What is Client Cloning?

“I have no idea why everyone’s interested in new clients.”

So said Bill Bain, founder of Bain & Company, as quoted by author and former Bain partner, Richard Koch.

“We don’t need new clients. We should have built-in growth from existing clients if we’re doing our job correctly,” said Bain.

In an interview with Tim Ferriss, Koch went on to describe Bain & Company as “a fantastically well-run organization. And it grew at 40% a year for 20 or 30 years.”

Note well: An annual growth rate of 40% is more than twice that of billionaire Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. In other words, it’s a license to print money.

Which leads to a big idea: Why chase after new clients when you can clone the ones you have?

By that, I mean delight your current clients so that they stay and buy for years … refer others … while generating testimonials and case studies that sell to more clients just like them.

That’s the power of client cloning.

It’s how you can grow your business by leaps and bounds. Without being held hostage by paid ads or long, costly funnels.

Like Bain & Company.

Or Scott Boras.

If you don’t know him, at $100 million per year, Boras earns the highest salary in Major League Baseball.

What position does he play?


Yes, that’s right.

Scott Boras is a sports agent, specializing in baseball. And he rakes in about $100 million annually from $2.5 billion in contracts he’s negotiated for his clients, who rank among the highest-paid stars in Major League Baseball.

Now, you probably can’t negotiate $814 million in contracts in just 3 days, as Boras once did in 2019. But you can certainly emulate the ways he’s grown his business.

For example, serve your clients exceptionally well.

Players describe Boras as a guy with their best interest at heart. His first client, Bill Caudill, said: “From day one, I knew I could trust Scott.” The Boras Corporation employs attorneys, sports psychologists, financial experts and others — all to serve his clients’ wide-ranging needs in ways that others can’t.

Also, make it personal.

“Boras understands that the most important part of his job is maintaining human relationships [with] clients, talking to them about their injuries, their lives, their relationships, and their kids,” according to an article on Managerskills.org. Which helps prove the adage that nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.

Finally, position your business smartly.

As a former minor leaguer, Boras knows baseball. As a former attorney, he knows negotiating. He got his first clients by selling himself as the only agent who had been a lawyer and a player. It’s a market position that has proven, shall we say, lucrative.

Bottom line: Boras’ clients stay with him for years and do all the advertising for him.

And here’s one more example: Clayton Makepeace.

He’s probably the best copywriter you never heard of.

Before his passing in 2020, Makepeace earned millions in royalties for himself, after generating more than $1 billion in sales for his clients.

He wrote that when some people heard how much he makes, “they figure I must be the most expensive copywriter out there. Baloney. The truth is, my fees are only a measly 8-10% of what I earn for my clients.”

Like Scott Boras, Clayton Makepeace did well — and his clients did even better.

But he routinely took himself off the freelancing market and focused on serving one client exclusively, almost like a one-man version of Bain & co.

For one client, he grew their sales from $360,000 to $16 million a month in one year. For another, he quadrupled their sales to $120 million a year.

And so on, and so on.

Instead of focusing his time, money and efforts on chasing after new clients, Makepeace focused on going deeper with a short list of them, often only one client at a time.

As a result, direct marketing guru Bob Bly wrote that Makepeace earned more than any other copywriter alive at the time.

What is Makepeace’s advice on the subject of going deeper with fewer clients? Simple: Do what it takes to better understand the challenges your client’s business, so you can better fill their needs.

You should also covet clients who are eager to have you participate in a wider range of profit making activities, “and who welcome ideas for sharpening their company and product positioning and their offers.“

Finally, “seek long-term relationships,” wrote Makepeace. “When you’ve found a client you work well with… start a conversation about how you might improve your relationship with them. Consider innovative compensation strategies that work better for both of you, up to and including a multiyear exclusive for that client.”


This is NOT to say that you never need to advertise your business. You do, especially if you’re just launching your business or have a new product or service that nobody’s ever heard of.

However. When you serve your clients right and make a few smart moves, you never have to be a slave to paid advertising again. Not when your current clients are cloning themselves.

How do you do it exactly?

There are two strategies.

1) You can clone your best clients by DOUBLING THEIR VALUE

It’s just like having twice as many clients, but with half the time and effort required to manage them.

There are 3 simple ways to double the value of your current clients.

1. RETAIN clients longer

Want to know a simple secret about client retention?

Start by realizing that retention is a form of connection.

When we talk about retaining clients, we’re really talking about staying connected with them.

