Your #1 Best Lead Generation Tool Is Your Client Experience

As a service business, you want to stand out FAR above your competition and generate high quality, consistent leads at the same time. Heck, as a product business, you want to do the same and remove as much friction as possible for your customers.

The #1 primo-primo best way to be a shining light in your field is through exceptional customer experience. 

Many services are simply not communicating effectively or don’t have the systems to ensure their clients are so happy they tell everyone they know, so leads come knocking on your door. 

Thing is…

When you can bake your lead generation into your daily client experience, and think “how would this feel as a client?” you can easily stand out.

When client experience is done right, every client can become a revenue-generating mechanism for your business. You’ll benefit from:

  • Consistent referrals
  • Public reviews
  • High-quality testimonials
  • Good reputation
  • Public mentions on social posts looking for your specific service

Best of all, you can probably make a huge impact by only making a few simple tweaks to how you operate daily. 

Wondering how?

Keep reading for actionable advice on how to bake simple, high-quality client experiences into your day-to-day operations so you can turn your clients from simple customers into superfans (aka lead-generation machines for your business).

statistic quotes about customer service from Hubspot

Source: Hubspot

 

The Simplest Strategy for Turning Every Client Into A Revenue Generating “Billboard” for Your Business

The magic key to not giving off “snake oil” vibes is not rocket science. 

It’s about communication.

Frequent, clear, and concise communication. 

You never want your client wondering what will happen or where your head is at. 

Like any good presentation, you want to:

  • Say what you’re going to do
  • Do what you say you’ll do
  • Share what you did and why it’s helpful to your client

(^ psst. This is now your business mantra.)

Trust me when I asay that you never want your client to question what’s coming next. 

Instead, set the expectation:

  • What they get from you
  • What you need from them
  • Why and when things are happening

I’ll get to how exactly you can do this in a minute. 

Good communication will inform your clients what they need at every stage of your process. 

They’ll never wonder, ‘Where are we with this? What’s going on?’ because you’ll keep them informed at every step. 

Why does this matter? When they understand what to expect, they’re not stressing and it’s a low-friction process for them. On the flip-side, you’re not under a magnifying glass getting bombarded left and right with questions about your process or deliverables and better yet, you don’t get interrupted and can maintain flow.

Cool cool. But how do you do it? It’s not rocket science. You can make it complex. But more often, it’s as simple as sending:

  1. Email recaps after every meeting
  2. A head’s up about what you’ll be covering before a meeting
  3. Regular emails during your project

You don’t have to over-communicate, but you also shouldn’t go dark.

What you send depends on the type of client. Your communication probably looks different for retainers vs when one-off projects. 

If you always keep this mantra in mind, you’ll be far ahead of your competitors and stand out like a beacon in your field:

“Say what you’re going to do, do what you say you’ll do, share what you did, and why.” 

BONUS: You may even be able to raise your prices if your customer service is better than most. 

Check out this stat from Hubspot about what the connection between price and service.

statistic quotes about customer service from Hubspot

Source: Hubspot

 

How Most Service Businesses Operate (and why it repels clients)

Many service providers talk a big game but fall short. (And it’s not just service providers—it’s digital product sellers, course creators, and heck—brick and mortar businesses who sell, deliver, or ship products. A measure of service goes into all of it!)

So what does a typical scenario look like?

  • Companies share results.
  • They talk about how amazing they are.
  • And they boast about how they’ll change the game for how you do business.

We’ve all seen them. They’re experts at making you feel like you’re missing out. 

And they might be fantastic at getting results. 

OR 

They might be good at making you think they’ll get results. 

This is the modern-day equivalent of a snake oil salesman. 

Here’s a simple example:

You find a service provider online. They have a beautiful website, a lovely portfolio, and they appear to know what they’re doing. 

You hop on a discovery call and have a robust, deep, and thorough conversation. It sounds like they GET you. They know precisely what you want, and you’re excited to work with them.  

After the call… crickets. 

No email. 

No quote. 

No follow-up. 

They leave you wondering:

  • What’s next?
  • Are we even working together still?
  • Do they understand what I need? Did they write it down?
  • When will we start?

This is a simple example of how easily your client can go from “Take my money” to “Did they forget about me?”

