Finding Clients

Episode 33: Finding Clients, with Samantha Hartley

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Finding clients is the best way to grow your agency. In this podcast with Samantha Hartley, learn the ideal approach to finding clients.

Finding clients? Samantha Hartley works with consultants who are ready to break through the plateau and MULTIPLY their revenues. Samantha helps them multiply their revenues without exhaustion by finding clients who will work on transformational engagements so their consultancies can be profitable and joyful.

It’s not unusual for Samantha’s clients to add $150,000-$600,000 in their first year working with her, (Other results include crossing the million-dollar mark; turning a $22K offer into a $200K engagement, and adding $400K to a contract in just 24 hours).

Samantha is a sought-after guest and the host of the Profitable Joyful Consulting podcast and Facebook group.

Before starting her consulting business, Samantha worked in international marketing for The Coca-Cola Company. She lives on Martha’s Vineyard with her husband and four children.


What you will learn about in this episode of finding clients:

  • Samantha’s framework for growing your consulting business joyfully and profitably – by finding clients with confidence
  • Why Samantha believes running your consultancy joyfully is not optional for a flourishing and fulfilling business
  • How Samantha helps her clients avoid overpaying subcontractors with smart value-based pricing
  • The magnitude of finding clients who are right-fit, as well as next level clients
  • Samantha’s methodology for achieving significant revenue growth momentum to break through plateaus
  • Ways to get intentional about client engagements
  • Why it is crucial for profitability to get out of a financial comfort zone and revise ideas concerning earning potential



Finding Clients: Full Episode Transcript


Finding clients can be challenging. But with the recipe we’ll be sharing here in this podcast, everything will be a breeze!


Welcome to the Sell with Authority podcast. I’m Stephen Woessner, CEO of Predictive ROI. And my team and I, we created this podcast specifically for you. So if you’re an agency owner, a business coach, or a strategic consultant and you’re looking to grow a thriving, profitable business that can weather the constant change that seems to be our world’s reality, well then you’re in the right place.


Do you want proven strategies for attracting a steady stream of well-prepared, right fit prospects into your sales pipeline? Yep. We’re going to cover that. You want to learn how to step away from the sea of competitors so you actually stand out on the ground you’re standing on. Yeah, we’re going to cover that, too. Do you want to future-proof your business so you can navigate the next challenges that come your way?


Well, absolutely. We will help you there, too. I promise you, each episode of this podcast will contain valuable insights and tangible examples of best practices, not theory from thought leaders, experts, and owners who have done exactly what you’re working hard to do. So I want you to think practical and tactical. Never any fluff. Each of our guests have built a position of authority and then monetized that position by claiming their ground, by growing their audience, by nurturing leads and, yes, converting sales.


But all the while, they did it by being helpful. So every time someone from their audience turned around there, they were given a helpful answer to an important question. So their prospects never, ever felt like a prospect. I also promise you every strategy we discuss, every tool and framework we recommend will be shared in full transparency in each episode.


Learn more about finding clients by checking out Samantha’s blog here.


Finding Clients: Samantha Hartley’s Introduction


So you can take it. Plant your flag of authority, claim your ground, and then fill your sales pipeline with a steady stream of refer clients who, again, never ever were made to be feeling like, What are your prospects? Okay, so I am super excited for you to meet our very special guests today. Samantha Hartley, In case you’re meeting Samantha for the first time, she’s the founder of Enlightened Marketing, where she and her team help consultants multiply revenue without exhaustion in a manner that.


Samantha is also the host of the profitable, Joyful Consulting podcast and the convener of the profitable Joyful Consulting Facebook group. So one of Samantha’s areas of expertise and why I was so excited that she said yes is in helping consultants see who is what she calls a perfect client for their business. Because if we don’t get the WHO right, everything else downstream tends not to matter so much.


And as you know, here at Predictive, we’re big fans of working alongside right fit clients and avoiding the wrong fits. So I’m really looking forward to learning from Samantha how she helps her clients reach that goal. Because understanding the WHO, again, is a critical first step to becoming an authority in any niche. But once your perfect fit client is identified, it doesn’t mean you’re where you want to be in your business.


In terms of revenue growth and momentum. Oftentimes it’s so easy to get stuck. To get stuck at a plateau and getting unstuck can be incredibly frustrating. And it’s frustrating because you know that there’s more growth out there, but sometimes there’s a lot of uncertainty around how best to pursue it. So Samantha and I, are going to talk through some of the strategies and tactics that she helps her clients take and apply so they can break through the plateaus, so they can also multiply revenue and how she helps them do that joyfully and profitably.


Okay. So without further ado, welcome to the Sell with Authority podcast. Samantha Thank you so much for having me. Stephen. Thank you for saying yes. my gosh. I was giddy when you said yes because I knew we’re going to have this great conversation around the right fit or in your words, the perfect fit and then plateaus and breaking past those.


