Building a Steady Stream of Clients in Professional Services: 6 Success Secrets

by Liz Lynch

It may seem like a difficult puzzle to put together to get all of your networking and promotional activities working to attract maximum clients with minimum effort, but successes are all around you. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

However, there are no silver bullets either. A lot of what growing your business is is simply knowledge plus action. Knowing what to do and then actually doing it. What a concept!

Just like losing weight or getting in better shape. There is no magic potion, just discipline and following a formula of eating less and exercising more, and doing that day after day after day. Even though the concepts may seem like common sense, they’re not common practice.

Successful firms DON’T do extraordinary things, they do what is necessary and they do it consistently. Are you following in their footsteps and modeling their success?  Here are 6 things successful professional service providers do to build a steady flow of clients year after year:

1) They prioritize getting clients. 

You may think you’re already making this a priority, but truth be told, are you really doing everything you can, using all the channels you can and building all the relationships you can to stand out to your target audience? Successful firms invest time into figuring out what works and they invest time into putting their ideas into practice.

2) They have more irons in the fire. 

Successful professionals aren’t just doing one or two things to attract clients. They have a website, a Linkedin profile, a Twitter page, a blog. They speak at industry conferences, and hold one-on-one meetings with their best clients. They also train their whole staff to be more comfortable with networking to increase involvement and cover more of the market. It’s not just the responsibility of a few people in the company to build all the relationships.

3) They build greater name recognition. 

As a result of being more active in their industry, and not holing themselves in their office doing client work all the time, successful professionals are more well-known. This gives them a huge leg up in getting referrals because they’re top of mind for many people. It also helps them with outreach. When they’re trying to build partnerships with other leaders in their industry, because they have a name, they’re more likely to get a positive response.

4) They stoke desire for their service. 

Selling professional services can be challenging because it’s intangible. Prospects can’t touch it or see it, so how can do these firms bring it to life and make it more real? By illustrating their expertise through articles and case studies. This helps educate their potential clients on problems they may not even know they have, and it showcases them as the expert who can help solve those problems.

5) They focus on relationships. 

Any partner in a professional service firm will tell you that getting business is all about relationships. Having great relationships with their clients at all levels of the company so they can build support for their ideas, and also spot potential areas for additional engagements is key. They also have diverse relationships within their industry and community that helps them attract more opportunities as well.

6) They treat business development as ongoing process. 

Building relationships and promoting their firm is not a one-time event, but something they’re continually doing. They fit their key activities into their weekly schedule, usually working through a long-term plan that lays out their priorities so they know exactly what to do. They don’t arrive at the office on Monday saying, “What should we work on this week?”

Now, if you already know all of this but aren’t doing it, we need to fix that right away. There’s a lot I’ve learned running my own consulting business for the last 12 years that I would love to share with you.  Join me on December 1st for an ENCORE of my SPECIAL TRAINING “From Trusted Advisor to Thriving Rainmaker: 21st Century Strategies for Consultants, CPAs, and Financial Planners.”

© 2009-2012, Liz Lynch International LLC

 ”Liz Lynch, author of Smart Networking: Attract a Following In Person and Online, works with 6-figure professionals who have great expertise but suffer from “promo-phobia.” To learn how to get better known and attract the opportunities you deserve, visit”

Speaker Coach & Author Jezra Kaye on Women Entrepreneurs Radio™

Jezra Kaye, President of Speak Up for Success, is a speaker coach and an entrepreneur who started her own business in 2006, after ten years of writing speeches for top corporate executives.

She now teaches people from all backgrounds and industries how to present themselves and their ideas.

Her new book is called Speak Like Yourself... No, Really!  Follow Your Strengths and Skills to Great Public Speaking. Her book takes you step-by-step through the process of becoming a great public speaker, and has the same insights and exercises that Jezra shares with her private speaker coaching clients.

Speak Like Yourself... No, Really!: Follow Your Strengths and Skills to Great Public Speaking is available on Amazon, from your local bookseller, or at Jezra’s site,


Can an MBA Help you Become a Better Entrepreneur?

