How to Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Business

social networkI’ve had good success getting known and attracting clients as a result of my LinkedIn efforts. Spending time on LinkedIn doesn’t have to feel like a waste once you know what to do to get business.

The keys to getting clients from LinkedIn follow….

Be Sure LinkedIn is Where Your Ideal Clients Hang Out

To start, you must be sure that your ideal clients are active on LinkedIn. If they aren’t, no amount of effort will bring you results. LinkedIn is a great place for personal chefs to spend their social media time if they want to attract busy executives for instance.

Post Status Updates Consistently

I recommend you post a status update on LinkedIn 3 to 5 times per week to get the most leverage. When you post, make sure it is something your ideal clients want to hear about.

For instance, if your ideal clients are busy executives what topics would interest them that you know about? Perhaps topics of interest might be ones that have to do with balancing work and life; preparing simple, tasty and healthy meals in no time flat; or choosing a caterer for their next business function.

Most of what you post should be of benefit to your readers – something that will bring them value but will also position you as an expert in your field. Mixed in with all the valuable stuff you share you can occasionally promote your services or invite your followers to take some kind of action with you.

Business updates or news are fine to share on occasion too. For instance if you’ve just won a cooking challenge, share it. If you are cooking for a charity event, mention it. If you are celebrating 10 years in business, let the world know about it.

Join a LinkedIn Group and Become an Active Participant

See if you can join a local LinkedIn group – one that caters to people in your area especially if your personal chef business is local. Become familiar with the types of discussions that are started. Get a sense of the culture of the group and then start contributing yourself.

Better yet, start your own group. You get a lot of exposure when you are the one who is leading and managing a group. The people in your group will start to view you as a helpful resource. It’s a great way to stay top of mind and some of the people who are following you will reach out to learn more about what you do.

Personalize Your Connection Requests

Almost 100% of the connection requests I receive aren’t personalized. Most people use the generic request-to-connect wording that LinkedIn provides. Do not do this!

When you send a connection request personalize it. If you are sending the connection request to someone you don’t know such as a potential prospect, tell the person why you’d like to connect and why you think connecting will be beneficial. You can mention anything that the two of you have in common or have an interest in. Do not say anything that may be construed as promotional.

If you know the person, you should still take the time to personalize it. I use the person’s name. I mention something that we recently spoke about or something that we agreed to do in the near future. Sometimes I may mention how we met if the person is someone I don’t know well.

Start a LinkedIn Email Marketing Campaign

Once you and another person connect via LinkedIn, don’t drop the ball by never reaching out to them again. What good is having a bunch of connections on LinkedIn if you never interact?

An email marketing campaign is a great way to stay in touch especially with prospects. About 4 weeks after you initially ask someone to connect, send them a link to an article you think they would find very beneficial. In another 4 weeks tell them about a LinkedIn group that you joined that you think would interest them too. Think of something of value to send to them about 3 or 4 times before you finally ask them if they would like to set up a time to have a brief phone chat.

During this brief phone chat you get to deepen your relationship even further. The phone chat should be no longer than 15 minutes. Remember, you don’t want to sell anything to anyone at this point either. You are just networking and deepening your relationship. You want to express a genuine interest in the other person and if you can help them by suggesting a resource, a great networking group or a person who they should connect to, do so.

What’s amazing about using the email marketing campaign approach is that some of the people you reach out to will proactively want to learn more about you and your business and some of them will become clients.

This approach is such a great way to “sell” without selling.

Have any of you attracted a client using LinkedIn? What did you do to get that client and how did it happen?

Avoid These 3 Common Personal Chef Pitfalls

pitfall road sign illustration designYou want to have a successful personal chef business, right? Then make sure you avoid the following 3 common pitfalls that many personal chefs make over and over again.

Lacking Patience and Persistence

It takes time to build a sustainable personal chef business or a business that everyone knows exists and refers people to. To build that kind of business you must have patience and persistence. You can’t give up too soon on any given strategy.