Improve your approach to finding clients by listening to “Episode 71: How to Speak the Same Language as Your Clients, with Kathryn McGarvey”


Finding Clients: Being Invested on The Business You’re Starting


And then, as you and I talked about in the green room, it’s not just about selling more or selling larger engagements. It’s about being able to do that joyfully using your words joyfully and profitably. Because selling like the story that you have on your website, it’s only a $250,000 engagement. Sounds awesome, but when the dust settles and you didn’t make anything, not so awesome, right?


It’s not awesome—not awesome at all. Yeah, it’s got to be profitable and joyful. And I think a lot of us know that business should be profitable, but being joyful is not optional to me. Most of my clients come from corporate or large family-owned businesses and mid-sized manufacturing places like that.


And we just kind of got to a point where we felt like it wasn’t the environment in which we could completely flourish. And so I think I would say if I want to be miserable, I’d go back to corporate. I want to be joyful in my business. And I feel like we should be joyful every single moment. Even when we’re doing hard things, we should still feel this kind of sense of fulfillment, like, I’m really being courageous right now.


I’m really pushing my limits right now. And so to me, that’s the measure of a business. It should also be joyful. But profitability is key. And that’s the place where, to me, sometimes it’s a question of ignorance. Like we don’t necessarily look carefully at our numbers, We don’t know our numbers when we’re jumping in. I do see a lot of people who are like you said, that the $250,000 engagement, you know, I can tell that story, but, you know, she ran into it, and then it wasn’t until the end that it was clear that there was no money made.


Right. Yeah. And then and then it’s obviously too late, at least at least for that particular engagement. Sure, it was. Yeah. That was just a $50,000 lesson. So, you know, just to begin with, a client called me. She said I did an assessment phase, which is what a lot of us are familiar with.


You go in for the client and they say, you know, come in, let’s check out what the deal is. We’re going to come up with a list of recommendations for you. You can either implement them yourselves or we’ll do it for you. So she did that and it was, you know, a $250,000 thing. Right? So it’s a big, big multi-phased assessment.


They go in there on site, they’re serving things. There are financial reviews, all of this kind of stuff. Well, she brought in a lot of subs to help her with this. She’s very much an expert in something and believes in working with experts. She’s working with a lot of experts who came in like senior leaders in the field. So as we know, the part of the story is they get the work, they recommend the client, the client loves it, and says do come in.


And she came to me and said, I didn’t make any money on the first part and now I need to propose. They want a proposal from me. How much should I charge for this given that I just made zero? So we’ll just break into reality briefly. The reason she didn’t make any money on it was because she was overpaying her subs.


Become an expert in finding clients by joining our open mic Q&A


Finding Clients: Working With the Right Consultants


So when we work with subcontractors, that is, we’re doing their marketing for them so they can’t charge us a retail number if someone comes to you and says, how much would you do this project for, you might say $10,000. But that’s well, let’s say if a client, if you acquired a client and you were going to charge them, let’s say 10,000.


But if somebody comes to you and says, I want to partner with you on this thing, you know, you might be willing to do it for less than that because you didn’t have to do sales marketing. And they’re handling all the admin and really you’re just going to come in and do your show, right? So they were not charging her that you did everything for us, right?


So that was the first thing. And classically I work with a lot of women consultants. Classically women will overpay their subs. They will take care of everybody else before they take care of themselves. And the idea of requesting from their subcontractors, a wholesale rate rather than a retail rate is just I don’t think it even registers for most people.


And in some cases they might feel kind of ashamed around doing that, like, Well, I’m bringing you the client, can you give me a better rate than that? So that was the first thing she had just heavily overpaid everyone. And I have a framework for how we distribute the work which accounts for you. If somebody else is doing the admin sales, marketing and also part of the delivery, thenwe don’t pay them the full rate of that.


So it’s really a revenue share model for how consultants can work. So this is the first piece. So she was thinking of going in and bidding 400,000 for this engagement and I talked to her about what it’s like. And I think a lot of us price things based on how it seems like that’s how much it should cost, right?


It seems like a lot of money, right? I love that. That’s a technical term there. Right. The problem feels like a lot of money. So when we get into value based pricing, you want to look at what’s the value that the client is going to receive. So when we looked at what this large organization was going to earn in revenues or save and costs because they were very dug into the financials, she could give me that number and it was like $35 million.


And so I said, Well, I think you should look at like three and a half million because it’s 10% of the total of this thing. Like, to me, that’s a benchmark number for what? For the realm of what this should be. So of course, her head exploded when I said that. And she said, Well, I don’t think I can do that.


And I said, Well, you probably can’t because they’re going to have you’re going to have alternatives. Competitors, I call them alternatives. There are alternatives who might not work, who might not charge that much money. But what’s the most you can imagine charging them for this? And she said 800,000. I was like, we’ll go with 800. So we doubled that rate and she sold that for 800.


Wow. And regulations. Exactly. So that’s the fastest I doubled. I made someone 800, 400,000 additional dollars on their other investment. She emailed the person the next day or that like night and the next day she said he accepted. So, you know, $800,000 from us. And in this case, it was profitable. I think two thirds of that is what she was able to keep when she redid the pricing on it.


