be a costly exercise.
LESSON: Build a great network of service providers around you and ONLY refer if you’re certain they do good work.
For many businesses, referrals are their number one source of business.
And it makes sense because people like to buy from people they trust. Referrals leverage the trust of a friend or the positive experience a customer has had with another service provider.
It makes the buying decision faster and much easier to make.
That’s two down and two to go.
The third way that a prospect chooses their preferred supplier is…
3. Brand Awareness
Having Brand Awareness is the third most likely way someone will decide to work with you.
If you can build brand awareness, it means your work and reputation precede you. You have earnt Top of Mind Awareness in the mind of the prospect.
This is the goal of any serious brand.
Here’s a quick brand awareness test for you.
Grab a pen and piece of paper and as you read the next 3 questions, write down the very first words that come into your mind.
Okay here we go.
Write down the name of a COLA company.
Write down the name of an American car company.
Write down the name of a baby shampoo company.
What did you write?
The most common responses are:
Johnson and Johnson
What’s important to understand here is those companies have invested billions to try and make that happen.
In a small business sense, the key is to focus on becoming famous for one thing; to narrow your offerings and own a niche where you are the first name people think of in your field.
But when I think of the top four strategies HUBSPOT identified, the fourth way a person is likely to choose their service professional is my favourite.
Now the answer may surprise you.
I’ll give you a clue… it’s NOT via social media or your website!
No, according to the study, the fourth most likely way someone will select a service professional is…
4. They saw you speak at a seminar or event.
That’s right! SPEAKING is an awesome way to attract clients.
The fact is speaking is one of the most powerful marketing tools you will ever possess.
If you have the confidence to speak in front of a group of people, then you have the potential to market your business like few others do.
Why is speaking so effective?
Here’s a short list.
• You get to speak one to MANY making it time efficient.
• You get to provide massive value upfront.
• You get to demonstrate your expertise and share your knowledge.
• You get to build rapid trust.
• You get a massive competitive advantage.
These are just a few of the reasons why speaking is such an effective tool for business building.
Well, there you have it – the TOP 4 ways people select a service provider.
How did you go?
Have you got them all nailed or have you got a little work to do?