How to Find Amazing Clients Every Time

by Craig McBreen · 17 comments · Branding, Content Marketing


How-to-Find-the-Perfect-Client1How do you craft an online presence built to attract and convert buyers?

Eliminate the “Tire Kickers” and find paying clients?

Well, before we start let me give you a little backstory …

I started blogging two years ago, happily pounding the keyboard each day on the verge of something special, or at least I thought.

Every day I was maintaining a tenacious schedule with a killer spirit, but at the end of each day had laid a big, fat goose egg.

Sure, I made friends, had tens, sometimes hundreds of social shares, and posts had 50-100 comments, but that was it.

You know all too well about that kind of endorphin rush, right? (I see you nodding.)

But that super-duper feeling is shorter than a mayfly’s life and does nothing but give you that rush to the head.

The Facepalm Moment (and Why You Need to Pay Attention).

It didn’t take me long to realize that blogging is a futile pursuit without real goals and EXTREME focus. The kind of focus that builds successful businesses.

Duh, is right, but the blogosphere can be a wicked place full of endorphin-laced, ego-stroking candy. This is baaaaaad for focus.

The Bigger Story.

I’ve been in business since 1995, so I am no stranger to the peaks and valleys of entrepreneurship. And the determination needed to move like a kinetic, but focused master-juggler on a caffeine high.

I also know how to find great customers the old school way, but I’m still learning about blogging, social and the power of online marketing done right.

Many golden rules are still in place, but with rapid change it’s hard to keep up. To make it today, you need to find customers online.

You’re probably saying, “gee thanks, Captain Obvious!” But really, think about your online efforts and who you’re trying to attract.

The Bad Clients.

You go through a qualification process, so you don’t waste time and energy on the “tire kickers.”

I’ve wasted a TON of time and energy on “tire kickers.”

The old school methods I’ve used for eons are becoming less effective each year. And excuse my grammar, but they ain’t the best way to weed out the stinky eggs. The online world IS, if you do it the right way.

In our online utopia you must put your efforts into building relationships over time.

If you focus on the right customer from the start: Who they are, what they need, their main point of pain; you’re on the right track.

In other words, put all your time and energy into finding clients you really want to work with. Yes, this is obvious, but are you doing it?

Are you?

To me, the best way to frame all this is through a relationship-building story told over time.

This way …

You invite engagement. You create interest. You might even start to gain a little authority. Why? Because you are focused on your ideal customer’s needs.

You are NOT trying to make a sale. you ARE building a relationship by consistently teaching AND listening … and tweaking over time.

It’s a Long March

You don’t want a quick sale, you want a long-term relationship where they come back because they love you so.

I’m not a sales guy, or a blogging wunderkind, or a social media wonk. I’m the furthest thing from it … and that’s why this is all so fun …

Because I’m on a journey.

And as I’m learning I am going to write about it, so I can help myself and more importantly, help you.

So, what’s it all about?
Finding the right customer and courting them.

How do you do this?
Find their pain by paying attention. Ask for feedback … on your blog, within social media, through email.

Keep listening.
When I first started writing, my posts lacked cohesiveness. In order to find the right people I needed to retool and refocus.

How did I turn it around? By listening.

When does the magic happen?
There’s nothing magical about it. You just have to work like a dog to write magnetic and helpful content that solves a big, fat problem. Your ideal customer’s pain.

When you find that and solve it, you’re golden.

I’m still working at it, are you?

If you’re interested in learning more about my branding and design process, jump on over to my email list. In the comments below, let me know exactly what you are struggling with regarding branding and design.

Craig is Principal of McBreen Design. A Seattle Branding and Design firm which helps small companies bring their purpose to life with brand strategy, award-winning graphic design, and web design services.

If you want top-notch creative work with a personalized approach, look no further.

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Mitch December 9, 2013 at 12:59 am

wow, this didn’t make much sense to me ! :P
and i read it twice, i really thought you were gonna share some major key-points or a best practice tip or something!
anyway i still don’t agree that the old ways are dying, finding clients through local connections offline is still the best way so far,
being recommended by someone the client trusts will always be superior to any online referral (search engine, social media, website, blogging etc …)
Many thanks and Best wishes!
Mitch recently posted..Free CV Builder, Free Resume Builder, cv templatesMy Profile

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Craig McBreen December 9, 2013 at 8:08 pm

Hi Mitch,

Are you sure you read it twice ;)

The old ways are dying. That doesn’t mean they don’t work or won’t be around for a long time … just less effective with each passing year.

Thanks for stopping in.

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Joe December 9, 2013 at 9:42 am

“Old School” business building activities can still work. I believe that ‘cause I do it every day. There are a plethora of people that will tell you (and sell you) that “cold calling is dead” and a low return activity. To build a sustainable business, there should be a solid mix of “hunting” and “farming”. A cold call is just the first step in the forming of a friendly business relationship.

Having said that, I’m in total agreement that social and on-line activities are important as well. They are tools that I’ve just scratched the surface with, and they are an ideal supplement to face to face or phone/email communication.
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Craig McBreen December 9, 2013 at 8:13 pm

Hi Joe,

Oh, I know they still work and I practice them myself. Picked up the cold-calling habit long ago and still doing a bit of it each day too. I learned a long time ago to never stop marketing.

I do think the old ways are going away though, slowly but surely. What is interesting is that in the small business world I inhabit things like content marketing and social media are finally starting to become topics of conversation in initial meetings. This past 6+ months it’s been a completely different story though.

