As all business owners know, company growth is about finding new clients. As all business owners also know, finding new clients can be a difficult process. There’s really no one-size-fits-all strategy, but here are some tips that can set you in the right direction of finding what works for you and your business.
#1 Grab a Mirror
Start by making sure you are ready to reach out to new prospects. First impressions are everything when they may be the only chance you get to sell yourself. Do you have a solid, established brand identity you can sell? If they research you: Do you have a well-designed and helpful website? Do your other channels (e.g. social media) reflect your brand and help make the sale? If your answer is no, there might be some legwork you need to do before reaching out to new clients.
#2 Who’s Coming to Dinner?
Examine your current customer base to reveal important insights for improvement. What is it about your company that attracts a certain type of client? Maybe you’re not satisfied with your current clientele, and this question will help you figure out what to change so you no longer attract those undesirable prospects. How do you get most of your clients? If you like your clients, this might help you understand how to better reach similar prospects.
#3 Eye on the Target
Next, decide what kind of clients you do want to work with. You’re likely to have more success attracting the right clients if you choose a specific bait rather than just casting a wide net and hoping you catch something worthwhile. Know your ideal client, and it will be easier for you to work on targeting those people in the right way with the right message.
#4 Do Your Research
Now that you know who your target is, you should figure out where and how to reach them. Today, there are many ways to reach out (networking, email, social media, phone, mail, etc.). There is nothing wrong with using digital channels to reach out to prospects, but you should never forget or underestimate the power of a phone call or in-person interaction.
While figuring out how to make contact, learn about the person and company. This lets you make a human connection with the prospect that demonstrates genuine interest. A careful look at the company will also reveal what they might need from you. Then, you can present your company as the solution to their problem, which they may not even see. Use your research to demonstrate that you can offer them something of value and that you truly understand their struggle and how to fix it.
#5 Set Goals
Goals keep us on track and help us measure success. They are also a good way to keep us motivated, like crossing things off a list. These goals could be to increase your profit or contact a specific number of new prospects each day. No matter what you choose, goals ensure we continue to make progress and let us know when what we’re doing isn’t working, at which point we need to try something new.
#6 Be a Cuttlefish*
This is important because no two prospective clients are the same. It may seem obvious to say, but too often we can get engrossed in preparing a script or pitch that we lose our ability to improvise. Every person is different. What works on one prospect may not work on another. We need to be able to see when something isn’t working and adapt. Now, we aren’t knocking preparation, we’re just knocking the wrong kind of preparation.
*Note: Think of a cuttlefish as a fancy, sea chameleon.
#7 Be Authentic
This one is simple enough. Don’t pretend to be something or someone you aren’t. People don’t react to numbers and figures; they react to real people and experiences. It’s not always about what you present but how you present it. Find a way to make meaningful connections.
#8 FOLLOW UP…FOLLOW UP…FOLLOW UP
This one is so important that we had to say it three times. No matter how busy you get, always remember to follow up. When you finish a conversation with a prospect, you can’t always know what’s going through their mind. That excuse you think they gave you might be true. Following up ensures you capitalize on hidden opportunities, and it shows the prospect you truly want their business.
#9 Ask for Referrals
Referrals and word-of-mouth can be the most powerful tool for gathering new clients. Not only does it cost you nothing, but because it's coming from a third party, the information appears more authentic and honest. Don’t be nervous to ask. If your clients like you, they will be excited to share your name with others. It’s also important to be straightforward about the kind of referrals you are looking for so you avoid prospects that don’t fit your criteria.
A Few More Tips
The Team: Remember that every employee (salesperson or not) is a representative of your company.
Elevator Pitch: In 30 seconds, sum up who you serve, what you help them do and how they benefit.
Incentives: Incentives can help distinguish you from competitors and motivate prospects to take action.
Advertise: Advertising can be a great way to get your name out to a variety of audience types (psst…call us; we can help here).