Some common examples of giving up too soon follow:

  • You call a few personal trainers you think would be good referral partners, and they don’t call you back or express interest in forming a partnership so you decide not to reach out to personal trainers any more.
  • You call one organization and ask them if you can give a talk to their members, and they say “no” so you get discouraged and stop pursuing any other talking opportunities.
  • You start publishing a blog or newsletter but don’t get immediate new business from your efforts so you start publishing less frequently or not at all.
  • You go to a networking event and don’t get any leads the first few times so you don’t go back.
  • You keep publishing on social media and see no positive results so you start publishing less frequently.
  • You give a cooking demo or talk but get no new leads from the effort so you assume giving cooking demos or talks isn’t a good way to get business.

Do any of the above examples sound familiar to you? You need to give any given strategy enough of chance to be successful before giving up on it.

Executing Actions Poorly

Sometimes you may be taking the right kind of actions and you may be consistent doing so but still aren’t getting the results you desire. If this is happening to you, it could be due to you executing the actions poorly.

For example, if you aren’t getting positive results from networking, you may not be networking properly. There are specific approaches you should take and specific things you should say to get good results from your networking efforts.

If you are writing a blog or newsletter but aren’t getting any clients, I bet you don’t know how to properly use blogs and newsletters to sell your services.

There are skills and approaches you need to learn to be effective at what you do if you want the actions you are taking to be effective.

Relying on passive marketing approaches only

I’ve mentioned this issue before, but I still see most personal chefs relying almost solely on the passive marketing approaches. This is such a shame because if you are doing this you are letting go of your ability to make things happen yourself and are instead leaving things up to chance.

What are some examples of passive marketing approaches? They are things like handing out business cards, posting fliers, getting a website up and running, advertising, getting a press release published, and doing a good job so that referrals start coming your way and word-of-mouth starts to kick in.

And why are the above passive marketing approaches? They are passive because you simply put something out into your community and then wait for something to happen. You are hoping that the above efforts will lead to people reaching out to you proactively to learn more about your business.

But guess what? While the passive approaches sometimes will get you clients, they aren’t usually enough to keep the flow of new business coming your way consistently.
Now I am not saying that you don’t use passive marketing approaches but that you shouldn’t rely on them solely.

You should also work on active marketing approaches which include things like picking up the phone and following up with leads and past clients, going to networking events so you can get other people’s business cards and book consults with interested parties, building relationships with spheres of influence, and giving talks and cooking demos during which you invite people to take further action with you.

With active marketing approaches, you are in the driver’s seat. You are the one actively inviting people to learn more about you and your services. You are the one following up.

Do any of these pitfalls resonate with you? If yes, which ones and why.

Where Do I Find Ideal Clients?

Chef with magnifying glass over white backgroundIf only you knew how to reach and be in front of your ideal clients, you’d have no trouble getting business.

From your perspective you aren’t struggling with how to communicate about your services, but you are struggling with finding the right kind of people to communicate to. You figure if you can solve that, you’re business would thrive.

Does this scenario sound familiar to any of you?

To figure out where to find your ideal clients, you need to first be crystal clear who those ideal clients are.

Let me help you with this.

After talking to and working with hundreds of personal chefs, I’ve identified the following major ideal client groups (I doubt any of the following will come as a surprise to you):

  • Two career couples who are time-strapped and want to eat well
  • People who are struggling with an illness or health issue and need help preparing the right kind of healing food for their condition
  • People who are injured or recently had surgery and need temporary meal preparation support
  • Singles who are extremely focused on their career and work long hours
  • Seniors who can no longer handle their meal preparation tasks
  • The rich, famous, and powerful

Once you choose the ideal client group you want to target, make a list of all the different places where they hang out or can be reached.  To make your task easier, I recommend you focus your efforts on one of the above ideal client groups that you prefer most. See where that takes you first.

This step is probably a step where some of you get stumped.

To help you, see if you can answer the following questions about your ideal client group. You may need to do a little research on the Internet or talk to some people in your ideal client group to get the answers.

