Last week our Biz Tip article examined the sales funnel in general. This week we will help you to attract more quality clients, while improving your client conversion rate and your branding at the same time.

If you want to attract better clients, you must start by describing your perfect client. Be able to describe them demographically and geographically. Ask yourself where do they live, how much money do they make and what other traits do they share? What life events may cause them to need your services?

Once you can describe the perfect client, allocate all of your marketing efforts to target them. It is important to remember the time you spend working with the wrong customer prevents you from working with the right one. It is OK to fire a client or refer them to someone else if they are not the right client for you.

Your marketing plan should include ways to generate business by referral. Direct referrals have a much higher closure rate and lower acquisition cost. Identify your best sources for potential referrals and design a marketing plan to reach these sources.

Once you connect with potential referral partners, they become prospects in the sales funnel. Now you need to convert them using your sales processes, much like you did with your clients. The sales process is different for referral sources. It is important to consider things like your follow-up process and how you will add value to the referral relationship.

As you fill your sales funnel with more referrals, your closure rates will automatically go up. If your sales process converts a high percentage of new referral sources, your business will grow exponentially.

Clients who do business by referral typically will tell other people about their experience. Their collective voices become your brand. Doing business by referral improves your ability to brand your business.

Bill Nordbrock is vice president of community relations for SCORE Southern Arizona, a nonprofit group that offers free small-business counseling and mentoring by appointment at several locations. For information, go to southernarizona.score.org, send an email to mentoring@scoresouthernaz.org or call 505-3636.