Just over a year ago, I quit my full-time job with great pay and amazing benefits to start a business helping companies with their DOT and safety needs. When we stepped out on our own we had ONE customer and the hope of a few more.
What were we thinking??
Well, we made it the first year and are excited to share some of the keys to success that we learned.
One of the hardest lessons that I learned from our first year in business is that it’s not about getting every client it’s about getting the right clients. Not every company in the industry is the right client.
Think about it, if you have 2 clients and one is constantly calling, complaining, not paying their bill. Are they really a client you want? They are paying about 1/100 of your wages but are using 1/10 of your time.
One way we make sure we get the right clients now is by conducting a phone or in-person “interview” with every potential new client. We disguise it as a free consultation but the truth is that this time allows us to ensure that we will be a good fit for them and them for us.
The second tip is to schedule a time for what is really important to you. If you want more time with your family, put it in your calendar. I learned that my calendar is my best friend. I add an appointment to it and it reminds me to go do it.
Some of the things that I put in my calendar are: Workout, devotional time, help my kids with “X”, date night, payment due. You get the point.
Third, don’t try too hard to get new clients. They will come at the right time.
All too often we tried too hard to close potential new clients. Making trips to see potential new clients and coming home with one or 2 new customers instead of a lot more.
I have spent days, weeks, even months worrying over if a potential new client will actually sign on with us. What good has that done me?
That’s right no good at all. It actually distracted me and we probably lost clients in the long run because I didn’t give them the attention they needed.
I remember sending out estimates, following up and the potential new clients ghosted me. All I could think about was, what did I do wrong? Was the price too high? Did I say something wrong? The truth is I might have made a mistake, but most of the time it just took time for the potential customers to pull the trigger.
Our fourth tip is to give 10x more with no expectation of getting new clients. We host FREE or low-cost training to get our name and reputation established in the community. Once that reputation was established we had people sharing our contact info with others. We started getting so many calls that started, “Hey “X,” told me you were the guy that had the answers for anything DOT, here’s the question we have.”
We had two options. The first was to bill them for our time and answering their questions. The second was to answer their questions and give them everything they need to be successful.
We always chose the second. I’ve been told that I give too much away. But guess what about 90% of the people that I helped came back and signed an annual contract with us and we got over 10x the income from their contract as we would have if we charged for answering their questions. It also helped because they would share our name with anyone who had questions and they would come to us.
Our last tip is that you don’t have to have a unique product, but you do need to have a great reason for your potential clients to come to you. Our business helps companies maintain compliance with Federal Regulations. All of our clients could get all of the required documents free online. But it would take them numerous hours to find the forms and study the material.
We offer a service that allows them to have more time in their day, every day. We come in, take over their DOT, if they want, and they can focus on what’s really important. You see we dive them time back into their day.
That’s what we sell, time.
We save our clients time. They know that when they have an issue it’s a call, text, or email away from an answer that they can trust.
Surround yourself with others that are more successful than you are. You might be asking, I live in rural America, it’s really hard to find people that I really look up to that have time. I get it, we live in rural Colorado the closest town is 30 min away.
Here’s what we did. We started investing in ourselves. We bought into training and live meetings. Then COVID hit and all of those events were canceled or turned into virtual. It’s tough to surround yourself when almost all events are canceled.
I am surrounded by listening to books, podcasts, Facebook lives, by joining inner circles of great leaders and making time for their weekly events.
I know that’s not the same as meeting people in person but hey it worked. It allowed me to push myself to the next level without much effort.
There are so many things that we could share….
These are just a few of the key items that we found really helped us.