  • What associations or organizations do they belong to?
  • Where do they work?
  • What conferences do they attend?
  • What societies do they belong to?
  • What industry groups service them?
  • Where do they go to recreate?
  • What publications do they read?
  • Where do they hang out on social media?
  • Where do they network?
  • What people are connected to and have a list of your ideal clients?

If you can answer the above questions for your ideal client group, you will have absolutely no trouble figuring out where to go to be in front of them, and once you know where to go to be in front of them, you can come up with ways to get yourself and your business in front of them.

How would you describe your ideal clients and where do you go to find them?  Please share your thoughts and comments below.

Are You Sabotaging Your Efforts to Get Clients by Doing This?

Private Or Public Directions On A SignpostFor many personal chefs finding regular clients on an ongoing basis is a constant struggle. And as time goes on they begrudgingly begin to feel that the on again off again pattern of their businesses is just something they have to accept as personal chefs.

Is the feast or famine pattern of a personal chef business just par for the course?

I don’t think so. There are personal chefs who do get enough clients to keep themselves booked. Some have so many clients coming their way on a regular basis that they can hire others to take on the extra workload.

What can you do differently to break the feast or famine pattern?

There are many things you can do to attract more clients on a consistent basis, but one key and simple thing you may not be doing well that can make a huge difference is following up on existing leads.

I hear personal chefs tell me all the time about people they should reach out to who they think could use their services or who have expressed interest in their services, but they just don’t follow up with these people. They procrastinate.

Does this sound like you? If you have trouble following up on leads, you aren’t alone and you are leaving a lot of money on the table. Unfortunately, it’s not effective to simply let people know you exist and then sit back and hope the phone rings. You must take a more active role in reaching out to people who have interest in what you do.

And why aren’t you doing it?

What is making you hesitate? You know on an intellectual level that you should reach out and make that call or send that email but somehow you let day after day go by without following up.

And the longer you hesitate to follow up, the less likely you will sign-up another client.

What’s behind this seemingly illogical behavior? I think fear may be at the heart of the issue. And the first thing to do to work through your fear so it doesn’t hold you back is to figure out what exactly you are afraid of.

So tell me. Do you have fear of any of the following things?

Fear of success

Suppose too many of the leads you follow up with actually say “yes” to working with you? Now what? How will you handle the workload? You don’t want your life to get too busy and you don’t want to turn business away.

Solution: Having too many people wanting to work with you is a good thing to have. Recognize that you don’t have to work with more clients than you want to. It is your business and you are in charge. Figure out a way to handle the excess. Perhaps you refer them to another personal chef and get a referral fee. Or maybe you eventually find a commercial kitchen to rent so you can service more clients.

Fear of Selling

Oh no! Someone is interested.  Now you actually have to talk to him and “sell” your services. You hate selling because it makes you feel icky inside. You don’t like when someone sells to you. Suppose your lead takes offense too? He may take offense even though he said he wanted to talk to you more. The process of closing the sale and getting the business makes you very uncomfortable.

Solution: Change your perception of selling. Think of any communication you have with a prospect as a chance for you to be of service to that individual. You are there to help him solve his problems and improve his life. You are offering him an opportunity. You are not selling.

Fear of Rejection

Even though your lead has given you permission to contact her, she still may think your services are too expensive or she may not want to work with you in the end. You don’t want to be rejected. You take it personally. You will lose your motivation to reach out to yet another prospect if you are rejected.

Solution: Try not to attach yourself to the outcome of any particular interaction you have with a prospect. Your job is to simply help your prospect decide if she should work with you or not. Remember, your goal is to be of service. Trust that your prospect knows how to make the best decision for herself and in the end that is truly what is best for all. And if the decision is “no”, bless her, review what you did well and not so well during the follow-up and then move on quickly to your next lead.

Fear of Not Knowing What to Say

You wonder how the conversation will flow when you finally do have that in-person or phone discussion with your lead. Suppose you are awkward and can’t think of the right things to say at the right time? What will she think of you? Maybe she won’t see you as a professional with a valuable service to offer.