So you're a budding entrepreneur, and you've got your sights set high, just as they should be. You look to entrepreneurial greats like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, and you learn that not only did they not pursue and advanced degree, but they didn't even finish college.

Perhaps you've considered the possibility of going back to school to get an MBA to better prepare you for the challenges you'll face as an entrepreneur. On the other hand, you may think you don't need it because you see examples of successful, degree-less entrepreneurs everywhere. Of course, you certainly don't need an MBA. But here's how it may help you in your future entrepreneurial goals:

1. An MBA will teach you the business lingo you need to convince investors.
If anything, getting an MBA degree will teach much of the business language that you may not know. Starting and maintaining a business requires meetings with investors, lawyers, and many other specialized professionals. When you go to business school, you'll learn about the lingo so that you can be more effective and persuasive on the funding front.

As female entrepreneur Virginia Raemy notes in an interview with The Next Women, getting funding for her start up was possible precisely because she had an MBA.

2. An MBA gives you an instant network of like-minded professionals to help you nurture and achieve your goals. 
Entrepreneurs, as you probably know by now, are a very different breed of animal. Most of your friends probably aren't entrepreneurs themselves. When you enroll in an MBA program, you'll meet hundreds of people who are just like you. They share the same dreams and goals. In this environment, you'll be more motivated to follow through with your business plan when you're surrounded by those who want to help you succeed. Think of it as instant networking.

For example, Duke University's Fuqua School of Business offers specific networking events for women entrepreneurs! Most B schools offer similar opportunities uniquely tailored to women.

3. More MBA programs offer concentrations in entrepreneurship now than ever before.
You may be reticent to jump on the MBA bandwagon because you think that most of the courses are geared toward those who want to work for businesses, not found them. While this may have been true in the past, now, more and more programs are offering specific entrepreneur concentrations so that you can learn all the skills it takes to become a successful entrepreneur, as noted in this Reuters article.

Don't get me wrong-an MBA is a serious investment, and if you can't afford it now, it's better to wait until you can or consider options. At the end of the day, and MBA isn't absolutely essential for success. But it might be able to get you to success more quickly. Good luck!

Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer and entrepreneur. She enjoys writing about women in the workplace, education, small business trends and more. Originally from Hartford, Mariana is an expert on education in Connecticut. Mariana welcomes your comments below!


Support Small Business Saturday®

Support your favorite small business.

This November 24th is Small Business Saturday®, a day to celebrate and support the local small businesses that boost the economy and invigorate neighborhoods across the country.

The Secrets of Success blog is proud to take part in Small Business Saturday, and we’re encouraging everyone to Shop Small® here on November 24th.

Most importantly, get out there, Shop Small, and let’s make this November 24th
the biggest day of the year for small business.

To learn more, visit

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Day is a holiday celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada. Thanksgiving is celebrated each year on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. Because of the longstanding traditions of the holiday, the celebration often extends to the weekend that falls closest to the day it is celebrated. Several other places around the world observe similar celebrations. Historically, Thanksgiving had roots in religious and cultural tradition. Today, Thanksgiving is primarily celebrated as a secular holiday.
-from Wikipedia

How Long Do You Keep Trying?

by Doreen Rainey

One of the questions I often get is "how long do I keep trying"?

If they are pursuing their own business: "How long do I try?"

If they are working to improve a relationship: "How long do I try?"

If they are hoping to excel at their current employer: "How long do I try?"

Have you ever felt that way?

Have you felt like you've been working, trying, pushing, committed, focused and in hot pursuit of something you really want - something you really believe in - and it's just not happening.

Maybe you have already given so much. Your time, resources, effort, blood, sweat, tears and your heart and soul. And's not coming together.

Jim Rohn has said: How long should you try? Until.

Not only do I believe this quote, but when I speak and coach, I often say that you should never give up. That when you are faced with the choice to stop or to keep going - you should always choose to keep going. However, let me clarify exactly what I mean.

When I say never never give up. I'm talking about the ultimate goal: To live a life where you are joyful, fulfilled, and connected - having a sense of purpose and accomplishment that is truly individually defined by you. That when you wake up - you are fully energized and excited about what opportunities are before you, yet also grateful and reflective of all that you already have and have already accomplished.