And ultimately, all connections are personal. We tend to stay connected to people we like and have things in common with.

Here’s what that means for your marketing: The more personal connections you make with clients, the more likely you are to retain them and keep them buying from you.

Example: Recently, I spoke with a longtime client, David.

We first met at an event for Michigan State alumni. David’s not just a client, he’s a fellow Spartan. Over the years, he and I have done business with each other and sent each other referrals, in part because of that strong personal connection.

Now think about your best clients, the ones you’d like to clone.

How many of them share a personal connection with you to something outside of business?

Are you from the same state? Share a love of running, biking, etc.? Love (or hate) the same sports team, political party, etc.?

Chances are, you have a personal connection to those clients you’ve retained the longest.

Best part: You can make those connections more likely to happen by sharing more personal details about yourself.

In my monthly newsletter, for example, I always share one story about my life outside of work. Usually, it’s about my 50+ baseball team, my family, the obstacle course races I run, etc.

And every month, without fail, those stories generate more feedback than any “brilliant” business tips I share. Because some readers can always connect with what I do outside of work, where most people would rather be anyway.

It boils down to this: People will come for what your business does, but they will stay for how your business make them feel, which is always personal.

The more personal connections you can make with clients, the better they will feel about you — and the longer you will retain them.

2. REACTIVATE clients who have stopped buying from you

Are you looking for new clients?

If so, why spend 90% of your time beating the bushes, trying to persuade strangers to give you their money …

… when there’s an incredibly valuable — and largely untapped — group of buyers, hidden in your business right now?

When you know who they are and how to sell them, it’s like “found money” in the street, just waiting for you to pick it up.

But instead of pennies or dimes … you can “find” as much as $26,066 … $77,098 … even $193,000 in your business.

I’ve done it many times before. And this chapter will show you how.

But, first, who are these valuable buyers?

They are … your inactive clients.

In today’s economy, when it costs 6 or 7 times more to sell to a new client or prospect than an existing one, you need to find a way to tap the equity you’ve built over time with the people who already know you.

What’s the easiest way to do it?

A reactivation campaign.

If you send the right letters or emails and say, “I’ve missed you, I want you back, and here’s something special for you,” you can expect a predictable surge of new sales from dormant clients.

Want an example?

Below is page one of a two-page client reactivation letter, for a strategic consulting firm:

Reactivation Letter example

And here’s what my client said: “We mailed the letter Kevin wrote. The results were pretty incredible — $77,098 in new revenues, with more to come by the end of the year. The return on investment was off the charts!”


The third way your clients can double in value is to give them more, higher levels of products or services to buy. Including some that may seem irrational to you.

Because your clients are not you. They have their own reasons for buying.

Here’s what that means: There’s always a certain sub-set of buyers — anywhere from 2-5% — who always want more. Even if it doesn’t make sense to you.

It may be because they’re super fans of what you do. Like football fans who go shirtless at games in winter and paint their bodies in team colors.

It may be because their self-image demands they always go first class. Like whoever is renting the Odeon Tower Penthouse, in Monaco. At $440 Million, it’s the most expensive apartment on earth.

Or it may be a combination of both.

In any case, when you give your clients more buying choices, they are more likely to buy more, for longer.

Perfect example: The American Express Card.

They offer 19 different kinds of cards, ranging from Blue ($0 annual fee) to Black ($7,500 initiation fee, plus a $5,000 annual fee).

I’m somewhere in the middle, with a Platinum Card, paying $695 a year.

Wait, isn’t paying an annual credit card fee irrational? Even silly?


But membership has its benefits for people like me.

I travel a bit, so I love the free access to airport lounges, as well as $200 back in baggage check fees, free Clear membership ($189 otherwise), and more.

Plus, the Platinum Card is made of real metal which is … just … really cool (and, yes, that’s 10,000% irrational).

Anyway, I’ve been an American Express member since 1996. (Another irrational bit — I’m not card holder or customer, but a member.)

Now, look at your business.

How many clients have you had since 1996?

If the answer is 0 … or you can count them on your fingers … maybe take a page from the American Express Card playbook.

Give your clients more, higher levels of products and services to buy. And consider making them members.

Irrational or not, you’ll retain them longer, and grow your business faster.

Now for the second path to client cloning …

2) You can clone your best clients by LETTING THEM DO THE SELLING FOR YOU

There are 3 simple ways to let your clients sell for you.