Solution: Write up a script. Think of all the possible things your prospect might say and brainstorm ahead of time for ways to answer or comment. Practice with a friend.

Fear of Bothering Your Prospect

Even though your lead said you could contact him, you know he is very busy, and you don’t want to disturb him. Every time you muster the courage to place the call, you tell yourself that it isn’t a good time to call because he will probably be busy working, eating dinner, or relaxing with family. You don’t want to interfere or come across too aggressive and pushy, so you keep waiting to reach out to him.

Solution: When someone expresses interest in your services ask him when the best time is to call. And remember, if you don’t follow-up, you are doing a disservice to your prospect. If you never talk, he will never have the opportunity to benefit from your services and his life won’t improve.

So what’s the outcome for you if you let your fear-based mindset influence your actions as they pertain to following up with leads? You will end up with too few clients to keep your calendar fully booked. You won’t be able to turn your personal chef business into a thriving one. You won’t be able to sustain yourself financially. You won’t be able to help people have better lives by reducing their stress and cooking them good, healthy food.

Your dream won’t be realized.

YOUR ASSIGNMENT: Figure out what the root cause is of your follow-up reluctance and then come up with a plan to help you work through your fear so you can take action. Choose some of the approaches above or come up with an approach of your own and then implement it!

What did you think of this blog post? Do you sometimes hesitate to follow-up on leads even if they have given you permission to call? What do you think makes you reluctant to follow-up? Please share your thoughts below in the comment section. I’d love to hear from you.

Interested in learning more about my client attraction services? Let’s talk. Sign up for a Client Attraction Phone Consult with me. We will work together to clarify your business goals, uncover potential roadblocks, and then discuss how you can get more ongoing support to help you get more clients and income.

Top 3 Ways to Get Clients Fast

Group of workers people.It’s a scary feeling. You don’t have enough clients to make ends meet. You aren’t sure how much longer you can hold on without any money coming in. You wonder what you are doing wrong. You desperately need clients fast, but you don’t know what to do.

There are lots of things you can do to get more clients, but here are three top ways to get them. Are you doing all of these things? If not, start implementing the following strategies now:

Tell the People You Already Know What You Do:

You’d be surprised how many personal chefs overlook or forget to take this very important step.

I remember a story one personal chef told me about her running partner. She had been running with him for a couple of years, but she had never told him what she did for a living, and he had never asked.

One day he remarked with surprise that he didn’t even know what kind of work she did. When she told him that she was a personal chef, he hired her and became a long-term, regular client.

Now while this story ended well, this particular personal chef could have had the business years earlier if she had only told her running partner what she did right from the get go.

And this story is not uncommon. I have heard some version of it over and over again.

Who do you know in your network and does everyone (and I mean everyone) in your network know what you do? If not, tell them!

Attend Networking Events:

While it is important to reach out to your existing network to tell them about your personal chef services, it is also critical to build new relationships with potential clients.

Attending networking events is a great way to do this, but you don’t want to attend just any networking events. You want to attend the ones that attract people who fit your ideal client profile or that have members who can refer you to your ideal clients.

Go to a few networking events and feel them out first before committing and paying a yearly membership fee if required. You want to determine if a particular networking group is going to be a good fit for you and your business.

Once you have attended several networking groups choose a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 3 to attend and participate in regularly.

Build Relationships with Referral Partners:

The best referral partners are people who understand the value of your services, believe in the quality of what you provide and are connected to lots of people who fit your ideal client profile. In addition, they are people who are comfortable referring others. Not everyone is comfortable referring by the way.

Some of the great referral partners my personal chef clients have had include doctors, spa owners, yoga studio owners, and nutritionists to name a few. Often times these referral partners are also clients of my clients. The fact that they have had direct experience with the personal chefs they are referring helps.

What ways have worked well for you to get clients? Please share in the comment section below.

And if you would like more support on how to attract enough clients for your personal chef business, sign up for a free Client Attraction Phone Consult with me by visiting my online calendar at https://www.timetrade.com/book/9ZPQK and schedule a date and time for us to talk.