Want another stat? Check out what Salesforce found about the correlation between service and forgiveness for mistakes.

statistic quotes about customer service from Hubspot

Source: Hubspot

 

Why Client Experience Matters As Much As Results – the Results Experience Matrix

The “Results-Experience” matrix tells us precisely what we need to know about the power of exceptional service. Spoiler alert—to my knowledge, this isn’t a thing. It’s a me-thing…we could call it the CopySnacks Results-Experience Matrix to make it found fancy—but ultimately, it’s anecdotal and based on personal experience.

With no results and an unpleasant client experience, you’ll be lucky if your client even returns. This comes as no surprise.

If you produce stellar results but the client has a negative experience, your clients may stay with you, but they likely won’t be referring you to anyone anytime soon. 

With bad results and a fantastic client experience, you may still get a returning customer. That’s how powerful a good client experience can be. They may try to give you another shot because you’re so easy to work with, but they likely will not refer or talk about you to their friends and colleagues. 

 You’ve got a winning combination if you combine good results AND exceptional client experience. You’ll have a customer for life who’ll be so happy, they’ll want to tell everyone they know about you. 

 

How to Create Efficient Communication at Every Stage Of the Client Journey

To make your client service exceptional, you’ll need systems.

Automated systems are often super helpful to help you keep all the balls in the air, but not necessary. 

Your specific systems can be as complicated as using a CRM like Dubsado and setting up automated messages..

… Or as simple as canned emails and scheduling reminders to send them out. 

Remember, you’re trying to make your client’s life easier, not more complicated. It all comes back to reducing friction.

In the following sections, I’ll make specific recommendations on how you can implement a system for communication and set expectations for each stage of the client journey. 

 

Your Website and Social Media Are the Foundation of Your New Communication System

Your website and social media are often the first point of contact with your prospect. 

It’s essential to set the stage and clarify what’s in it for them on your website.

You can show how your service works, what process you follow, and how to contact you. 

Everything should be easy for the client.  

You can use your sales page, home page, or FAQs to clarify anything that might be on your client’s mind like:

  • What tech you use
  • How payments work 
  • How your process works
  • Timelines
  • Deadlines
  • How you communicate

When you share on your social media about what you do, make it clear they can reference your website for more information and that this information is always available on your website. 

And back to stats on the importance of experience compared with products or services:

statistic quotes about customer service from Hubspot

Source: Hubspot

The bottom line? Results matter, but experience plays a HUGE role.

 

Lead Gen System #1: Discovery and Sales 

In the discovery and sales stage, you’re setting the stage for how meetings will run, how you’ll communicate, and what the relationship can look like. 

It’s important to make a minor adjustment to the “mantra” established in the previous sections. 

We’re still going to say what we’re going to do.

This can look like:

  • Scheduling a call with notes in the calendar invite to explain how you’ll run the meeting.
  • Sending an event reminder. 
    • Some send invites the day before, the morning of, and an hour before. Some do more, and some do less. 
  • Sending a quick follow up thanking them for their time and recapping any action items from the call.

Sending information in advance helps them see you as a professional who isn’t flying by the seat of your pants. 

 

How to Become Their #1 Choice During Your Discovery Calls

During your discovery call, let them talk. 

This strategy is so critical, I’ll repeat it. 

Let the client talk. 

Your job during discovery is to actively listen and make them feel heard. 

To show your potential client you’re actively listening, you can:

  • Take notes
  • Use AI to transcribe and take notes for you
  • Ask follow-up questions to clarify further
  • Recap what they’re saying so they know you understood, “What I’m hearing is you want ___”
  • Then…and only then, share how you can help them reach their goals.

When your discovery and sales call is complete, you’ll want to send a recap (share what you did and why) thanking them for their time and letting them know next steps and including details like:

  • When you’ll send the proposal
  • What the timeline might look like
  • When you’ll answer any questions they asked
  • By when you need any answers

Use these strategies so your client feels like you understand them better than anyone else ever could. 

Next, we’ll tackle using the proposal to create an exceptional client experience. 

 

How to Structure Your Proposal For A Positive Client Experience

When you sent your discovery call recap, you already summarized what you discussed.   

In the proposal, you’ll give them exactly what you talked about and recap what they said their goals are. You’ll also want to lay out all the details of your relationship inside your proposal so you’re all on the same page and everyone knows what to expect. 