Become an expert in finding clients by joining our open mic Q&A


Finding Clients: Structuring Your Revenue Splits with Other Consultants


Finding clients who are already knowledgeable in revenue management is a blessing. 


So okay, just to make sure I’m tracking with all the numbers here. So she went from $0 in profit for a $250,000 project. Yeah. Then it sounds like on an $800,000 project she was she one third went to cost of goods or subcontractors and then the other two thirds that went to income that she had then to run the rest of her business.


I mean, obviously it’s not like total profit, but it’s still pretty high. Profit was very high. It was a much higher profit than zero. Right, Amanda. Yeah, Significant. So to me this just speaks to the fact that a lot of people come into the consulting profession or and I know you work with other kinds of businesses.


A lot of us come into these businesses for ourselves and we feel like I’m doing the best I can with what I got. But there is something to know, and I think you do this as well. We’re introducing frameworks of like, there’s a way to pricing, there’s a way to figure out value-based pricing. There’s a way to structure revenue splits with other consultants.


There are ways to do all these things. Once you know about them, you can proceed to build your business with confidence. So a lot of people I work with, they’ll just be like, I just didn’t even think of doing that, right? Well, that is really, really significant. Big, big lessons here about well, I mean, there’s several in there, but but the cost of goods piece, I mean, that is such a killer, right?


It is such a killer when and so it sounds like your sort of bogey number, if you will, is 30% or less. You should not be paying more than 30% of the total project in cost of goods. My tracking with you. Totally, Totally. And I just you know, if you talk with any CFO who works with smaller sized businesses like us, that’s going to tell you the same thing.


33, 35 Like look at your team costs. And this is the same thing that happens that’s on a project basis for that particular engagement. But they’ll do this oftentimes in their business, where consultants will hire people full time to do things for them. And then that salary or those salaries will always get paid before they’re taking a salary for themselves.


Right. And I’m like, you don’t ever pay anybody when you can’t afford to pay yourself, right? It’s dangerous. Well, because that is the indication that you’re upside down on the project or projects or businesses. All this is going to be so much fun to dig even deeper into the numbers and a couple of other stories, because I know this is a gift of yours being able to multiply the revenue, but as you just illustrated, it’s being able to do that profitably, you know, because if she sold a $800,000 engagement, obviously, and the cost of goes were still messed up, then she’s not any further ahead.


She’s probably even more upset because she’s right. You know no money on 800,000. So let’s go back to the perfect client, perfect fit. And so when you’re sitting down with, let’s say maybe one of your new clients because they haven’t been through your framework and methodology yet. So how are you helping them step through and see who is perfect for them?


Improve your approach to finding clients by listening to “Episode 71: How to Speak the Same Language as Your Clients, with Kathryn McGarvey”


Finding Clients: Doing Your Best Can Be Profitable


Well, like you, I start with the who. I think it’s the first place because the biggest determiner of profit and joy in a business is who you work with, right? So it seems like, Well, yeah, I mean, but I can get along with people who are a little hard to get along with. It’s that they’re not going to be profitable.


So a perfect client is exactly what they need is exactly what you do that match, you’re calling it the right fit and I’m just calling it perfect. Same concept. Exactly. What they need is exactly what you do. And not only that, but they bring out. They’ll pull your genius through you. So they want the center of your gifts.


They pay a profit. They pay promptly. Yep. So joyfully on time is my language for that. I always say when I’m paying somebody who works for me, I should always feel excited about making that payment. And if I ever feel less than excited about a team member or a coach or somebody that I’m working with, I feel like there’s information in that.


So our clients should always pass joyfully in on time. So the way that I go to locate who that is I’m always like, What’s the closest thing that you’ve ever had to a perfect client? And if they’re Jewish, it can be an internal client at a place, you know, they were, you know, a lot of us were internal consultants at our corporations or, you know, we’re in advisory roles there.


Become an expert in finding clients by joining our open mic Q&A


Finding Clients: Idealizing Your Ideal Client and Making Them Perfect


So I like to bring it down to an avatar. Okay. Where we come up, where we look into the specifics of who that was. So what made one of mine is going to be Karen. So what made Karen so perfect? Well, she needed this, and that’s the center of my gifts. She has this particular demographic set, which is important for us to look at because we can’t find people without demographics.


It’s hard to search for psychographics just on their own. So demographics are going to be like, I work with management consultants, usually ex-corporate. They’re going to be usually in this age range, predominantly this like to get into those specifics. So if I look at Karen, I can pull that stuff out by her. She worked at these organizations.


She’s a member of these associations and I’ll just do a deep dive profile with them on the closest thing that they’ve ever had to a perfect client. And then we say, if they were more perfect, what would be true? And so now we’re starting to kind of idealize them and make them even more perfect. And then I want to be very expansive with that list.


