Sure-Fire Ways to Find Your Next Client

It’s a horrible, sinking feeling when one of your regular clients tells you he/she will be canceling your services.  Maybe it’s because the family is moving or maybe it’s because the husband or wife just lost a job.

The reason really doesn’t matter.  What does matter is that you are now in a bind.  You need to find someone to replace them ASAP because losing even one regular client can put a big dent in your monthly income.

If you don’t find someone else soon, you may have to work part-time at something else just to keep the money coming in or you may have to rely more heavily on other family members to keep things financially afloat.  If only you could easily find someone to replace the client who just left, your worries would be over.

Below are some of my top tips that will make it a whole lot easier for you to know where to find your next ideal client.

Tip #1:  Ask the client who is leaving for a referral

Asking for a referral may sound like something obvious for you to do, but you would be surprised at how many personal chefs don’t ask for one or forget to ask.  I know one personal chef, let’s call her Jan, whose client sent out an email to all of her friends telling them what a wonderful personal chef Jan was, and in no time, Jan had more clients.  Asking for referrals is often a quick and easy way to get more business.

Tip #2:  Service a specific, accessible group of people who value what you offer

Servicing a specific and accessible group of people who also value what you offer is critical because if you know who your ideal clients are and you know where to find them easily, you will have a lot less trouble keeping your calendar fully booked.  To make this point clear, let me share with you an example.

If you are a personal chef who is a generalist which means you serve any kind of food to any kind of person, you won’t know where to go to find your next client because they could be anywhere.

In addition, your message about the benefits of your services and who you are looking to serve will be vague making it more difficult for people to refer others to you or even for them to get excited about what you are offering.

Now let’s assume you have a specific group of people who you serve, and you easily know where to find them.  One such example might be women entrepreneurs.  Women entrepreneurs congregate because they do a lot of networking.  You’ll know where to find them and if you craft your marketing message with this group specifically in mind, you are much more likely to get a client.

Tip #3: Build a newsletter list or blog following

Although this strategy doesn’t necessarily bring you business immediately, it will become a great source of potential new clients for you over time as you build your relationship with your list.  The key is to service your list in an effective way.  There are ways to stay in touch with your list that bring you clients, and there are ways that don’t.

The point is your list should be filled with people who already have an interest in your services and who are responsive.  By responsive I mean that the people on your list open your emails, click on links, take you up on promotions and attend your events.  Once you have built a sense of community with your list, and they like you and your services you can bet you will find someone who wants to work with you.

What I love about inviting people to join a newsletter or blog community is it’s a way for you to stay in touch with people who may not be ready to hire you when you first meet them, but they will be ready to hire you sometime in the future.

Your name needs to be top of mind when they are finally ready to use your services.  By keeping in touch with your list on a regular basis and by sharing valuable information that your list wants to have, you do just that.

How Much Should You Charge for Your Personal Chef Services

Figuring out what to charge can be a challenge.  I know that many personal chefs struggle with this when they first start out, and once they have been working with clients for a while they still aren’t always sure about their fees.

Two things I know you shouldn’t be doing to determine your fees are the following:

  • Looking around to see what other personal chefs charge in your area and then charging the exact same thing
  • Starting with very low fees just to get business quickly with the thought that you will gradually raise your rates as you get more clients and more experience

Here’s why you don’t want to do the above-mentioned things to set your prices.  You are a unique person with unique talents and training when it comes to being a personal chef.  Who you are, what you offer and how you offer your services will be different from someone else.  Therefore, what you charge should be different.

In addition, it is important for you to know what YOU want to make and what YOU need to earn in order to achieve your financial goals.  You can’t simply look at what someone else is charging and copy it to be sure you have set your pricing right for yourself.

If you charge very low fees, you will soon feel resentful of the business you do get because you won’t feel like you are being compensated fairly.  Additionally, lower fees convey lower value just what you don’t want to convey.  The kinds of clients you attract with low fees are less likely to be your ideal clients, and if you work with them, you won’t have room in your schedule for clients who will pay you what you are worth.