Your service proposal should include details like:

  • Their top 3 goals
  • How you’ll help them meet those goals
  • Map out phases, timelines, and deadlines
  • Your respective responsibilities
  • Payment options and terms
  • Next steps (yours and theirs)

Don’t forget to include at least an overview of the client’s responsibilities. You may have covered this in your call, and you’ll go into more detail during the onboarding process, but at least plant a seed for what this looks like. 

This is where you’ll start to see your entire process come together and create consistent communication and experience for the client. 

 

Lead Gen System #2: Onboarding

A major reason why many businesses don’t hire freelancers is because it adds MORE work to their plate, not less.  If you want to be the service provider all your clients rave about, you must make it EASY for them. 

It’s impossible to remove ALL friction, but focus on making it as easy on them as you possibly can. 

This means not making them learn another system unless absolutely necessary. For example, in some of my retainers, I use an external system (ClickUp) but have it set to be as simple as possible and ensure my clients don’t have to work too hard.

Where possible, I keep it to Google documents and email so they don’t have to learn a new system. 

Reduce Friction In All Client Interactions

Reducing friction means removing anything that makes the client pause, causes headaches, or confuses them. 

Here are some simple tweaks you can make to reduce friction for your clients:

  • Stop sending long emails with walls of text. Keep updates to bullet points where possible—short, sweet, succinct.
  • Don’t ask lots of questions all at once. Or if you do, number them so it’s easy to answer. And keep questions focused an unambiguous. 
  • Answer questions before they feel like they need to ask by answering frequently asked questions in your proposal and onboarding
  • Don’t expect them to use complicated programs unless necessary. And if you do, make it as straightforward as possible, giving detailed instructions. Bottom line—communicate in a way that’s easy for them
  • Don’t ask them to use programs they’re not familiar with (Ex. Don’t ask them to use Slack if they don’t already use it.)
  • Don’t send long Voxer or Messenger messages (written or voice) unless you’ve established that as a communication style.

How you onboard and manage projects will look different if you have a retainer or a one-off project. You may need to adjust your process slightly for each client. 

You can choose how complicated or simple you want to make your system. 

You don’t need to do everything. The key is effective communication, whatever that looks like for you. 

Here are some ways to reduce friction with your clients:

  • Use a CRM like Dubsado or HighLevel (and get someone to set it up for you if you need help).
  • Schedule every project phase on your calendar so nothing falls off the radar.
  • Let them know when you will work on their project and what, if anything, you need from them well before you need it.
  • Email them when finished and inform them of what’s next.
  • Answer questions quickly.

I highly recommend you let them know what phase of the project you’re in (for example, if you’re a writer: research, writing, edits, waiting for feedback).

You can use your proposal as a roadmap for their project and refer to it often. Some service providers even send the proposal back with a strike-through each phase as they make their way through the project. Others have a checklist in their email footer so clients can quickly understand next steps.

I typically use a Google document with a checklist for quick reference.

 

Lead Gen System #3: Delivering Your Work  

So the what of your deliver depends heavily on your business and project types—but if you’re delivering anything, try to brand it to level up the professional factor. 

If you’re providing copy, it’s important to set the stage for your work when you send over your deliverables. 

Don’t just send over your copy.

Make it clear:

  • What you’ve done
  • Why you made certain choices
  • Who the audience is who will be reading the copy

I like to present my copy with a Loom video to minimize calls, allow me to present the full strategy before fielding questions, and allow clients to watch it as many times as they want.

I also use a branded copy deck. (What the heck is a copy deck? It’s a branded document that sets the stage for each project, defining your deliverables and next steps.)

Here are some ways you can make sure your client has a phenomenal experience when you deliver your copy:

  • Meet every deadline
  • Communicate regularly (weekly, biweekly, etc. ) with updates, deadlines, expectations, what you’re working on and when
  • Follow through on any communications or work you said you’d do
  • Set expectations for next steps (what you just did, what you’re doing now, what’s happening next, and what you need from them)

Make sure you’re keeping your communications short and efficient while making it clear where you are, what you’re working on, next steps, and expectations on both sides. 

 

Lead Gen System #4: Offboarding

Not enough people focus on offboarding, but it’s one of the most important aspects of a killer client experience.

Why?

All of the effort you’ve put into your system is wasted if you don’t offboard your client correctly. 

Back to the copywriter example. So, you’ve delivered the copy. You’re done, right?

Maybe not. Your client might be thinking, “Now what?”

Maybe you’re a designer handing over a logo—and they’re off to the races…but do they know how to use the logo?

