TFYW#053: Finding Your 1st or 25th Client

Sep 15, 2023

This week, I want to get into the proven system of landing your 1st or 25th client.

But first –

Today’s Tactic

One of the biggest drivers for satisfaction of your firm’s talent is whether their work challenges them and is improving their skills.

Good talent sees working for you as a way to earn for today and learn skills to earn more in the future.

If your skilled talent is stuck doing administrative or low-value accounting work, they’re earning today but losing earning potential for the future.

Small firms hesitate to hire admin team members and simply push the admin work onto their core team.

This saves them $1,000 – $2,000/month, eliminating admin staff, but costs them $15,000 – $25,000/month, as they waste firm capacity on low-value work.

Not a good trade, in my opinion.

The questions remain – where do I find good VAs, and how do I hire them?

You can check out my conversation with Nathan Hirsch from Outsource School about leveraging fractional or full-time offshore Virtual Assistants.

Outsource School offers detailed playbooks to help hire, train and leverage VAs in your firm.

Get 30% of Outsource School’s playbook with the code: FirmNexus30

Purchase here:

Getting The Perfect Picture

After three years at a Big4, I finally qualified to get a professional headshot paid for by the firm.

When I arrived on the planned day, the photographer explained his process to capture the perfect picture.

Instead of taking 10 – 15 individual shots, he would snap 30 pictures rapidly, all within 1.5 seconds.

Afterwards, I would review and pick one picture.

He confidently announced I would pick either picture # 16 or 17.

I looked at him in disbelief and then acknowledged the weird prediction.

He sat me down and positioned my body. He snapped the 30 pictures and we were done.

The whole process was less than 2 minutes.

I went to his computer to see if his prediction was correct. My posture in the first dozen pictures looked rigid. About picture #13 I started to relax.

In picture #16, I looked comfortable and natural.

About picture #20, my body relaxed too much and started to lose the confident, comfortable position.

I ended up picking # 17. The photographer was right on the money.

What he did wasn’t groundbreaking, but I want to highlight a few details.

One: The photographer had refined his process to get exactly what he wanted. He had dialled in his process to know the results before we started.

Two: His method used tech to leverage volume to get the quality that we wanted. He could have taken 15 separate pictures and arrived at the same result. However, every individual picture would have taken at least 5X the time of the single 1.5 second multi-shot.

His intentional process was built for predictability and speed.

Landing Clients

A few weeks ago, I exchanged messages with a new firm owner about buying vs. building their firm.

One final barrier for him to building a firm was getting those first few clients:

Getting those first few clients can be hard. Getting good clients at any stage takes effort.

Sometimes, we get in our own way about what we must do – but it’s not our fault.

Prevalent old firm methods can anchor our actions. We may see referrals or word of mouth as our only options.

We need to look to new firm methods which are proactive, predictable and faster.

Whether trying to find your 1st or 25th client, you must organize and understand the steps to get one new client.

Your process won’t be perfect initially, but it will evolve as you determine what works best.

Like the photographer, the process doesn’t have to be groundbreaking, but it needs to understand the constraints and leverage tech to do more with less time and effort.

Steps In The Process

I posted this graphic on LinkedIn two days ago:

It may take 300 – 500 new connections to get 5 new clients. As you refine your process, your numbers will improve.

Once you break down the daunting end goal of finding one client into actionable steps and systems, the end goal is digestible.

The steps together are a typical sales funnel. Each step pushes people to do one thing to help them progress.

Not every person will progress the same, and most connections and contacts will never become clients.

I used to worry about converting EVERY SINGLE PROSPECT. Each sales call was nerve-racking, and I ended up saying yes to everyone and every nuanced request they had.


If you don’t remember anything else from this week’s newsletter, remember this:


You can pour energy into one of two options:


1. Converting every prospect and then making your firm work for their needs, or


2. Building a pipeline that will deliver ideal clients that will work for your firm.


Each option requires work, but option 2. is scalable and significantly more profitable.

1. Connect With People

This may seem primitive, but we’re simply not doing it enough. You must increase your pool of connections as much as possible to get the volume you want for the rest of the funnel steps.

There are only four ways to connect with people:

1. Cold Outreach – Examples: Meeting people at a networking event or conferences. Sending direct messages (DMs) or emails to people.

2. Warm Outreach – Examples: Attending a referral network group consistently. Asking current clients for referrals or talking to friends and family.

3. Post Content – Examples: Posting on LinkedIn daily or running a podcast. Running webinars or mini-workshops.

4. Run Paid Ads – Examples: Running FB/Instagram, Youtube or LinkedIn ads. Paying for sponsorship for large newsletters or podcasts.

Now remember, technology is your friend. DMing people is a cold one to-one exercise, whereas a paid ad is a cold one-to-many exercise. Paid ads will exponentially increase your coverage area compared to messaging people.

2. Turn Connections Into Contacts

Whatever connecting method you use, you need ways to convert connections to contacts. A connection becomes contact when they give you their email or phone number.

An email address is the gold standard for a contact. You can plug that email into your CRM and get in front of them repeatedly to deliver value.

Getting people in your CRM online requires you to put various funnel entry points on your website and social platforms and then direct people to those entry points.

I have an email sign-up Call To Action (CTA) on every social platform, similar to what I have on LinkedIn.

I also have lead magnets on my website that provide value to interested connections in exchange for their emails.

Again, technology is your friend. An automated sales funnel with multiple entry points will help you increase the volume of prospects you’ll need to land ideal clients.

3. Turn Contacts Into Prospects

Now that you have contacts in your funnel and are nurturing them with consistent value, you want to introduce a Call to Action for them to book a call.

Attaching a link in your content that leads to your calendar is a low barrier to meeting with them.

If you want to see how easily this system could be installed in your firm, book a Clients On Automation Call.

I have a few spots left next week.

Again, technology is your friend. You can set up a Calendly link to allow people to pick a time that works for them without the back-and-forth of an email tennis match.

4. Turn Prospects Into Clients

This step is the least automated part of the process.

Converting a client takes a thorough discovery of your prospect’s problems and matching them to your solutions.

For me, a successful call consists of two parts:

  1. Landing the sale (obviously), and
  2. Helping my prospect make a decision.

If you are selling high-value services (advisory, tax consulting, etc.) you want the client to say yes to you AND commit to the action required of them.

Compliance work requires little client action other than providing information and documents. Essentially, all decisions have been made.

The transactions are done and we are just accounting for them.

Advisory helps clients with decision-making, mitigating risk and embracing trade-offs. A good discovery call gets them to acknowledge that your role is to help them make hard decisions to get past their problems. If you can’t get to them to make a decision, your engagement won’t last long.

That’s it for today. I hope this helped you formulate your plan of attack for finding good new clients.

Build The Firm You Want.


P.S. Email with something that you want me to talk about. I’ll add it to the list. 

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