And it's on THAT goal that I say "never stop" and "keep going."

Now, in the quest to achieve that ultimate goal, you may start some things, stop some things, change directions, reevaluate, realign your resources, adjust your efforts or alter your circle of influence.

You may choose to let some ideas go, let some people go, seek out other options or continue on the current path. You may need to leave a job, apply for a new job, start a business, close down a business, seek out new relationships or continue to foster the ones you have. You may need to move across the country or down the street or make the decision to sell everything and travel the world.

While life is a journey, we should absolutely be clear on our destination - it's not a certain position in our company, a certain revenue goal in our business, a list of letters behind our name, a certain weight or size, or a particular number in our bank account.

It's about living full out. Doing, being, giving and having on a level that gives you deep meaning and an all consuming feeling of contentment. It's about the quest for inner peace, fulfillment and making a contribution.

And on THAT goal - we never stop trying.

"RADICAL Success Coach Doreen Rainey helps her clients Get RADICAL - by defining success for themselves and getting the guts to go after it. Get her FREE RADICAL Success Starter Kit at"

© 2012 Doreen Rainey

Putting Fear in Its Place

by Jack Canfield

As you move forward on your journey from where you are to where you want to be, you are going to have to confront some of your fears. Fear is a just a natural part of living.

Whenever you start a new project, take on a new venture, or put yourself out there, there’s usually some fear involved. Unfortunately, most people let fear stop them from taking the necessary steps to achieve their dreams.

Confronting your fears is a very necessary step in achieving success.

There is simply no other way.

Fear can be a helpful emotion, as it tells you when you need to be extra careful, keenly aware, and cautious. Fear is not an emotion that is telling you to stop. In fact, it’s telling you just the opposite!

Acknowledging your feelings of fear helps you know when you are stepping out of your comfort zone. It points your awareness to areas where you could improve and grow.

Successful people also feel fear. Yet they don’t let it get in the way of anything they want to do—or have to do. They understand that fear is something to be acknowledged, experienced, and taken along for the ride. They have learned, as author Susan Jeffers suggests in her must-read book, to “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway®.”

Fear is more of a signal that we should stay alert and cautious. We can feel fear, but we can still move forward anyway.

Think of fear as a 2-year-old child who doesn’t want to go grocery shopping with you. Because you must buy groceries, you’ll just have to take the two year old with you. Fear is no different. In other words, acknowledge that fear exists but don’t let it keep you from doing important tasks.

Also realize that so many of our fears are self-created. We might frighten ourselves by fantasizing negative outcomes to any activity we might peruse or experience. Luckily, because we are the ones doing the fantasizing, we are also the ones who can stop the fear and bring ourselves into a state of clarity and peace by facing the actual facts, rather than giving in to our imaginations.

If a fear is too great for you to overcome, try breaking it down into smaller challenges.

Try starting out by doing the parts of the project that don’t scare you so much. You need to give a speech in front of a large group? Try giving your speech in front of a small group of people who care for you. Work your way up until you are able to feel the fear but still move forward. As you do you will build your confidence and eventually you won’t feel fear surrounding those issues because you’ll have done them enough to count it as a skill.

As you move toward your goal, don’t attach yourself so much to the outcomes.

Keep moving toward your dream doing everything you can to create what you want, then let it go and see what shows up. Sometimes the universe will have a better idea in mind for you and present a better opportunity when you were expecting something completely different. Don’t let fear keep you from moving forward. Even if the horrible outcome that you imagined happens, the universe will always provide for you another way to succeed. So be on the look out!

Trust that no matter what occurs, you are smart enough and strong enough to keep looking for, and attracting, opportunities.

If you are willing to try new experiences in spite of your fears, then more new experiences will present themselves for you to try. And the more you try, the more you are likely to succeed!

