As you stumble into the hospital emergency room, you try your best not to panic. At the check-in, the nurse notices you and asks, “What’s the problem?”

You reply, “Business is slow. My bank account is dropping faster than a thermometer in Kapuskasing. I need more clients and projects. And I need them now!”

The nurse responds sympathetically, “I’ll have a doctor see you as soon as possible.”

Fortunately, you don’t have to wait long. Within a few minutes you are guided to the physician’s cubicle where she examines your situation and then, finally, writes you a prescription. “Get this filled right away,” she says reassuringly as she hands you the piece of paper. “Follow the instructions and your business will start improving soon.”

What did the good doctor write on that prescription form? Let’s take a look:

1. Contact your past clients.

Phone or send an email to every client you’ve ever worked with, even if that was several years ago.
Say hello. Update them on any additional qualifications and project expertise you’ve acquired. Let them know that, schedule permitting, you’d be delighted to work with them again.

(A friend of mine did this last year and filled her schedule in just two weeks.)

2. Contact your past leads.

Dig into your email inbox or contact management system. Pull out every “lead” that didn’t go anywhere — quotes you didn’t win, projects that didn’t materialize, etc.

Although these prospects never did give you any paying work they did, at the very least, have a modicum of interest in your services. Contact them again. Situations change and a dead-end lead from last year could very well become a new client for you today.

3. Contact your referral sources.

Contact everyone who has ever sent potential work your way. Those “referral sources” could include consultants, suppliers, virtual assistants, and freelancers.

Phone or email and say hello. Thank them for their support in the past and let them know that you’re available should they know anyone else who needs the type of service you provide.

Compared to any other type of lead, a referral has the highest chance of becoming a new client.

4. Do what you did before.

The biggest mistake that business owners make when business is slow is to try something new. “Direct mail letters worked for me before but I want to give Google advertising a try now.”

Huh? If business is slow you can’t afford to experiment. Do something you already know works for you, whether that’s letters, calls, networking or some other marketing action.

Even in a down economy the above strategies are the quickest ways to generate new business. So if things are slow for you, try the above four-step prescription for fast relief from a dearth of good-paying projects. Doctor’s orders!

To your success,

Steve Slaunwhite
Marketing Coach & Author