At first. You can go on to a page and a half of qualities. For me, it’s like they think big about their businesses. They want to play, they want to be more visible. They want to play on a bigger stage. Their business does something good for their clients, their customers, their communities, and maybe even the world.


Become an expert in finding clients by joining our open mic Q&A


Finding Clients: Understand That Everyone Is Flawed but They Can Still Be Perfect


So those are the businesses that really motivate me to work with. So get all in there. They like my services so much, that they even fly me sometimes. They have offices and cool places all around the world. One of my clients loves jazz and great food, and so for her, one of the things on her perfect client list is they’re located in music cities or cities that have music festivals with good food.


You can put that on there like you create this thing. As we know if you make a goals list, it’s not a hippie woo-woo thing that your goals come to life because you look at them and you read them every day. So I have people make this list and then look at it and read it every single day.


So we shrink it down to its essentials. One time I got so frustrated with my client pool, that I said, okay, there’s one qualifier they implement. So that’s the thing that’s really important to me and that’s on my list. Compile that perfect client list and then read it every single day. Until you internalize that you’re going to want to read that thing every day.


This is going to sound elementary, but I but I’m sensing that there’s a story sort of why you said this first. I think it’s really profound how you said it. You said exactly what they need is exactly what you do. Why did you put that first? I’m being sincere. I do think it is very profound the way you said that, because that’s what perfect means.


Perfect doesn’t mean I love them. And they’re perfect people. You know, human beings are flawed. But what is perfect is about this alignment of things. Because when exactly what they need is exactly what you do, it is the explosion point of a profit. And joy Yeah. If they’re if they’re kind of off and a lot of us you know you talked about like not letting people like niching freaks people out because they’re like, my gosh, But I can help so many more people.


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Finding Clients: Make Your Clients Crave for Something You’re Really Good At


Yeah, you can. But what’s the center of your gifts? What’s your essential gift that when you do that like you are so amazing at that that nobody would go anywhere else? You can do it in the middle of your sleep. I call this your joy and genius zone. You’ll hear so much joy in my stuff.


Why is it the joy and genius? Because we know that the genius zone is the thing you’re great at that you could do all day long and, you know, maybe other people can do it, but it’s just like it’s just your gift and you’re doing it whether you think about it or not. And then your joy zone to me is the thing that gives you energy.


So I have genius zones that aren’t joy zones. So like, I don’t know, I’m like, I can write, for example, I’m a really strong writer, but it costs me energy to do so. I can’t do it a lot then. I can’t necessarily do that for my clients except in limited ways because it drains my energy. However, I can stand in the room with a flip chart and do brainstorming sessions all day long because that’s a genius on premise, pulling smart ideas out of pulling great ideas out of smart people.


Finding clients who are right-fit is something that I do. So that gives me energy. So think about what’s the thing that you rock out you’re so good at that your clients will be crazy not to have you do that. Now. What is that? The mirror image of that which is the need. So if you’re amazing at you know, you’ve talked about SEO, like I can really get people found and they’re like, Well, we can I get found?


You want to work with those clients because they’re going to think you are their dream come true because you are, and you’re going to be like, my gosh, these people think I’m a genius because I can do this thing, which for me is totally easy. A lot of times the thing that is your that is exactly what you do, that thing is the thing that you feel like I would do even if people wouldn’t pay me.


It’s so easy. Like really. Doing like letting everybody do that. So sometimes we’re immune to our superpowers and so it’s not obvious what that essential gift is. So have your perfect clients tell you that when you’ve worked with people and they’ve been amazing, you can say to ask is crazy. Question: Would you tell me what exactly was the biggest value that you took away from our work?


Become an expert in finding clients by joining our open mic Q&A


Finding Clients: Get Fired Up in Working with Your Clients


What’s the thing that I did for you that made the biggest difference? And they’re going to tell you that. And it can be crazy things like, you know, you had so much energy. My clients will tell me I just got fired up, which I translate to mean. And that empowered me and inspired me to go and implement. So that’s what happens.


A lot of times, people come in, and we’ll be like blah, blah, blah. And then I will work with them, and then they feel excited and then they can go and do the thing. Yeah. So that alignment of need and gift is. it’s the heart of profit and joy. In addition, it’s because it doesn’t cost you energy because you’re so great at it.


It’s profitable, right? It’s the thing that you should spend your days doing when you’re working with clients. Well, your question it does, because if we get smart about that, then the client engages, the way that we approach the engagements, never feel like, I have to do that again for this person. Exactly right. And it feels like a whole lot of not awesome.


It’s a whole lot of not awesome. And here’s the sad thing that can happen as you evolve in your business. And that’s frustrating because here’s the deal. It’s probably like you know, we’ve talked about our learning paths in the green room, like we are people who like to keep learning.


And when you’re a person, and my clients are too, because you’re like attracts like, you’re also going to attract ongoing learners to yourself. And I hope you do. I hope that I wish that for you. But people who are growth-oriented evolve. And that means that the stuff that you were doing in your business like five years ago, you probably don’t want to do anymore.