Jack Canfield, America's #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul© and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you're ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at:

Author JoAnneh Nagler on Women Entrepreneurs Radio™

JoAnneh Nagler is the author of The Debt-Free Spending Plan: An Amazingly Simple Way to Take Control of Your Finances Once and for All. She's a Debt-Free Living Coach, writer, and artist.  She was a fund developer and grantwriter for more than 20 years, writing for causes in economic development, housing, health, human rights, youth, arts and the environment.  She has written for Rob Reiner’s I Am Your Child Campaign, and for the Oprah Winfrey Use Your Life Award-Winner Food from the ‘Hood in Los Angeles, among many others.

For the past eight years, she has been a personal Debt-Free Living Coach, helping individuals and couples learn how to use The Debt-Free Spending Plan to revolutionize their relationship with money. She is happily married to her husband Michael, a writer, teacher and activist.

Date: Wednesday, November 14th
Time: 8:00 pm EDT


How to Be an Extreme Encourager and Change the World

by Christine Kane
Long ago, when I first shared my dream of becoming a professional musician with one of my friends, she knitted her brows and said, “Huh?”

The dire warnings she fired off didn’t surprise me. Hey, most of us have had a lifetime filled with this kind of “practical advice.”  And I was used to giving up in the face of it.

During this fumbling stumbling time, I met a man who became an unlikely best friend and mentor.  He was a brilliant jazz musician as well as a self-employed computer programmer.

One night, I told him my dream.  Without even blinking, he said, “Honey (he always called me Honey), you’d be fabulous. That’s perfect!”  And he meant it.

At that moment, I felt like flying.  I had never experienced such direct and truthful support without a single “practical” warning attached.  This friend set me free by offering one simple thing:


That moment was not only the launch point of a successful entrepreneurial path for me – but also for me choosing to be an encouraging voice to others.

Encouragement is more than just a fleeting moment of motivation.  It’s a genuine boost of hope and glimpse of possibility.   Yes, there might be work to be done. But encouragement reminds us that it CAN be done.

Think about the last great idea you had, or the last big decision you needed to make.

Who did you most want to call for support and solutions?

Be THAT person.

It’s called being an Extreme Encourager, and those of us who choose this role would love it if you’d join us.

Here are the club rules:

An Extreme Encourager is a Leader
Whether you’re a business owner, an artist, an entrepreneur or a CEO – you must own your role as a leader. What this means is that you take seriously the enormous impact and influence you have on the people around you.

The friend I mentioned? The one who encouraged me?  He went on to a leadership role at Apple in Cupertino. No surprise. He didn’t take lightly his impact and influence.  You shouldn’t either.

An Extreme Encourager Models a Courageous Life
The best encouragers are the ones who live it. Whether they’re just getting started, or they’re veteran risk-taking pioneers – the encouragers are the ones who want a bigger life for themselves and are willing to “go there.”   This is why my jazz musician friend could simply offer encouragement when my other friend could not.

•  An Extreme Encourager Actively Listens
Encouragers know that encouragement doesn’t mean you just tell people to “buck up” or “get over it.” They know how to listen.  This means looking at the speaker, listening to her, setting your agendas and judgments aside, and honoring the wise soul who is sharing her heart with you.

•  An Extreme Encourager Avoids Clichés
Avoiding clichés is a natural result of actively listening to someone. Being an extreme encourager doesn’t mean that you blindly tell people “You can do it!” or “Let go of fear!”  It’s deeper than that. It’s seeing the truth of the other person, especially when they cannot.

•  An Extreme Encourager Acknowledges Fear (But Doesn’t Give it Power)
  Face it. We all get visits from the hooglie-booglies. These are the voices that tell us we can’t, or we shouldn’t, or we’ll fail, or we’ll look stupid. An encourager doesn’t focus on those voices because she knows they they’re trying to hook her.  An encourager simply acknowledges that the voices are there and that you can’t make them go away by arguing with them. An encourager knows that those voices aren’t the truth. They only SEEM like the truth.

•  An Extreme Encourager Believes in Miracles As Well as Work
Extreme encouragers are mystics of sorts.  They know that the so-called “woo-woo” stuff is more real than the so-called “logical” stuff.  They celebrate the divine as a simple fact of everyday existence and don’t get caught up in the “prove it” mindset.

