When starting a professional organizing business, the question students ask the most is, “How do I find clients?”
The first thing to recognize is you need to seek out clients and not wait for clients to seek you out.
Four months into the start-up of my organizing business, my husband, Stefan, and I were in our office with our desks back to back, and he turned around, kicked my chair, and said, “Don’t you think it’s about time to get a client?”
I had not worked with a client yet. I wasn’t sure how to find clients, and our website was not on page one of the search listing, so if anyone was looking for a professional organizer, they would not find me. Remember, this was 2003, and professional organizers were not commonplace. The TV shows that have promoted our industry were just beginning.
I asked Stefan, “How should I go about finding clients?” He suggested I ask a few friends who had encouraged me to do this to see if they knew of anyone whose home was a bit cluttered. I pulled together a brochure of my business services and proceeded to meet with everyone I knew, asking them to help me find clients.
This exercise proved to be very worthwhile on two counts.
First, I was referred by one of my friends to her client, and I had my first organizing job. Second, I made connections with people who have businesses with clients who need my services, and eventually, my clients might need their services. For example, one friend is a financial advisor, and her clients needed help assembling paper information the financial advisor required to advise them. My clients often ask me if I know of a financial advisor because they need to get their finances in order or start investing for their retirement. It’s a win-win relationship and what is known as a strategic alliance.
Developing Your Network of Strategic Alliances
If you haven’t already formed a group of strategic alliances, think of who they could be.
Strategic alliances are individuals or businesses that share similar clients with you.
Network every day. Talk to everyone about your business. Who do you know that can help you promote your business? Who can you partner with and strategically align yourself with to provide mutual marketing opportunities?
Strategic alliance might be:
- interior designers
- certified public accountants
- senior living residences (Marketing Director)
- financial investment representatives
- feng shui consultants
- wardrobe consultants
- cleaning services
Invite them to meet with you, explain your services, and then ask them, “How can I be of service to you?” and watch the flood of referrals come your way. And you will be more valuable to your clients because you have resources for them.
Another way to meet strategic partners is to join networking organizations. Business Networking International is a networking organization I belonged to in the early years of my business. They have over 200,000 members. I met many business owners; we exchanged referrals and grew my list of trusted resources. Recently, the networking groups I belong to include Women To Women Network, Women In Networking, and Chamber of Commerce. Also, look for networking groups on Facebook.
Other ways to find clients
Social media: Set up accounts and post regularly on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, and Houzz. To start, pick one or two social media platforms best suited to your key client.
Public speaking: Speak on time management, paper management, decluttering, and downsizing. Speak at your chamber of commerce, networking groups, moms groups, and parent-teacher associations.
Removable car sign: I suggest a removable car sign for when you don’t want to be advertising your business, such as when you are at a client location–to protect their privacy. (www.fastsigns.com)
Silent auctions: Auction a basket or bin of organizing products along with a gift certificate for your services. Include your business card and other promotional materials, and have extras for the table for everyone to take.
What are other methods you practice to gain new clients? Post in the comments below.