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Mary Ellen Bates
Bates Information Services, Inc.
8494 Boulder Hills Dr.
Niwot, Colorado 80503 USA
Tel: 303.772.7095
[email protected]
Skype: Mary.Ellen.Bates
by Mary Ellen Bates
Bates Information Services
"My Clients Can't Afford Me!"
One of the most common concerns I hear from my business coaching clients is "My clients can't afford my hourly rate." My response, as uncomfortable as it may feel, is "Then it's your job to find a client base that can." Yes, I know it's hard to find new clients now but, you know, it's never really been easy to find clients. In fact, when the economy is flush, organizations tend to in-source their information analysis needs; right now there are more clients than usual who are staff-poor and information-needy.

If you aren't seeing any revenue that you can attribute to your marketing efforts, the problem isn't that there aren't any good clients -- it's just that the well-paying clients haven't heard of you yet. If your prospective clients gasp when they hear your estimate, you have learned a useful lesson -- you are not talking to people who are part of your client base. No harm; you simply need to pivot and determine another approach that enhances your profile and reputation with people who have both the need for your high-end services and the ability to pay for them.

Since the majority of even the best group of prospects will still not need you right this minute, you cannot count on contacting prospects one at a time to solicit their business. Rather, your mission is to identify the clients who have a high need for the analysis and insights that you provide, and who have a budget to support that need. Then you spend your marketing time arranging to get in front of large numbers of those people, repeatedly, in ways that clearly demonstrate your value. That means speaking at their conferences, writing for their industry and association publications, blogging and writing newsletters, developing your reputation as a thought-leader, and demonstrating (not just talking about) your skills in approaching a project strategically and creatively.

I encourage you to pause for a moment, look at the groups you have been marketing to, and consider the number and quality of the projects you can attribute to each of your marketing activities. If you don't have any jobs to show for your efforts, AND you believe you have done the best job you possibly could with that approach, then it's time to move on to something new. There are clients out there who can pay you well for your talents. Here's your chance to build more effective strategies for finding those clients.

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