•  An Extreme Encourager Knows that the Goal Shapes the Goal-Setter
She knows you’ll develop the needed character traits as you go. In other words, you’re ready now, even if you’re not perfect yet!  I shudder when I read advice that discourages people from trying something because of character traits “required” in advance. “You shouldn’t _________ if you’re not disciplined.” “If you don’t have focus, you can’t be a ___________.” Most of the successful people I know developed these traits as they went.  I certainly did.  Encouragers understand the huge potential for growth in the human spirit, especially when someone takes the biggest risk of all and begins to follow her heart.

Has encouragement helped you?

In the comments below, share a story of how someone’s encouragement helped light the way.

And of course, if you NEED a little encouragement – just ASK!

Christine Kane is the Mentor to People Who are Changing the World. She helps women and men Uplevel their lives, their businesses and their success. Her weekly Uplevel You eZine goes out to over 20,000 subscribers. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can sign up for a FREE subscription at

Five Tips for Balanced Living

Enthusiasm for alternative wellness is rising. I believe that the most important health practices happen before you have problems. Said differently, we reap what we sow. Healthy living over a lifetime adds up. Not always but often.

I recently I went to see a new, highly recommended acupuncturist, Dr. KS Tsay. He is the real deal, the acupuncturist that the acupuncturists go to. Dr. Tsay's command of English was about as good as my understanding of Chinese meridians. After a brief "conversation" where I shared that I was a healthy eater, a regular exerciser, etc., he told me to eat less sugar.
I felt like a kid caught with my hand in the cookie jar (literally). I was (sugar) busted. Later, on the table, he proceeded with his assessment, pulling down my eyelids, prodding and, of course, poking me. Again he chided me: "Less sugar. Stick out tongue. Ah, yes, see? I know. Less sugar, you hear me? Less sugar!"
Sometimes we can be so focused on all the complex things to improve our health that we forget the simple ones (like eating less sugar).
After my treatment, Dr. Tsay sent me on my way with a list of 20 Balanced Living Suggestions, all of which are brilliant in their elegance and simplicity (and which I have posted in my Free Resources section on my website). Here are a few of them:

  • Cultivate a cheerful and optimistic way of looking at life.
  • Chew your food well.
  • Go to bed early.
  • Spend at least one hour a day outside.
  • Try to help others in every way you can.
Ah, if only it were so simple to live them. All we can do is our best, right? And try every day to make good choices for better, balanced living. And now I'm off to buy fish and seaweed!
About the author: Camille Preston is the founder and CEO of AIM Leadership, an organizational development company committed to developing powerful, authentic leaders. She is the author of Rewired: How to Work Smarter, Live Better, and Be Purposefully Productive in an Overwired World. She is a psychologist, executive coach, writer, facilitator, and highly sought-after public speaker. For more than twenty years, she has guided leaders, executives, policy makers, professionals, and individuals alike to new heights of leadership, performance, efficiency, and greater happiness and fulfillment.

AIM is one of the country’s premier leadership development firms with a dozen associates and hundreds of blue chip, Fortune 500, government, nonprofit, and private clients around the globe, including NBC, Zappos, MGM Mirage, Citrix, the Corporate Executive Board, Mars, Verizon, GE, Capitol One, the US Army, and others.

Author Q&A: The Debt-Free Spending Plan

JoAnneh Nagler, author of The Debt-Free Spending Plan: An Amazingly Simple Way to Take Control of Your Finances Once and for All is visiting the blog today to answer some questions about her new book. 

JoAnneh is a Debt-Free Living Coach, writer, and artist.  She was a fund developer and grantwriter for more than 20 years, writing for causes in economic development, housing, health, human rights, youth, arts and the environment.  She has written for Rob Reiner’s I Am Your Child Campaign, and for the Oprah Winfrey Use Your Life Award-Winner Food from the ‘Hood in Los Angeles, among many others.

For the past eight years, she has been a personal Debt-Free Living Coach, helping individuals and couples learn how to use The Debt-Free Spending Plan to revolutionize their relationship with money. She is happily married to her husband Michael, a writer, teacher and activist.