Become an expert in finding clients by joining our open mic Q&A


Finding Clients: Taking Things to The Next Level


So what’s really critical is for you to keep an eye on these things that have to be sustained, and for 20 years, I have done them, and I can do them every single day. I love this stuff. I don’t need that to change. The only thing I need to change is the people I’m doing. It is for. So it stays new and fresh and exciting.


Then there’s stuff that you’re like, I used to do that, and I’m just tired of it. We’ve evolved past it. So to me, and this is a cool thing that happens in your business, is when people will start showing up and they’ll seem like they’re perfect clients. But you’ll be like, I like an intimidating person. Like it seems like what they need isn’t exactly what you do.


And so what has happened, I call those next-level clients, they’re there to pull your next level of genius through you. So they come in, and they don’t, and they say, I want what you’re doing, like I’m attracted to you. I need what you’re doing and you’re feeling like I don’t think you have any problems. I don’t think anything’s broken.


And I don’t. I don’t seem like I’m not seeing my way in. And that means that they’re about to tell you about your future. They’re going to take you to the next level. So you do know the answers to those questions. You just haven’t been asked them yet, or you do know how to do that work you just haven’t been called to do at work.


I’ve watched that happen with my clients and me. So it’s a wonderful thing when somebody shows up and you feel like, I don’t know if I can do that work, but they keep thinking I can. That’s your next-level client and it shows you the next level of your business. Okay? So, that is probably a wonderful dovetail into this plateau piece, right?


And so is that the point that either they start showing up or you start kind of feeling like you’re stuck, but then you’re starting to see these things on the periphery and then we just have to decide, okay, am I going to allow myself to be pushed to take care of next level because I’m going to have to level up the business, but also maybe level up myself too?


Yeah, I love that idea. And the answer is maybe, But before we get to that, I’ll tell you what happens with plateaus, which is I think if more people knew this, it would maybe break this spell. A lot of people will plateau at the level of their corporate salary. So if I came out of, let’s say, Target, and I was a head buyer there, and I was being paid $350,000 a year, then the first I’ll grow my business, and then I’ll hit 350, and I will for some reason, 350 will just be this like plateau.


Improve your approach to finding clients by listening to “Episode 71: How to Speak the Same Language as Your Clients, with Kathryn McGarvey”


Finding Clients: Don’t Get Stuck at A Plateau. Be Smart About Turning Things Around


I won’t be able to get above it and it’ll be a mystery to me. And I will say, What? What’s most money ever made or with what? What was your corporate salary? 350. I’ll be like, Do you see how that number is your financial comfort zone? Except steer and revenue is not income, right? They’re like, How come I’m not making any money?


I’m making a bunch of money in my business, but I’m not making any money. I’m like, because that’s not what you bring home, right? We don’t bring that home right? So that’s one of the first kind of little Etch-A-Sketch eraser things we need to do, like you need to revise what you think about how much money you can earn.


I had a crazy thing happen with one guy who was making 500 and felt great about how he was doing in the business. And I said, what was it? But he was plateaued. And I said, what was your corporate salary before? And I think it was another one that was 350. And what he did with the business was he ran all his personal development through it, as we should write, because you’re an owner, and you want to grow yourself.


And so he never kept it and kept making 350. So even though the business seemed like it was higher, he managed to deduct from it so that it stayed at that number. So a question to ask yourself is, am I in a financial comfort zone? Whether it’s my old corporate salary or this is equal to the most I’ve ever made, or look at maybe what your parents made or your family, there is often meaning in a plateau.


Okay. So the second thing is sometimes like the baseball player who’s trying to get to 60 home runs in the season, they’re just stuck at 59. And it’s just, you know, sometimes it’s just a mindset thing. Now, let’s go back away from psychology and sports psychology and into work. When people are stuck at a plateau, it is very often because they will come to me and they’ll say, This is as hard as I can work.


I’m making this much money and it’s not what I want. Whether it’s 250 or 500 or a million, it can be like, This is as much as I can work, and I want to grow the business. But if one more dog and piece of business comes in, this whole house of cards is going to collapse and I’m going to end up in the hospital or something, Right?


So that’s this exhaustion piece. And this is also equating like, I don’t know how to do this more efficiently. So that’s very often a question of systems and being smart about things. However, it can very simply be that they need to charge higher prices and stop over-delivering. So, they need to figure out where they can find efficiency in delivery.


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Finding Clients: Extend The Duration of The Engagements


One of the fastest ways that I’ll help my clients to double their revenues is extending the duration of engagements. I am a business doing $250,000. I will look at if those are one offs. A lot of times they’re really successful, but they’ll have had like five clients and they’re these little bursts. So this thing for three months and this thing for six months and this thing for six weeks or whatever.


So they don’t have enough time to work. My deal with duration is that we talked about change earlier. In order to get sustainable change, you need to work for a certain duration because human habits don’t change. In a weekend workshop, we all know that, but they’re not changed in a six-week engagement. okay. Well, sure, we don’t.


