When you need clients fast it’s normally because something has gone wrong.  You might have just set up on your own and not planned ahead.  Maybe you got fired from your job or the agency you worked for went under.  Maybe you just lost a lot clients in a short space of time or maybe you just didn’t plan for your tax bill.  No matter the reason, when you need clients fast – you need them – fast.

I’ve been there.  Everything in this post is from personal experience and been proven by me to work in my own business.  Literally everything.

In this post I’m going to cover emergency client acquisition.  This is not going to be a long term fancy marketing strategy and onboarding post.  This is gong to be about down and dirty selling like your life depended on it.  Some of what ‘m suggesting here will seem desperate.  You shouldn’t have to do cold calling, but you got yourself into this situation and this advice will get you out of it.

Before I go too far I want you to think about a couple of things.  First – if this works you’ll have clients.  That’s good but might also be bad.  You’ll have the clients but they might turn out to be evil time sucker.  Take a moment to remind yourself of what kind of clients you want.  In your panic you probably don’t care too much but take a second to consider that even in your hour of need you can still choose who to work with.  Who is your ideal prospect.

Step One : Profile your ideal customer.  Write down some basic qualifying criteria  such as sectors you like working with, geographic constraints, size and so forth.   Once you start prospecting those businesses use the following to further qualify them.

1 – Do they understand what you do
2 – Do they need what you do
3 – Can you deliver for them
4 – Can they afford it
5 – Do you want to work with them

If the answer is no to any of these then don’t waste any more time.  Move on and move on fast.

Step Two : Take action. You need to network your ass off and you need to cold call. Both at the same time. You don’t get to pick one – you have to do both.


Who do you know ? : Most people know 800 or so people.  You’ll be no different.  How many of these 800 know what you do?  Not many I bet. You need to change that.  If you never shared your business through your own Facebook then start right now.  Start with the people who know you.

Networking Groups : Groups like BNI only exist to help you find clients.  If you need clients fast then a BNI group is a pretty sure bet.  You don’t have to join but start visiting and networking.  There will be one near you.

Nexus points : Instead of looking for the one client – look for the one introducer who can connect you with many prospects.  If you are in PPC then reach out to web designers, PR companies, copywriters and so on.

Do not : Don’t be tempted to do this online.  It won’t work in the time you need.  If people haven’t met you they won’t connect with you.

Focus on giving : In all the networking you do be clear about what you’re looking for but focus just as much on helping others.  People will be far more likely to help you if you helped them – or at least signalled the intention.

Cold calling

Cold calling feels dirty.  It takes practise to get it right but if you need clients fast then there’s no better way.  You need to brace yourself for rejection and move from one call to the next as quickly as you can.  Targets are a great help with cold calling. Before you start I want you to understand the process a little. There are three steps to a cold calling campaign.

If you really want to get this right read Fanatical Prospecting by Jeb Blount ( I did and it changed my sales forever. )

Step One – Scripting your call and objection planning.  When you get on the phone you need to know what you’re going to say.  You need to anticipate the prospects responses and be ready with an answer which moves you forward.

Your goal is to get a meeting.  Thats all.  Don’t try to sell on the phone.

Step Two – Make a prospect list

You need to start making a list of the businesses you want to call.  The you sit down to make calls you want to move quickly form one call to the next.  Before you start calling make sure you have a list of twenty or so calls to make and have all the information like the contact name you want to speak to and background on the business and how you might add value.

Step Three – Make the calls.

Call anxiety is a big issue for sales people.  You’ll experience it too but you need to get past it.  This is going to be hard but it will work.  Start making the calls and you’ll be surprised by the results.  If you’ve done your objection handling right you should get past initial rejection.

Cold calling is incredibly effective.  I know you are in digital marketing and are for that reason probably near religiously opposed but if you need clients fast you need to cold call. Get over yourself.  Build prospecting and cold calling into your daily routine.  Spend around twenty minutes prospecting and forty minutes calling every day and your clients issues will be solved in two weeks.

CRM System

All this networking and cold calling will quickly become chaotic if you don’t start tracking things in a CRM system.  If you have budget then look at Contactually.  If you don’t then Hubspot sales CRM is free.  You will get some sales fast but you will also discover opportunities and relationships that need long term nurturing.  A CRM will help you stay organised in the long term.


While I hope you won’t have to focus on these actions forever they’ll get you the best short term results.  I’ve spoken to many of agency owners and they all report that although their business is digital marketing of one flavour or another, most of their work comes through referral.  This is true of both the small local agencies and the really big name conference speakers.

I was going include a section in this post about social media and how it can contribute to getting clients fast.  But honestly, if you need clients fast then get off social media and start meeting people.

I wish you luck but with this post – you shouldn’t need it.

About Bob Gentle

I work with businesses of all sizes on digital marketing, host the Amplify digital marketing entrepreneur podcast and work with entrepreneurs to help them amplify their business online.