The question I get asked most often by you fine people who run your own business is…

How do I get more leads for my business?

That’s a good question, but that’s not really what you want. If I send 10,000 unqualified leads to you but you convert none of them to clients, then those leads did you no good. You put in a lot of extra work and saw no real return on the time spent talking to those prospects.

What you want is more qualified leads that turn into clients so you can help more people and make money to pay the bills.

Here are the four things you need to do to get more leads that are qualified to become clients. Because your kids love fridge boxes to play in, but not as a permanent home.

Want even more on how to turn your leads into clients? Get my latest book Finding and Marketing to Your Niche, because getting leads doesn’t have to be so hard.

Get focused with your site

Sure, people take a look at your site. While you may think it’s super fancy and uses some great technology, your prospect couldn’t care less.

Stop for a second and take a look at my homepage here…I’ll wait.

I’m twiddling my thumbs right now…waiting.

How long did it take for you to figure out that I can help you get more leads and turn them into clients? Yup, about two seconds.

Now, can you tell me the three specific problems I can help you solve? Yup, if you scrolled just a bit more you’d see them called out.

There are no huge paragraphs telling you my history, because you don’t care. You care that I can solve your problems, so I told you the exact problems I solve, and offered you a call-to-action right on the home page–book a coaching session with me.

Look at your site and don’t tell prospects that you’re a ‘futurist’ or anything like that. Tell them what their biggest pain is and that you can solve it. Give them a call to action and make it obvious.

[Tweet “Acknowledge your prospect’s pain and show them how you can ease it.”]

Put in some testimonials and maybe some other content, but don’t clutter up the page.

Have a client vetting process

Assuming you’re getting leads, it’s time to make sure they are decent leads. Leads you’d like to work with, where you can bring value and who have a budget appropriate for your services.

That means you should be asking them a bunch of questions via email before you get on the phone with them. Here is what my initial email looks like.

If you want to see the exact questions I send to prospects then you should look at Effective Client Email.

Once you have good answers to the questions you’ve asked it’s time to get on the phone. That first client call is all about making sure the answers you got match up. One fatal mistake is that you don’t make sure you’re talking to the true decision maker on the project. You need to talk to the decision maker on the project so that you can probe even deeper into what your client finds valuable and make sure you provide it to them.

With a few calls out of the way, you’re ready to work on the proposal.

Give them options

The biggest mistake people make in their proposals is not offering options. If there are three people estimating on a project and the other two people provide a single price but you provide three options, then you have over 50% of the decisions to do the work residing with working with you.

Having options also pre-empts any discussion about lowering your prices. Because you asked about budget in your initial emails, and again in your phone call, you know that your first option–the base project–is within the budget.

Then your second option, which includes some extras they dreamed of, lands right at the top of the budget.

Your third option, which includes all the dreams and maybe something extra you thought of that provides value, is actually over their budget.

If you want to see exactly how I do proposals and win 90% of what I send, get Writing Proposals that Win Work.

If you can do that, you’re going to be surprised with how often your prospects choose an option that’s over the initial budget because it provides so much extra value.

Keep those great clients working with you

Now that you’ve worked with someone, it’s not time to say goodbye to them. It’s time to double down on the relationship and invest, because most of your awesome clients are going to come through referrals.

Send your awesome clients a card once a year or so, and not some lame Christmas card that’s going to sit around in a stack. Send them a ‘not Christmas’ card on February 2.

Use something like Contactually to follow up via email a few times a year with your awesome clients, to stay top of mind.

If you can implement these four things into your prospect and client workflow then you’re going to get more leads. These leads will convert to clients, and long term they’re going to turn into awesome referral sources.

Want more on how to turn your leads into clients? Get my latest book Finding and Marketing to Your Niche, because getting leads doesn’t have to be so hard.

photo credit: martym cc