We know that we’ve got about three months. I was in that corporation when those outside consultants came in and I was referred to as tax season, you know, when it’s tax season. And in the United States, other countries don’t seem to have this problem. We already have a full life and now have this huge project to prepare our taxes.


And you know what a pain in the neck that is. So that’s what it feels like when we come into organizations as coaches or consultants. They’re like, we’ve already got a whole full schedule, a whole full life here. And now you’re asking us to do a new thing. So if we do that, the longer we do that, and the longer we stay with them, the more it helps them to get sustainable change.


So I like long durations, and I mean when there are minimum engagements in a year because they help the changes stick. And the more you get results in your business, the more you’re going to get better business, right? Your reputation grows. You have these amazing case studies and all of those things, so I can double someone’s business immediately in that way, just looking at the duration that they’re spending on things now, is it hard to sell on a longer long term engagement as opposed to a six-week?


Become an expert in finding clients by joining our open mic Q&A


Finding Clients: Avoid Creating Barriers When Working with Your Client


Everything is as hard to sell as everything else, right? Isn’t that amazing, though, that we create these barriers to doing it right. And it isn’t because a client or prospective client said, Yeah, no, we’re not doing that. Sometimes we just invent these. Oftentimes we just invent the barrier. Exactly. Yeah. And we hold that in our minds before we go in.


So people will say, “Well, what if they say blah, blah, blah, blah?” Like, why would they say that? You know, make a good case? I worked with some clients and they had so they’re coming out of it. So it’s traditionally a charge by our profession and it was killing them because they were running up tens of hours for our particular client.


They couldn’t plan work with other clients because they couldn’t allocate that time around. And the work was like $50,000 a month. It was a big engagement, $50,000 one month, and then like 25 another and then 30. So it was like these are very, very streaky and they couldn’t plan it out. And so I said, Well, what’s the right way to do this where your team doesn’t get burned out during the work, doing the work, and then the client can absorb all of that and you can just never like it would be, we would do this much.


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Finding Clients: Communicate On What to Expect and Focus on The Results


And so we created packages for them. And the first one is a $480,000 package for this particular client because it was sometimes 50 and sometimes it and sometimes that. I was like, let’s just get it to 40 a month, which was their idea that was like this many resources for this much time and blah, blah, blah. So they went and, and so they said, what if the client says, How much is that by the hour?


I said, “And this is a money phrase. That’s not how we work a month.” And they just started saying that. And then guess what? The client says, okay, or they didn’t even ask the question. They didn’t even ask the question properly. So then you have three choices where the client has three choices. Either they can say, okay, and they start to work with you.


They can say, All right, we’re going to go with somebody else, or they can do it themselves. We know most of them will do nothing. So, in this case, the client was like, yay, why? Why does this serve the client? Because they don’t, they don’t care how many hours you spend. They just want the work done and they want the results of the work being done, right?


Yeah, exactly. Exactly. By the way, that was a client that doubled their revenues because they went from charging hourly and having to do all this like time tracking and itemizing and all that nonsense to just doing flat rate. And they immediately that was, that was another one where we did a VIP day, which means like a hunkered down two-day thing and then they went and sold immediately.


A for 80. Yeah. It’s just amazing because especially when we are overly price sensitive clients not we are self-imposed and then we get in the in the trap or sort of quicksand of, well, I got to have more deliverables, I got to add more stuff, I got to add more this, this, this and that. To your point about over-delivering or not, and we need to focus on the result outcomes, and however we get there, you’re the expert client who just wants the result outcomes right.


Yeah and just communicate, just talk them through it so they know what to expect. But no, they don’t want more stuff. And again, like I’m working with mostly management consultants who are working with corporate or again like a family of businesses, but large businesses where they so totally don’t want more stuff, they don’t want more meetings. Another way that you can increase your profitability is to default to half hour meetings.


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Finding Clients: Make Every Meeting Count by Showing Results


Finding clients can be difficult if you don’t have the results to show.


Gosh. my gosh. What? Every meeting doesn’t have to be an hour but with the client. What about the client? They’re going to want to know the world. They’re going to feel a little rough. No. Do you know what the client wants? The client wants time available on their own calendar. Right? They don’t don’t we want to simultaneously do two things.


We want to, like, addict them to us to where they like seeing us. They get used to seeing us coming in with that, like an ongoing cadence because we’re going to be in there for like a year working. But they don’t want to have a bunch of time with you. They want to see results happening, but that doesn’t mean they need to be with you.


So half an hour is, I think, really refreshing. Yeah, it’s amazing. And sometimes when we zip through an agenda more efficiently than maybe what we expected and we say, you know, maybe it’s a 20-minute on a 60-minute block. Right. But I love your advice on the 30 minutes. We’ll say if there’s nothing else to cover, then we’ll just 40 minutes back into your day like sometimes I think like they hear maybe angels singing, right?


