How to Build Your Client List

Now I’m sure you’ve heard you need a list. Most of the time when people say, “your list” they mean your email list. I’m going to dive in deeper than that with you today. When I say the word “list” I’m talking about potential clients. I’m talking about people you could work with, have worked with, or would like to work with.

For a free excel template, click the image.

For a free excel template, click the image.


I use this logic to organize my list, by Hot, Warm or Cold. Some also use A, B, or C. However you’d like to organize is fine by me, but the point is this is people you have worked with (Hot list or A list), people you could work with (warm list, or B list) and people you would work with (Cold list, or C list).


Your Hot list:

Should be people you have worked with already and you both had a great experience, they would hire you again in a second. This list is also people you are close to who are loyal to you and would definitely use you above anyone else. Your Hot list is made up of your biggest fans.

Your Warm list:

Should consist of the people you know who need your help, but they need a little more convincing or time getting to know you. These people are often looking for your services, but haven’t decided who to use yet.

Your Cold list: 

Are people who have either opted out in the past and chose someone else over you, OR they are people who you’d truly LOVE to work with but they don’t know you exist yet.

Download a free Excel Template to help organize your list: CLICK HERE

Each of these lists is organized in such a way that it should be constantly evolving moving and growing. If your list is staying exactly the same, you’re not doing something right.


So how do you actually go about growing your list??

Let’s break that down.


Most of the time you hear you need an opt-in of some sort, a way to get people from the interwebs to participate in your business. This is great! If you’re growing your newsletter subscriber list, but today we are talking about real bonafide clients in your general vicinity. Because the reality is, you have a service-based business and you need clients to LOVE what you do and choose YOU to provide that service.


The best part is this isn’t complicated, but it does require action and intentionality from you.


Pep talk time: if you’re hoping to grow a business without having to put much effort in, think again. Creating, owning and cultivating a business takes effort…but you can do it! You just have to decide to. Businesses don’t just automatically grow. It’s like a garden, you can’t just take a seed, place it on the floor and watch it grow. You have to plant it, water it, monitor it, protect it and then ultimately enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Okay tangent over.


To grow your list, you need to be involved, listen and act.

Building a client list is about being involved in people’s lives. You need to listen to what people are saying and catch on to those little nuggets of “change”. What’s changing in someone’s life? Change is always happening and you have to listen if it relates to what you can help with.


Say you’re Senior Photographer, you know graduation season is around the corner. Who in your life is graduating? Who’s friend of a friend, or sister’s cousin, or neighbors kid?

Say you’re a Real Estate agent and you just found out Sally and Michael are having a baby! YAY! Well, they might need more space, or be looking for a new neighborhood that has better schools soon.

You get involved and you listen for change. People love to proclaim what I consider to be TMI (too much information) constantly on social media. But you know who that’s great for? YOU! Hop on your favorite social media outlet, and start “listening” for change. Who’s got what going on? Add them to your list.



Now, the last, and frankly most important part of this entire how-to is…

Action. Action is always required in business.

If you don’t have action with your client list, you will more than likely not grow your business. Even if you look at your business, and think, my clients are based off of referrals only, I don’t need a list. WRONG. That already is a list, those people referring you are helping you grow your list, and if you don’t act on those referrals – you don’t grow your business.

Taking action means following up with your lists and cultivating them.


Your HOT list should be hearing from you constantly. They’re in it to win it for you, and you want to keep them engaged and educated with your business.

Your WARM list needs more convincing, so you need to talk them through it, show them how you can help and don’t take it personally if they say no. GIVE them everything you can to help and keep You top of mind.

Your COLD list needs to feel special, but not overwhelmed. Make a positive introduction and stay in touch.


In all of these areas we start to hop into the realm of marketing, which I will definitely be going into soon, but for now if you don’t know where to start, download my free workbook “How to Start Branding Yourself Today” and start at the basics. This workbook helps you choose your favorite modes of communication and when you are following up with your list you should refer back to this workbook and stick to your branding before you make contact/connections.


When it comes to growing our client lists, we can feel really lost, but it’s quite simple. We need to be engaged and listening to the people around us. You are in this business because you love helping people and you wanted to make a living at it. This is how you should approach your client list. You LOVE what you do, and you know you can help!

To watch a video and download a FREE excel template to help organize your list, click here: