I decided to make this post because I've been seeing a lot of people on these forums mentioning how people who claim to get clients effortlessly are simply bending the truth to make themselves sound more successful or what not. I want to put an end to this type of thinking here and now.
The only way you can make your business attract clients is if you actually begin by believing that in x amount of time, it will. Once this is done and you have an image of an ideal workday that you are willing to work towards, you can begin putting systems into place.
1) Decide to be the best.
Staying motivated and focused is much easier when your goal is simple. To be better today than you were yesterday...every day. This could include implementing an auto-mailed $25 Starbucks gift card whenever a client spends $2,000 with you, designing a referral engine to implement in an e-mail campaign to you client base, or answering every call by the 3rd ring as opposed to the 6th. There's always something you can do to be better.
2) A Clients' Words Are 10x More Powerful Then Your Own
Testimonials, video testimonials, referrals, case studies, and quotes. Collect as many as you can and use them effectively. Social proof will take you very very far in business. So few businesses understand how valuable it is. You should make it a priority to receive a video testimonial or an audio testimonial from every satisfied client you have. Simply say "You will inspire 100s of business owners to take action just like you did, is that ok with you?" Once you have these testimonials, put them on the home page of your website, the more the better. Put them also wherever your prospects might find you, Google Places, Yelp, etc.
3) Pre-screen Clients
Just because a client is willing to pay you money for your services doesn't mean you should take it. At first when starting, it's ok when you need revenue badly, but after a certain point you need to be selective with your clients. This is crucial to having an authority business. You must be ware of clients who could do harm to your reputation and your workflow. This includes bargain hunters and high maintenance clients.
4) Get To The Top of Google (It'll take you a while, start now.)
Think about this...your competitor who is #1 right now for your keyword....started out not even having a website at some point. At that point, another competitor was #1, and he knocked him down. Start ramping up your SEO efforts for your own business today, and don't stop until you are #1. It took me 7 months to get to #1 and I held it until I closed the business. Best business move I've ever made.
5) Tune Your Referral Engine
Want to take your business to the next level? Start by pretending that you have a referral engine. This referral engine, when used, gives you 3 referrals a month on it's own. This just means your happy clients are telling their network about your work, without you asking them to. You can increase the output of your referral engine exponentially by running some diagnostics, examining it, and tuning it. There are hundreds of ways to tune your referral engine, pick up a few books on referral based marketing and educate yourself on them.
6) Never Stop Innovating, Learning, and Testing
Constantly strive to offer a better service, charge a higher premium, lower your costs, provide more value to your customers, and make them say "Wow". Businesses who provide a good service are a dime a dozen. Want to really live the good life and have a business that you're proud of? Do what you have to until your clients are saying "Wow...". Those are the businesses that can survive any recession or difficult time. Don't get categorized with the "good" businesses...stand apart.
One last thing, books have been written on this topic and I tried to keep it short, so please do your best to refrain from calling BS or saying how I left out so and so. This is just a simple briefing on what it takes to get a business that sells itself. Until you get to that point, you will have to cold call, you will have to take some crappy jobs, you will have to spend 8 hours a day just marketing your business. Hang in there, get through the tough times, and implement the systems necessary to make a great business that any client would love to work with.