Because it’s like, wow, I get 40 minutes back into my day. That is amazing. Don’t you think that’s amazing when you get them back in your day? Yeah, I love it. I love a proficient meeting, right? Indeed. Okay, so let’s go back because I want to make sure that we solve this piece. I love how you’re talking about the plateau.


This is the financial comfort zone. Yeah. Okay. So how do you help them get past the barrier of whether it’s a half-million dollar barrier? You mentioned the $350,000 barrier. So how do you help them? One, I see how you help them see it. But how do you help them get past it? It usually needs to be in small, incremental steps.


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Finding Clients: Start With Small Profits First


Okay. So like, let’s look at what we’ve got so far. And as I said, like, maybe that whole thing is made up of short term engagements. And so let’s go sell one longer term engagement or I think everybody’s prices can be doubled no matter who they are. So let’s do the second thing that we are going to sell in.


If you’ve been selling it for, let’s say, you know, 60,000, let’s do it. So for 120,000, okay, practice that and rehearse that. So that’s the work that starts to burn up the fears around it because it exposes the fears. But then it also kind of gets us into, you know, we’re just doing incremental moving past those barriers because a lot of us can the self-sabotage that hits is like we’re, you know, this freakout reaction to that.


So if we just do it little by little, I’ll tell you, it’s really interesting because I worked with somebody whose business was totally stock in in low numbers and then personally, she had a lot of debt. And I said, here’s the thing about where you are: your thermostat is a negative number. And so what you need to work on is bringing your thermostat to zero.


So where you can tolerate having no debt and then having the business actually pay you and be profitable. But she couldn’t get to like 100 a month immediately. She needed to really feel like what it felt incrementally to go from like I have a $12,000 Man to I have a $15,000 month. So we had to take it really slow because her thermostat was set on a negative number.


So people who are used to tolerating and I mean, you know, the good debt versus bad debt thing for people who are used to just tolerating a lot of things like credit card debt or something like that. You need to learn what zero feels like before you can get to like, let’s have, you know, $1,000,000 in investments. We need to go gradually.


Improve your approach to finding clients by listening to “Episode 71: How to Speak the Same Language as Your Clients, with Kathryn McGarvey”


Finding Clients: Allocating Time for Long Term Engagements


So if we’re going from these short term engagements, we need to work on getting to longer term engagements. If we’re used to 60,000, we need to go to 120,000, whatever is. Those are those set points. We can break down that overall, like my $350,000 plateau, we can crack it down into the individual components and see which of the things will go.


Now, I have worked with people before who are like, what? I did that and they immediately go, So like, you know, like the one who went and sold a 480, followed by a string of two forties, and then I went 20 like just got the idea and was like, I can do that and just ran off and did it will then need to keep an eye on.


So what happens inside the company in terms of delivery? Is there an implosion in terms of like, well, I broke through the top line of that? Do I then feel compelled to take all the profit out of it by working myself until I know I’m half dead? So I try not to let my clients work more than a 30-hour week.


So you have to be super smart about where to allocate that time and you cannot give a bunch of time to a22 delivery, which means we need to build a team, right? In case you don’t have a team at all. But that is well and having your threshold of the 30% cost of goods for your set. Absolutely right. Yep. 


Then how. Yeah. Then how do I know how much of this I have that I can build this out? And when I have people who struggle with delegating because there’s plenty of people who are like, Wait, hold on, hold on, hold on. I really want all this for myself. I’m like, “Here are two things that you could be doing if you weren’t doing these nonsense tasks.”


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Finding Clients: Don’t Burn Yourself Out, Work with Your Team


So, figure out all the stuff that somebody else could be doing in your business. And it can be anything from bookkeeping to just like the writing thing that I talked about earlier. It’s a genius zone for me. So isn’t it dumb for me to delegate it to somebody else? No, it’s not, because it’s energetically expensive for me.


It’s not a super joy zone. So what can I do instead? Two things: Revenue generating or resting. The biggest ways that you can grow your business when you’re not doing some stupid things that you shouldn’t be doing are revenue generating and resting. Yeah. So which are which of those is? And I think they both grow the business equally, by the way.


So if you’re exhausted, you need to find time for more rest. And if you’re like, I want to, I want to move that number. Okay, then figure out can you be revenue generating instead of. And then that’s when we start to really look with a critical eye at some of the dumb things that we end up doing.


Like, you know what? I don’t need to review all this. I have an assistant who can review this or I don’t need to be spending this much time on emails. Somebody else who isn’t me can do this. Well, like, okay, so hearing you say that, I’m going to go back to some of your other words, revenue generating and testing that sounds like for you in particular, that is your area of genius is at the center of your gifts.


There you go. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I’m a genius at resting. I’m at that event evangelizing about resting. So to me, one of the things that’s so critical for again, one person businesses and I’ll tell you where we get into the the hook in this and I’ve just talked to somebody about this yesterday when your business isn’t performing the way you want it to the natural reaction for a lot of us is to work more for two reasons, I think.


