Someone from the 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success Facebook group recently asked:
“How do I land and keep rockstar VA clients?”
Or put another way – how do I find my ideal clients, get them to hire me and then make sure they don’t fire me? 😉
It’s a great question, don’t you think? As I was thinking about how to best answer it, I came up with this seven-step process to landing and keeping VA clients.
Take a look and let me know what you think in the comments!
Step 1: Know Who You’re Targeting
The first thing you need to do to build a successful (and enjoyable) VA biz is to know who your ideal clients actually are.
Another term for an ideal client is “target market.” If I were to ask you, who your target market is, would you have an answer?
If not, you have a problem on your hands.
Why? Well, if you don’t know who you want to work with – what kind of businesses you enjoy partnering with, what personality types you gel with, etc. – it’s kind of hard to find prospects to pitch.
Action step: Take the next 5-10 minutes to brain dump target market (or ideal client) attributes.
Know who you want to work with, but not sure what to offer them?
Step 2: Find Prospects in Your Target Market
So now that you know who your ideal clients are, it should be easier to go and find them.
But where? There are tons of ways to market for clients included in my course, but here are a few just off the top of my head to get you started:
- Tap into your network.
- Go to in person networking events.
- Use social media to your advantage.
- Check out bid or agency sites.
- If all else fails, rely on Google!
Action step: Use the above five methods (and any others you know/find) to find 3-5 small business owners in your target market to offer your services to.
Step 3: Court Your Ideal Clients
Most people want to go in for the kill when they find potential clients to pitch.
But if they’re your ideal client, you might want to take a step back and court them first. Follow them on social media, join their email list and get to know them a bit.
Once you have them in your sights, start interacting with them and take notes on things that stick out to you – it could be personal details about them/their family or opportunities you spot in their business.
What attracts you to them and how do you feel like you could help them? Trust me, these notes will come in handy!
Action step: Choose one of the prospects from your list and start cyber stalking them. Don’t be creepy, just compile info and interact as appropriate to get on their radar.
Step 4: Make Your Pitch Valuable
Here’s the fun part! Now you get to actually reach out and pitch your services, asking to be hired.
Hopefully by now you’re somewhat on their radar and you have an understanding of their business and potential needs within it. If you’re not/don’t, revisit step three.
When you craft your pitch (basically an email or video introducing yourself and offering your services), use the research you’ve compiled to your advantage. Make a connection right off the bat using personal details you’ve gathered about your prospect. Use the business needs/opportunities that you’ve found to make an offer they can’t refuse.
Here’s the key to this process – find a way to bring value to your ideal customer in your pitch. It could be giving them some sort of service you offer for free.
If you’re a Pinterest VA for example, you might create a customized pin based on their branding for their most recent blog post. If you’re a copywriter, try rewriting a key paragraph on a sales page. Step outside the box and think of what you can do to offer your ideal client a taste of what you can bring to the table.
Will this take time? Yep and it’s time that you won’t get paid for. But if they’re really your dream client, in my book it’s 100% worth it!
Because even if they don’t need your services, maybe they know someone that does. And becoming referable should be a high priority of yours.
Don’t do free work for EVERY pitch you prepare to send out – instead save your secret sauce (weapon?) for the big fish you want to land.
Action step: Figure out what your free sample is based on the services you offer and who you offer them to. Then create it and include it in your pitch to the ideal client you’ve decided on above. PRESS SEND!
Step 5: Start with a Trial
I’m a HUGE fan of beginning a new client relationship on a trial basis.
Why? You get to choose them as much as they get to choose you and if one of you isn’t digging the relationship, it’s better to know earlier than later.
And a trial (two weeks is a good time frame) is a great way to figure that out.
Trial periods also present an opportunity to test out your rates when offering a new service. I.e. It’s MUCH easier renegotiating after a two-week trial, than it is a month or two into a new client relationship that didn’t start with one.
So give yourself a potential out in case your new client didn’t pan out the way you thought. And give yourself a milestone checkpoint to renegotiate rates/responsibilities as needed.
Action step: Start your next new client relationship off on a trial period.
Step 6: Check in Early and Often
One mistake many virtual assistants make is not checking in with their clients to ensure they’re delivering the service the client is looking for.
I think it either completely slips their mind or they’re too scared to ask. If it’s the former, you need to find a way to build it into your process. If it’s the latter, you need to buck up buttercup.
Checking in is essential in building a relationship with a new client. It’s the perfect time to ask for feedback, make applicable changes and knock their socks off with how easy it is to work with you/how much value you bring to the table.
Here’s the truth – most clients are SUPER busy. That’s why they hired you. So make the check ins simple for your client and deliver them in a manner appropriate for their business or style. I.e. Maybe they prefer email or Slack. Or maybe they’re a phone person or love hopping on Skype.
Over time your check ins can get fewer and farther in between. Just make sure that you leave the door to communication open!
Action step: Map out a check in schedule for new clients going forward. Make sure to note the frequency and medium(s) you will use too!
Step 7: Make Yourself Irreplaceable
Making yourself irreplaceable is how you’ll keep rockstar VA clients.
How do you go about this? Well, multiple ways really. Here are four that immediately come to mind for me:
- Deliver the best service you can.
- Know your client well.
- Make them feel special.
- Bring additional value to the relationship.
Delivering the best service you can should be a no-brainer, right? Just in case it’s not, make sure that you’re delivering what you’ve promised, continue improving your skill set to offer better (or more) services and make sure your process is crystal clear for your client.
Knowing your client comes down to knowing their preferences. Things like how they prefer to communicate or little details like how they sign off an email or word choices if you’re offering email management, for example.
Making them feel special is basically your personal touch. I like to find out my client’s birthdays, for example and send them a personalized gift based on what I know about them. It could also be asking about a special event (say they’re having a baby or training for a marathon) that has nothing to do with their business.
Lastly, try to bring additional value to the relationship. This could end in you upselling your services or just bringing something to your client’s attention that’s important to the health or growth of their business. This will look different for each relationship, but if you know your client’s business and continue to keep its pulse, then it’s just a matter of time before you spot a process that could be improved or an area of opportunity for them!
Basically, get REALLY good at what you do, learn as much as you can about your clients, personalize your relationship and try to bring additional value when you can. Do these four things and I promise, you won’t be going ANYWHERE anytime soon!
Action step: Think about what can make you irreplaceable. Are there systems you can put in place in your own business to collect information about your clients? How can you take your service to the next level?
If you were unsure how to find and keep rockstar VA clients, you shouldn’t be anymore!
Know who your ideal clients are, find out where they’re hiding out, stalk them a bit, make them an irresistible offer, start your relationship with a trial, check in early and often and make yourself irreplaceable. Do these seven steps and your budding virtual assistant business will be booming in no time!
Like the way I teach and hold you accountable via action steps? Then you’ll LOVE 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success!