4 ways to find clients that will pay you more

We’ve been talking this month about raising your prices. I assert that higher prices help you to close business more quickly because you are more confident about the value you offer, and you are communicating that confidence to your prospects, which is attractive to them. Now we’re going to talk about HOW to find clients that will pay you well.

how to find clients

But what if the prospects you’ve been attracting just don’t have the money? What if you’ve been fishing in the shallow end of the pond? How does a business owner make the shift from prospects who can’t afford their services to prospects who appreciate — and can pay for— the value they bring? Here’s 4 ways on how to find clients despite those challenges:

1. Demonstrate Expertise

How do you find clients who see the value of what you bring? The best way to attract them is toΒ demonstrate your expertise. Show people that you know what you are talking about; let them see the results you generate for your clients.

There are three ways that professionals have historically done this: writing, speaking and case studies. All of these have become both easier and harder to do. The Internet opens the door to self-publishing on your own site, in a newsletter to your house list, on LinkedIn to your followers, and a million other places. The door is wide open to publishing. The door is not the problem. Finding your audience is.

Speaking enables folks to see not just your ideas; they see you. They can hear your voice, experience your presence and better evaluate what it might be like to work with you. Does your target prospect’s industry have an annual conference? Speak there. Do you know other professionals who target similar prospects? Partner with them to hold your own event (where you both speak).

The more you can get your ideas in front of your target market, the more you’ll become known for those ideas. When your ideal client has the problems you solve, they will come to you!

Finally, if you can show the results your work has achieved through case studies, that content is really attractive to those prospects who have similar challenges.

2. Focus on a narrower niche

If you’re trying to figure out how to find clients, you need to define your niche. I hear a lot of professionals tell me they “target small and medium sized businesses”. Is that really a target? Isn’t that like 80% of the companies in America? Be more specific. Talk about what your ideal clients have in common. Are they all in the same industry, do they have similar problems, or are they at an identifiable point in their growth? The more narrowly you can define your target, the more likely it is that they will find you.

Plus, when you define your target more narrowly you can craft your message to be more directly targeted at them. You can hone all your marketing so that it attracts those prospects.

3. Go deep

Narrowing your target market means that you can dig deep into that niche. So how do you find clients in that niche? Here’s a few questions to ask yourself — Where do those folks hang-out? What conferences do they attend? What websites are they reading? How can you be in all those places? When you start to focus on one industry or problem area, you can be everywhere in that niche. You become the one person that everyone refers that work to.

4. Turn work down

When you do get referred a piece of business from outside your niche, refer it to someone else. When you do that you communicate clearly that you are serious about focusing on your target market. You also make room for more work within that target market.

The most common source of prospects is referrals (assuming you do great work). So if you do work outside your niche, you will get referrals outside your niche. If you stick to working with a narrow client base, you will get referrals within that narrow client base.

Whenever you are talking about your business — at your speaking engagements, or in your articles — be really clear about what type of client you are looking for. Put some qualifications in there about size, or about how they are funded, or about their maturity level, so that you are telling people to send you clients who can pay more.

Making this change may be uncomfortable in the short run; but in reality, raising your prices and putting a laser focus on your target audience will free you up more to do what you do best.

How have you changed your business development approach to get more prospects who can pay you well? What advice would you give to other on how to find clients?

Photo Credit: Ryan McGuire


  1. “When you do get referred a piece of business from outside your niche, refer it to someone else.”

    Hi Brad, this is the most important thing to me. I used to say “yes” All, The, Time, and man that didn’t help one little bit πŸ™‚ Be selective!

  2. I turned down a very lucrative contract – an easy choice as it was so far outside my niche I couldn’t do it – at least not without a lot of gnashing of teeth and tearing of hair! I second-guessed myself later, as the income would have been welcome. The same client returned 9 months later with a smaller r piece of work that is within my niche. The work is defined enough to allow me to continue pursuing other projects as well and pays the same hourly rate the larger contract would have. Lesson learned – saying “no” can be a great strategy.

  3. Partnering with local business associations, chambers of commerce, and economic development organizations to do workshops or seminars has worked well for me.

    And you can reach further than your local area. Call or email other organizations in neighbouring regions to set up speaking events.

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