One is because we feel like, well, that’s what we know. So I should just keep pushing, pushing, pushing instead of holding back and thinking and considering how it could be doing better. The other thing is, by God, nobody will catch me. Nobody, nobody is going to look at me and say, I didn’t try. I didn’t give it my all.


And it’s like, okay, okay, okay. Like nobody’s judging you. So usually that’s a judgment voice that’s in their head. That’s going to be some critical parent, teacher, peer, ex spouse, you know, some whatever critical voice in your head that says you’re not trying hard enough. I don’t think you really tried. So it’s our mutual friend talking more.


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Finding Clients: Learn Time Management for Each Task


So, his words, quote, “Hustle is stupid.” And so I don’t say it that maybe yeah, what’s the word? Provocatively. Yeah, but I am a firm believer in what Dr. Stephen Covey wrote about in his brilliant work back in 1985. Seven Habits of Highly Effective People Have it. Number seven is to sharpen the saw. You can’t be effective at generating revenue if you’re exhausted.


No, absolutely not. And that’s speaking of books. That changed my life. That changed my life. I totally began to do things differently from there. And when are you sharpening the saw? If you’re not having time resting and, you know, the the breakdown that I use for my clients is a third, a third, a third, a third of your time should be spent on client work, delivery, doing any of the things that you need to do, deliverables or anything like that.


That’s a third of your time. A third of your time should be in creative work, working on your business. I’m sorry. This makes creative work, which is I think, work, creating IP, figuring out how to get better results. Now a lot of that work I’ll do, like out on a trail with my dogs. I’m like, you know, so-and-so is struggling.


I wonder what I can do. What can I say? What can I do? How can I help her to get better results? And then a third of your work is like working on the business. And this is anything from doing your marketing to having coffee chats with someone else, networking any admin that you have to do. So if you break that down into thirds and if we keep in mind that I like for my clients to work a 30-hour week and not more than 10 hours, it really means 10 hours.


So how much time do most people spend on client work? All right. So I’m like, if that’s what you’re spending now and people are struggling to grow, the business is like, how much time should I spend on marketing? I’m like, all but in between, they’re the ideal that we’re searching for. It is usually that kind of breakdown that has been amazing.


And I know that we’re quickly running out of time. So as we come in for a landing here, I want to loop back to one of the points that you shared at the onset where we talk about perfect, and then you’re talking about Avatar and so forth, because what I can tell from you in this conversation is that not only do you talk that and teach the framework, but you live it.


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Finding Clients: Sell Yourself. Let Your Clients Know You’re the One!


So my guess is when you meet somebody at a conference, let’s say for the first time, and that person may be listening to your podcast or they might be a member of your Facebook group, or they’re consuming content in a variety of different ways and they have a chance to meet you for the first time. And my guess is you’ve heard these scads of times.


It’s like, my gosh, Samantha, you’re exactly the person who I thought that you were because you’re congruent with all of this, right? Part of this being finding your perfect client is then also being super transparent about who needs to whom. And so that when those who sees and hears you like, my gosh, Samantha, you are my person, you are my expert.


I’ve been looking for it, right? Yes. And a lot of times, what they will say is and I’m sure you’ll hear this too. Well, I’m not this person this, but I’m this is and this. Like they don’t qualify for you, you know, and be like, well, I’m not yet at this much in revenues or I didn’t have quite this much in here but I know this and this, and I feel like that is lovely.


Improve your approach to finding clients by listening to “Episode 71: How to Speak the Same Language as Your Clients, with Kathryn McGarvey”


Finding Clients: Closing Remarks


It’s when people like they’re really trying to qualify for your love, will you accept me? And I think that’s the kind of growth orientation that I’m looking for and that I think makes perfect clients immune to that. Thank you for that. So before we go, before we close out and say goodbye, please share with our audience the best way to connect with you.


The best way to connect with me is on LinkedIn. I’m Samantha Hartley. You can find me there, and that’s also my website. And if anybody wants to read more about the stories that I’ve been sharing about the client who went from 750 to cross the million dollar mark, the one who doubled her or her proposal price, you can go to That’s the numeral and download.


Finding clients is still a challenge for you? Then I have a thing there called the Ultimate Guide or the Definitive Guide to winning six-figure clients. Awesome. Thank you for that. And okay everyone, no matter how many notes you took or how often you go back and relisten to Samantha’s words of wisdom, which I sure hope that you do. The key is you have to take it, you have to apply it, you have to implement it, you have to execute.


You have to take what she so generously shared with you and put it into your business because when you do, you will accelerate your results. And Samantha, thank you so much for your generosity. Thank you for saying yes. Thank you for coming on to the show to be our mentor and guide to help us pass that plateau and move onward to the next level.


Thank you so much, my friend. It has been such a pleasure, Stephen. Thank you.


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Sell with Authority Podcast

The Sell with Authority Podcast is for agency owners, business coaches, and strategic consultants who are looking to grow a thriving, profitable business that can weather the constant change that seems to be our world’s reality.

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