Start with the “know”
One of the most persistent questions I hear—especially as it relates to new professionals looking to expand their businesses—is where to begin finding great clients.
And it just makes sense! Whether you’re new to business, or you’re looking to expand on your experience, the hunt for high-quality clients never seems to end. In fact, I struggled with the same issue when I first started my entrepreneurial journey. I remember the agony of mornings spent picking up my phone not knowing whom to call, and afternoons filled with hoping an email would pop up with a client ready to spend millions of dollars with me.
Needless to say, those emails never came.
This struggle is always real, but it’s worse when you’re brand-new to your line of work. It’s ironic that the concept of building a healthy database is often missed by professionals at all levels of experience, and yet a powerful database is foundational to success. I don’t care what line of work you’re in, the truth never fails: your ability to stay in business and grow your influence stems directly from the health of your database.
So you might be wondering, “what determines a healthy database?” I believe that three areas of focus can equip you to establish or refine your database.
Know the components of a proper database
The starting point for this process is an understanding of what a database actually is: a collection of relationships, and an understanding of how those relationships may link to your work.
I have often heard professionals talk about your database being a CRM, but in reality these are two different terms. A CRM, or Customer Relationship Management tool, is a software or app that allows you to sort, tag, and categorize the relationships that you know. While CRMs and databases are both vital, they are not the same. The reason we must begin with this distinction is that a misunderstanding here can already set you on the wrong path.
All too often I see professionals hop on the bandwagon of the “next great app” or flashy new CRM software as a bandage for their lack of results, when in reality they should be focusing on building relationships first.
If you are just starting out, I strongly recommend that you go through your phone and social media, and pull every single name you see into one, centralized location. Obsessed Academy has essential resources that you can access to help sort those relationships and map income-producing opportunities in your network, but step number one is assembling this list.
While it might seem simple, these two steps—assembling your list and knowing the definition of a database versus a CRM—are the foundation for all future network development. Think of it this way: it’s impossible to begin a road trip without having gas in your car. Your knowledge of the people that exist in your network, and your understanding of how you can track your professional relationship, form the “gas” that will keep your business running.
Keep in mind that networking one’s personal relationships is not the same as selfishly mining them for whatever they can do for you. Rather, it’s the creation and nurturing of an awareness of where you can start. We’ve all had in our lives those “special” people that we never hear from unless they want to sell us something; that is emphatically not what I’m advocating here. A solid database is not a means for roping one’s friends and family into buying something, but rather it’s a starting point for building a web of connected relationships that will branch farther and farther the longer you build your business. Obsessed Academy can help you in this process.
Know the difference between an “appreciative” and “depreciative” client
This is key. If you’ve been in business for any period of time, you likely know about the difference between an appreciative and depreciative client. Even if you haven’t heard these terms before, I’m sure you’ve had experience with both types of people.
An appreciative client is a client that’s excited to work with you. Appreciative clients transact business with very little friction, and fuel you instead of drain you. Appreciative clients are those individuals whom you’re excited to work with because the experience is typically of high quality. It is every professional’s goal to be working with appreciative clients.
In contrast, a depreciative client is a client that drains you in every way. Depreciative clients do not care about you as a person, and often believe that the reason you exist as a professional is to be at their beck and call. They give you anxiety when they contact you, and create stress when you work with them. In fact, working extensively with these individuals makes you question why you are even in that career in the first place! Does that sound like someone you’ve encountered previously? If the answer is no, chances are you haven’t spent much time yet in your industry.
It’s a fact that you will experience both types of clients over the course of your career, and as your book of business grows, you will likely deal with both types throughout any given day.
A basic understanding of an appreciative client and a depreciative one is vital to your sustainability as a professional. I fundamentally believe that one of the reasons some professionals end up hating their job is that they spend too much time with clients who don’t respect them and don’t appreciate their hard work.
