I’m six months pregnant and I did something recently I should have done months ago – I had a prenatal massage. Ahhh….. heaven. I’ve had this ongoing pain in my shoulder (on the side I carry my 2-year-old daughter, go figure) and it hurt to do pretty much everything. But you know, as a mom, you just suck it up and do it anyway.

I finally broke down at my last OB appointment and asked if I could get a massage for the pain. My doctor gave me the thumbs up with the caveat to make sure the person I went to worked with pregnant women.

So, off to Google I went to see what I could find. What happened from there is a true lesson in how to get more clients for your service-based business the easy way – by making it easy for your clients to sign up!

Lesson #1: Do simple search engine optimization on your website

Into Google’s search field I typed "massage therapist for pregnant women Hudson Valley New York" and you know what happened? Exactly ONE listing came up. (Take note, all you massage therapists in the tri-state area). Thankfully this person had a lovely website that answered my initial questions and a contact form where I could reach her via email (my personal preference for communication).

The lesson? Have a web presence, for sure. But don’t stop there. Be sure to use KEYWORDS in the copy of your text as well as in the code behind your site (the meta-tags) so your site comes up in the search results. Further digging on my part would have given me more listings for massage therapists, but why waste my time when exactly what I was looking for came up instantly?

TIP: My massage therapist’s site had the advantage of having at least one of the keywords I used in my search in the title of her website/company: "Hudson Valley." If you work with clients 1:1 in your local area, consider adding your location and the area in which you service clients to your keywords.

Another positive for this site was the ability to contact her, either via phone or email. Giving your prospects choices on how they can reach you increases your credibility and respects varying needs for contact.

Lesson #2: Quick Follow-Up

The massage therapist responded the same day by phone and quickly answered the questions I had posed for her in my initial contact email.

So, even though I had contacted her via email, she took the initiative to call me, instead of emailing me back. This showed me right away that she was a serious business person, and that she was interested in obtaining me as a client. The fact that she came to the call prepared to answer my questions in a minimum amount of time was an added plus.

I was sold and ready to book my appointment with her, but I needed to juggle schedules with my family. She offered to send me her availability for the next few weeks via email and then I could contact her to book a session when it was convenient for me.

Lesson #3: Quick Follow-Up II

She followed up right away as promised, but unfortunately her email went into my spam folder. (I had given her my personal email address, which is the AOL address I’ve had since 1994, but since AOL filters 35% of all mail, I never even knew it was there.)

One day after that, she called to make sure I’d received her email. I emailed her back and said I hadn’t (and then later found it in my spam folder). She immediately resent her email to both my personal and business email address, and ta-da, there it was.

Do you see the theme of follow-up here? She didn’t wait around for me to make the next move. She picked up the phone and left a quick message to check in. It was neither salesy or pushy – it was gracious and courteous.

Lesson #4: Be Flexible (within reason)

Then the next stumbling block. With my schedule, I try to make any outside appointments in the early evening or on the weekends. She only had appointments available mid-day during the week. I explained my situation and she graciously offered to see me off-hours.

At this point, I was unhappily ready to move on to someone else, but she came through by offering to see me at a time that was much more convenient for me. Yes, that was great customer service in general, but what was REALLY smart about this was now that I’ve experienced her fabulous service, I will be returning for more, AND I will figure out how to do so during her normal business hours.

Lesson #5: Decrease No-Shows

The day before our appointment, she called to confirm our appointment and to make certain that I had received the directions she had emailed (another plus as I didn’t have to spend time figuring them out myself).

Confirming any appointments you have with clients is essential to decreasing the number of no-shows you have. People get busy and honestly forget, so confirming appointments is an easy way to remind them and making sure your slot doesn’t go unfilled.

So…the overall lesson here is that if she hadn’t been easy to find and hadn’t follow-up with me in such a precise and consistent manner, I guarantee that I would still be looking for someone and trying to figure out how to fit an appointment into my schedule ~ or more likely, I would have given up altogether. Instead, she made it super-simple for me to say "yes, sign me up!" and I feel fabulous as a result!

How can YOU follow-up with your potential clients so you can get the same results?

© 2007 Alicia M Forest and ClientAbundance.com

Alicia M Forest, MBA, Multiple Streams Queen & Coach™, founder of ClientAbundance.com, and creator of 21 Easy & Essential Steps to Online Success System™, teaches professionals how to attract more clients, create profit-making products and services, make more sales, and ultimately live the life they desire and deserve. For FREE tips on how to create abundance in your business, visit http://www.ClientAbundance.com.