1. Ask for more TESTIMONIALS and share them on all platforms

If your business is any good, you should have glowing reviews or testimonials on your website, Yelp, Google Reviews, and/or your LinkedIn profile.

Like these Yelp reviews, for one of my clients:

Testimonial example for a service business from Client Cloning Systems
Testimonials like these are incredibly valuable because they are evergreen referrals.

Whether in writing or on video, testimonials are the words of your clients recommending your business to other people just like them.

You can and should include testimonials in all your marketing collateral: web pages, business cards, order forms, sales letters, email promotions, Facebook pages — ALL of it.

Here’s what that looks like …

  • LinkedIn: Link to your best case studies, testimonials and/or video testimonials from your profile. Also, copy the best testimonials from your website and paste them in your profile. I’ve done so for years. Do the same with any reviews from Google, Yelp, Capterra, etc.
  • Website: Embed your best testimonial videos from YouTube or Vimeo. Include your best LinkedIn recommendations, as well as reviews from Google or Yelp.
  • Email: In your sig file, link to the best 2-3 video testimonials from your website, or to a web page with case studies.
  • Print marketing: Never mail a sales letter or printed newsletter without at least one client testimonial. Same thing with brochures and trade show collateral.

Get the idea?

You may have great client testimonials, but they’re scattered hither and yon. That dilutes their effect and won’t help you.

Resolve to consolidate your testimonials and share them on every platform — online and offline.

That’s one way to let your clients do the selling for you — and clone themselves.

2. Turn testimonials into CASE STUDIES for content

Now take your testimonials to the next level. If a client was happy enough to leave your business a testimonial, they should be happy enough to discuss the reasons why in detail.

All you have to do is ask.

It can be as simple as a 15-minute interview by Zoom or phone, asking your client why those chose you, what it was like to work with you, and what their life is like now.

Once you’ve got that interview with a delighted client recorded, you can turn it into a powerful case study 4 different ways:

  1. Video Case Study for your website, to pre-sell prospects who are looking for your solution. Video works best because it conveys the body language and facial expressions that account for up to 55% of the meaning we get from a conversation.
  2. Written Case Study for your website, to give people searching Google another way to find you. Plus, many people (like me) prefer written materials because they read faster than they can watch a video.
  3. Podcast Interview for your website, as well as iTunes and Spotify. This has all the benefits of being interviewed by a radio program, something I did a lot 15-20 years ago. But a podcast lives forever online. It’s another way for people to pre-sell themselves on your business.
  4. Printed Case Study as collateral for your next trade show. Anything printed is more credible than anything digital because it’s real — we can touch and feel it. That’s why paper and ink will never go away.

Note: Case studies can bypass the need for long, costly funnels. Because case studies from delighted clients build trust quickly and speed up the sales process. The persuasion that used to take weeks or months with traditional, “frontal assault” marketing, may take only minutes with a case study.

3. Turn case studies into ENDORSEMENT LETTERS

Why hope and pray that people find those great testimonials and case studies about your business?

There’s a better way.

With a little work, you can turn almost any case study into an endorsement letter, one that you can send by direct mail to prospects.

Important: An endorsement letter lets you bypass sales resistance because it comes from a person, not a company. Especially if you mail it in a #10 envelope with a stamp (not metered) printed on paper with no corporate letterhead. You can scale “word of mouth” by mailing hundreds or thousands of letters to prospects this way.

An endorsement letter is one of the most powerful b2b direct mail tools I know.

Example: For a company selling high-end b2b software as a service (SaaS), I created a 2-page endorsement letter based on one testimonial from one client. They mailed the letter to 24 target accounts.

They had conversations with 12 of the 24 prospects, set appointments with 6 of them — and put over $300,000 of revenue into their sales pipeline in 60 days.

When last I spoke with them, they had opened over 6 new accounts and were on their way to doubling that $300,000 figure.

And it all began with one testimonial from one client, turned into an endorsement letter.

Let’s recap how you can clone your best clients.

1) You can clone your best clients by DOUBLING THEIR VALUE:

  1. RETAIN clients longer
  2. REACTIVATE clients who have stopped buying from you

2) You can clone your best clients by LETTING THEM DO THE SELLING FOR YOU:

  1. Ask for more TESTIMONIALS and share them on all platforms
  2. Turn testimonials into CASE STUDIES for content
  3. Turn case studies into ENDORSEMENT LETTERS

Curious about how this might work for you?

If so, you’re invited to learn more about I can help you here.


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