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Melanie December 9, 2013 at 9:49 am

I get it, Craig …
Focus = Fanfare :)

Pardon my language, but blogging [for business] is a hell of a lot of brain-bustin’ work. No point in burning the midnight oil and cranking out masterpieces your network of “fans and followers” have no intention of taking action on. I think the highest priority for biz bloggers is to find your “right people” first. Have any pearls of wisdom for zeroing in on how to find these gems online?
Melanie recently posted..Here’s The Thing About Personal Drama And Trauma On Your Business BlogMy Profile

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Craig McBreen December 9, 2013 at 8:21 pm

Hi Melanie,

Good to see you here. Well, you know me and focus ;)

Tell me about it. What used to be communications in the form of strategic design and good copy, now has become a system with more than a few moving parts.

Find your people first is the mantra :) Something I’ll be writing about ad nauseum in the coming weeks and months (plus there is that little red book I’ll be offering). So stay tuned.

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Melanie December 9, 2013 at 11:38 pm

Face it, Craig …
You’re never going to get rid of me. LOL!

I’m definitely staying tuned for that “little red book”. ;)
Melanie recently posted..Here’s The Thing About Personal Drama And Trauma On Your Business BlogMy Profile

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Craig McBreen December 10, 2013 at 12:01 pm

You’re in for the long-haul, huh? ;)

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Stephen Lahey December 9, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Interesting post, Craig. Over the past 8 years or so, I’ve found that adding blogging and social media to my sales and marketing mix has paved the way to many productive phone calls and meetings with prospective clients. LinkedIn has been especially valuable to me as I reach out to Fortune 500 decision-makers.

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Craig McBreen December 9, 2013 at 8:26 pm

Hi Stephen,

I used to blog for fun and the endorphin rush of comments. I didn’t realize this at first, but I did. Now with a mix of social, content marketing, and more targeted email I’m learning to help potential clients in many new ways and like you, doors are opening.

And I’ll be studying your expert LinkedIn strategies for sure! Thanks for stopping in and great to see you here.

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Jeevan Jacob John December 9, 2013 at 3:52 pm

Agree with you, Craig.

I am planning to offer writing services, once I establish my upcoming blog. My target audience is newbie bloggers and established bloggers (mostly the latter. Established bloggers, as in bloggers who have already setup a blog, and know the basics, but are not pros yet).

To be honest, I haven’t thought much about it. I don’t plan to start the service until the end of next year, so there isn’t a sense of urgency (As of now, I know that most of my clients will be new bloggers and businesses who are trying to build their blogs. For those people, my blog will act as a portfolio, showing off my work and telling them why they should hire me).

In a way, I have planned for this, without actually planning anything :D

Anyways, thank you for the wonderful post, Craig! Appreciate it. Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

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Craig McBreen December 9, 2013 at 8:30 pm

Hey Jeevan,

I’m sure looking forward to that new site of yours. Well, it sure sounds to me like you do have a plan ;) I do hope it is fruitful for you.

I’ll be writing more hands-on stuff about building a brand … hopefully I won’t bore everyone to death in the process, but you might get a thing or two out of it as you build your own.

Appreciate the thoughtful comments, as always.

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Jeevan Jacob John December 10, 2013 at 8:19 pm

I hope too ;)

Haha, Of course not :D I do love your posts, especially your writing style and I learn quite a bit from each blog post :D

No mention :)

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Craig McBreen December 11, 2013 at 11:36 am

Thank you, Mr. Jeevan :)

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Maxwell Ivey December 9, 2013 at 9:27 pm

hi craig; I love that you aren’t afraid to show us that you are still learning about this online stuff. I have been going through one of these ego rushes lately. I am getting lots of new traffic, my site rankings are way up, my social media networks are growing, my blog posts are getting more comments and shares; but there has only been limited sales success tied to all of this. However, the sales that were made happened far quicker because of friends of friends of friends online. I do agree with you that building relationships is the key. I have gotten into trouble with some “marketing experts’ when i have told them that I have made more friends than total sales and I am just fine with that. but in the amusement industry there are a fare number of less than reliable business owners and i believe building relationships and friendships helps me to avoid representing people who will do my reputation harm. I think it helps to get to know people before i list their equipment so i can get a sense of whether or not they will pay me promptly without argument when a sale is made. and as far as the tire kickers i have a standard email that goes out to them that specifies how i operate and requires them to agree to it or use someone else. quite a few will never come back after reading it, but it saves me loads of time. thanks for the great post. I am looking forward to sharing this online journey with you. take care, max
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Craig McBreen December 10, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Hi Max,

It’s easy to get caught up in meaningless metrics … not that this communication is bad. It’s great actually, you just need to focus on the right kind and not get too lost in the ego rush. AND nothing wrong with making friends online, that’s for sure :)

Glad you have something in place to deal with the “tire kickers.”

So glad you were able to stop in. Cheers to your continued success!

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Maxwell Ivey December 10, 2013 at 12:34 pm

hi craig; appreciate the post and your reply. my bigger problem are the people who wait til they really need to sell something and have failed elsewhere before finally asking me. they want their listing to appear magically and they will call or email daily for updates. and they are usually the worst about notifying me if they decided not to sell or if they found a buyer on their own. i had to come up with a set reply because i often found myself agreeing to terms that weren’t healthy. it makes it easier to say no when you already have the answer written down. keep up the great work, max
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