We received this question on the LinkedIn group recently:
When a VA is working full-time and starting her business at the same time, what is the best way to follow-up and/or get leads (clients)? Also, how do you convince future clients that you can still do the work, just at a different time in the day?
Excellent question and if you are facing a similar challenge, here’s is the first part of my answer:
“Have you researched networking opportunities in your area? Networking is a great way to connect with ideal prospects and they often feel more comfortable discussing the possibility of working together because they’ve had a chance to meet you face to face.
What types of entrepreneurial groups meet regularly in your area?
Also, keep an open mind in terms of HOW you can help those in your existing network. The solutions you can offer may not look as you think they should. It would be good to focus on what challenges they are facing in their business/life and how you can use your skills to help eliminate those problems.”
Here’s how our member responded:
“I have thought about it and am also a member of my local chamber of commerce. Thing is, either the events go on during the day (I’m working) or a few a night and are quite expensive. So, for now, I have not attended any. They just started again in September and have about one event per month.
Other thing, even with some people I know, they cannot imagine outsourcing admin work. You must be in the office. No matter how hard you try to explain, they just can’t see it. And we’re talking about a major company who really has a shortage of admins and can’t find what they’re looking for. I did mention they could use my services while they’re looking. They know me and my work since I used to work for them.
Even if a company needs someone full-time, I have someone who is available until I can quit my job.
I feel I have to educate people before they can appreciate the services. However, I’m not sure how to do this without it costing me anymore. I’ve invested a whole lot of money without any return and at the end of the day, I still need to provide for my kids.
So, I believe I have to “educate” people and let them see that there is a need and we can really help. Question now for me is “how”.”
And here was my reply:
“A couple of tips that will help:
* Keep in mind NO one you talk is looking for a Virtual Assistant. Not one business owner. What they ARE looking for is help with the challenges they are facing in their business. An email Inbox that is overflowing, invoices that haven’t been sent so they can’t get paid, calls to prospective and existing clients that haven’t been returned, contact info that is scattered here, there an everywhere. They need help running their business, closing more clients and serving the clients they have.
The point is this. Start speaking to the solutions you offer. When you focus on what your prospective clients need and want, HOW you do this becomes a non-issue. They won’t care if you work in their office or yours.
Yes, your audience does need to be educated. But not necessarily about the ins and out of Virtual Assistance. They need to be educated on how you solve their problems.
* Be strategic and focused in your marketing efforts. Who your ideal client is should dictate where you spend your networking time. Are you targeting Interior Designers? CPAs? Financial Planners? Whomever it is, find out where they are already gathering and make it your business to be there.
If you’re struggling to choose a target market and create your ideal client profile, this article will help:
When you show up to a networking event as a friendly, engaging, resourceful, problem solver (reference point #1) you are guaranteed to get leads for your business, so it is well worth the time and money investment to attend.”
As with most things in our business, stepping into success starts with a simple mindset shift and adjusting the way we look at things. However you choose to go about marketing your business, focus on the needs of your clients, being of service and HOW you can create the results you’re looking for. If you do, an endless stream of opportunity awaits you!
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