Deb Bailey: Please share why you wanted to write your book?
JoAnneh Nagler: I wrote this book because I was in trouble with debt myself and I couldn't find anything on the personal finance shelf to help me.  What I did find was, "get out of debt--it's a bad idea--and now here's how to invest."  Yikes!  Invest?  In what dream world?  I could barely pay my rent and minimums and I was in trouble!

Deb: Who do you think will benefit from reading your book?
JoAnneh: Anyone who has ever said, "I can't manage my finances."  Anyone who feels hopeless, or needs help with debt, or has a lack of clarity about her or his spending.  The book was written for people who hate numbers, never liked math, or rarely balance their checkbooks.  It's based on simple addition--anyone who can add can do it.  No digging up past spending disasters.  No blame or shame over money in your relationship.  No deprivation.  Just start from today and get clarity with the Plan.

Deb: Would you describe the Debt-free Spending Plan?
JoAnneh: Sure!  The Plan is a simple, easy, five-minute-a-day approach to living within your means.  Again, it's based on simple lists--there is no need to learn a new software program--which, in my experience just makes debtors panic.  The Plan is a planning tool, not a tracking tool.  Most books promote detailed tracking of expenses, but I can track all day long and still overspend at the grocery store and still never fund a vacation.  

The Plan very simply divides Bills from Daily Needs, lets you set the priorities in spending categories, and makes sure you learn how to make savings meaningful.  For instance, dying for a new iPad?  An outlet shopping day?  Great! Plan for it.  The premise is to learn to live well on the cash you have by living within the amounts you set out for yourself each month.  You address your debt, not adding to the credit-roller-coaster of high-ticket balances, but your focus is on learning to live well on your cash.

Deb: What do you feel makes your book different from other books about money? 
JoAnneh: There's so much that's different!  It's easy, it's simple, and it doesn't require an archeological dig into your past spending history or your childhood.  (A lot of books do.)  It's a present moment tool--you give yourself the dignity of starting a whole, new, clean financial history.

The biggest payoff, I've found, is that you stop fighting about money in your relationship.  I call it "The Aphrodisiac Quality of a Spending Plan." Who knew that being more responsible and living debt-free would make you feel more amorous toward each other?  But it does!  And, the Plan shows you how to make money decisions together, without micromanaging each other's daily spending.  Each partner gets his and her autonomy in spending, but you learn to plan together. 

Deb: Why do you think that money is such an emotional issue?
JoAnneh:  It has to do with our sustenance, our sense of fulfillment, and our ability to live and love well in the world.  We've been duped a bit though, into thinking that "more is better" and "big is necessary."  What I have found by living debt-free is that I have more freedom, more choices, and I have done more creative things that I've wanted to do in my life.  I'm more creative about how I do them, but I do them!  I downsized my monthly living expenses significantly to write my book, and I was able to do it because I had clarity in my spending.  My mantra is, "No Debt, No Drama."

Deb: Any advice that you feel would be key for woman entrepreneurs to learn from your book?
JoAnneh:  Absolutely.  Understand that debting to get a business off the ground puts us in a serious pressure cooker to succeed, and then our budding projects don't get the dignity of a normal growth arc. Instead we get desperate because we ran up debt to fund them, and our desperation most often leads us to failure.  Think "Slow, steady steps."  Fund everything you do as you do it.  Your projects will be supported, they will grow at a good pace, and you will stay sane.

Deb: What inspires you to do the work you do? 
JoAnneh: I was in so much trouble myself once--and now my Plan has helped so many.  It was my dear friend Theresa who said to me, "You have to write this down.  This has changed my life, my marriage and my whole approach to money."  She really pushed me to do it, and I'm so glad I did. 

Lastly, there's a huge inspiration from my life:  my husband and I were married, got into terrible debt--which really took us down and limited our choices--and then got divorced.  More than a decade later we came back together and married each other again--this time with a promise to use no credit cards, personal loans, etc.  We are so happy now!  We have money choices, just not money drama.  It's amazing how not having that pressure opens us up to each other.  There's a whole chapter in my book about this and tons of examples of how to do the Plan as a couple. 

Deb: Where can people find your book?
JoAnneh: You can find it at online retailers and stores across the country

Deb: Please share your website and social media URLs
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