Then again, maybe you just sold a hot tub. Now you have to coordinate delivery and set up, and teach your clients how to use it. And maybe you’ll need to service it.

 

Help Them Implement So They Know You’re An Asset to Their Business

Many service providers make the mistake of handing over the project and going silent. 

One lesson I learned early on is that if a client didn’t have a designer, they didn’t always know what to do with website copy. Or, their designer/developer didn’t understand the vision or how to implement it.

Here are some ways I’ve helped clients implement: 

  • Sending branded documents that explain how to use your copy. If you provide the same service to most clients, you can create a Google docs template that you update with simple details each time. 
  • Sending over Loom videos explaining how to use their copy. 
  • Coordinating a quick call with the designer to ensure we’re on the same page.
  • Reviewing copy post-implementation to make sure nothing got missed (or duplicated).
  • Overseeing the design and launch process with an outsourced team.
  • Providing a launch checklist to help them make the most of their new website launch (and to create buzz and drive traffic).
  • Holding a post-project call to recap and answer any final questions. (more on this in offboarding below)

The list goes on and on. But hopefully, you’re getting a sense of what this can look like.

The bottom line here is that when you help your client implement, you become an asset to their business instead of just another service provider. And, you also get to continue building the relationship.

 

How to Generate Leads With An Easy Referral System

You’ve put a lot of effort into creating a stellar client experience. In this critical stage, your efforts can turn your client into a lead-generating “machine” for your business. 

1. Start by following up on how things went.

Why? Two reasons. First, it shows you care. Second, it gives you opportunities to improve the entire experience.

I like asking questions like:

  • How do you think it went?
  • Is there anything I could have done better?
  • What surprised you most?

2. Identify future opportunities.

During your project, you may have spotted opportunities to work together in the future. I like to include these in my copy deck as recommendations, and then go into more detail during the offboarding call.

Do you *have* to do a call? No. But in my experience, there is no substitute for face time—or face-to-Zoom time. Because back to System #1: Discovery and Sales—listening to them clues you in to new ideas and emotions, and gives you some threads to tug on to truly help them with next steps.

3. Ask for the review!

Use this opportunity while your client is happiest, and it’s still top of mind to request a testimonial—or a review.

In my business, it’s as simple as asking if they’d be willing to write me a recommendation. If they say yes, then I send over a quick email (and yep, it’s canned) with some jumping off points and links to the places I’d love a review.

Reviews and testimonials are SO important to freelancers and small businesses, that most clients get a bonus checklist I’ve created, called Getting and Mining Testimonials. Students in my courses talk about how much they love the documentation and the masterclass I’ve created. 

Why do I give them jumping off points? It helps them speak to the specific things that most clients ask about or that they want to know. 

The next way to make it easier on them? Offer to write it for them. (Hint: I still ask for them to answer a few questions.)

Or better yet, ask if they’d be open to a video testimonial and interview them right on the call (then edit it down later).

4. Ask for a referral.

At this point, your client is likely feeling pretty content. They’re happy with what you’ve done so far. It’s the perfect time to ask for referrals—”Is there anyone you know who could benefit from my services?”

And you can make it easy on them by providing language they can copy, paste, and send to anyone they think could benefit from your service.

Some service providers will set the stage for referrals and testimonials across the entire process, including language like “I’m never too busy for your referrals” or “Referrals are always welcomed and encouraged.” 

Personal recommendations are the easiest way to build trust with a new client. If you do a good job for client A, they’ll sing your praises for years:

statistic quotes about customer service from Hubspot

Source: Hubspot

 

A Killer A-Z Client Experience is Your Best Lead Gen Tool

Yes, of course the stuff you do to get brand-spankin’ new leads in the first place matters. Of course it does. Your brand messaging has to be spot on—yada, yada, yada—all the stuff you normally hear from me. 

But the clients you already have are the very best leads—both in terms of a continuing relationship AND a source of referrals. So the magical unicorn of a lead gen system? It’s not just your marketing—it’s how you deliver on your promises and the way you make people feel.

What’s more? It’s definitely not rocket science and it really boils down to communications—and when you can show clients you TRULY understand them and then do what you say you will, they’re likely to stick around and rave about you to all of their friends or colleagues.

Building a business by referral and network isn’t the fastest way to go. In fact, I’d argue that it’s playing the long game. But it’s the best way to go—and you never know which clients will make everything take off for you.

 

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