If no one has told you this, allow me to be the first. You deserve to spend your time with people who appreciate you. Stop sacrificing what you need for people who don’t care.
I made a commitment years ago to choose to work with appreciative clients instead of depreciative clients, and I encourage you to do the same.
Know the importance of time, energy, and resources
I deeply believe that time, energy, and resources are the three tools that every professional uses when serving clients—and you have a unique way in which you apply your time, energy, and resources. Your personal approach to using these tools may be the reason that a client chooses to work with you instead of with your competitor. As I mention in our referral masterclass on OA+ Online, “you can commoditize your professional actions, but you cannot commoditize your humanity.”
You must understand that these tools are finite. They can only be applied to a specific number of people—and up to a specific capacity—each day. This is one of the reasons I specified the importance of only spending your time with appreciative clients: if you’re constantly pouring into someone whose only reaction is to continue taking from you, you’re going to feel as if your work has little meaning. I lived this life for years before I committed to “only be looking for people who are looking for me,” and my work shifted positively after I stood my ground on core values, core accountability, and commitment to those who respected how I worked as a professional.
With regard to your database, your time needs to be protected. In the “Bulletproof Databases” masterclass, we specifically break down the rhythms that will keep your focus on your income-producing clients. A fantastic first step is to ensure that you’re living and dying by your calendar. Everything—from date night to the gym—should be in your calendar and protected.
For high energy, you can take a few immediate steps to protect your mindset and physical well-being—we all know these steps are vital, but busy professionals often fall into the trap of cutting corners in three fundamental areas:
1. Sleep. As simple as it sounds, please get some rest. I’ve lived the “hustle all day” grind, and once I started protecting my 6-8 hours of sleep, my ability to stay agile and run at a fast pace in my work shot through the roof.
2. Eat well. Fast food and cola don’t do anything for you in the long run. Now, I’m not one of those people who will judge those who want an occasional French fry. (I mean, come on. Whataburger is sometimes just too good to pass up.) But what you eat is directly connected to your earning potential. Seriously! If you’re constantly grabbing the next snack and managing the highs and lows of an unhealthy diet, you’ll end up having to manage the highs and lows of unhealthy profits.
3. Get a proper amount of exercise. It’s scientifically proven that body movement and physical activity are directly related to your productivity, ability to focus, and energy levels throughout the day. Exercising does not mean that you need to go run a marathon every morning before 5 am, but you should do something, and ensure that your “something” is done daily. I align myself with this thought: “if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing daily.” And exercise is no exception.
And finally, your resources are the professional tools—tangible and intangible—that you use for providing a service or selling a product. Tangible tools are obvious: your computer, phone, apps, supplies, and so on. Intangible tools have the power to make or break you. Of the many intangible tools at your disposal—and we elaborate on intangibles in OA+ online—one of the most important is your professional referral network. A crucial component of your work as opposed to that of another individual is the strength of your professional relationships, so make sure you’re taking time to build rapport with others who are connected to your work. It’s a sign of an accomplished and seasoned pro when one of the value propositions is, “I can get this deal done, because I have an amazing relationship with the professional on the other side of this transaction.”
Now build your “bulletproof database”
This topic is so important that it’s impossible to contain all of the important details you need in just one blog post. That’s why we’re proud to have just released the next course in Obsessed Academy Online, “Bulletproof Databases.” In “Bulletproof Databases,” you’ll learn how to identify advocates in your network, quickly build a pipeline of supporters and high-value individuals (even if you’re starting from scratch), and establish a scalable system that you will be able to step out of one day, and still have it run.
In this 4-part, 17-video series, you will bring all of this information together to build a map of your relationships, and bring total clarity to where the income-producing opportunities lie in your network. Gone are the days where you’ll be wondering if someone is right for your business, and ahead are the days where you will build business through advocate-level, profit-rich relationships.
To learn more about “Bulletproof Databases” and start earning the money you deserve through high-quality experiences, click the button below.