So how do you come up with a price to charge?  Take a look at this simple method:

Step #1:  Set a Revenue Goal for the Year and Make it 50% Higher Than What You Made the Year Before

That’s right.  I want you to stretch yourself.  At this stage don’t worry about how you will achieve this goal.  By setting your sites higher, you are psychologically removing the mental cap you may have on how much money you can make.  Once you remove the mental cap on your income, you can open yourself up to new ideas on how you can reach that financial goal.

If you are just starting out, set your revenue goal for the year by adding together your monthly household expenses, estimated business expenses plus some amount more so that you have extra cash to do with as you please then set a yearly earnings amount based on this figure.

Step #2:  Divide by 12 to Get Your New Monthly Earnings

With a clear yearly earnings goal now in your mind, you will tend to make different and better decisions about what you should work on in your business and the actions you should take.  Remember that to achieve any goal, you must be able to visualize it first.  You will attract what you focus your attention on especially if you take actions that support your vision too.

Step #3:  Use Your Monthly Earnings to Determine Your Business Building Actions

Now, it’s time for you to sit down and figure out what you need to do to achieve your monthly goals.  How many networking events do you attend?  How many consults or assessments do you need to give?  Can you raise your prices?  What about possible passive income streams?  You need to come up with a plan that makes it possible for you to achieve your new financial goals.

And what if you don’t achieve your new financial goals using this strategy?  It may happen, but I am willing to bet that by taking the above steps, you will generate more income than you would have otherwise because you will be taking more high-payoff actions that will attract more clients and opportunities on a regular basis.

Cool Tool to Convince Prospects You Are Not a Luxury

Are you tired of seeing jaws drop when you tell someone how much you charge?  Does it irk you when people automatically assume that a personal chef works only for the rich and famous?  Do you feel like you are ready to throw in the towel the next time you hear the words “I can’t afford it”?

Don’t panic if this sounds like you and don’t even consider lowering your prices.  Lowering your prices is not the solution.  You aren’t charging too much for your services no matter what you hear people saying, but you may not be conveying your value effectively.

Let me share with you a very hands-on tool to help your prospects see your value for themselves so that their jaws don’t drop in shock when you tell them how much you charge.

Here’s What You Can Do So They Understand Your Value

Before you share what you charge, I suggest you take your prospects through the following short exercise.

Step #1Ask your prospects the following questions and have them fill in the answers.

How much do you spend on groceries per week? $140
How much do you spend on dining out per week? $175
Total Food Expenses per week $315

You may also want to ask your clients to tally up the cost of the food they throw away because they didn’t use it in time.

Step #2Have your prospects identify how much time it takes to cook, clean dishes, and food shop each week.

Driving time to/from food store each week 1 hr
Time to food shop 2 hrs
Time to prepare dinner 5 hrs
Time to clean dinner dishes 1.5 hrs
TOTAL Time Spent on Food Preparation 8.5 hrs/w

 

Step #3Once they have established the time they spend on food preparation, ask them what they are going to do with this new-found, free time.  Are they going to spend it going to a painting class, gardening, spending more time with their children, or getting a massage?  Your job is to uncover their deepest desires.  What will make their lives fantastic!

Step #4 Have them put a value on their time.  Is this extra time worth $100, $250, $500, $1,000?  Or maybe the extra time is priceless!  Let’s say they choose $250.  That means they would be willing to spend $250 to get those extra hours of time.  Add this to your Total Food Expenses for the week to get $565.  Now when you tell them how much you charge for your services, jaws are a lot less likely to drop.

By getting your prospects actively involved in this process, they are much less likely to react to your prices in a knee jerk, negative way.  They will be able to truly understand your value on a much deeper level, and they will be able to clearly see what having the extra free time will do for them.