10 Top Tips For Finding New Customers
Every business needs new customers/clients, it's an ongoing process. However, in the rush to actually do what we need to do to bring in the money (and keep our customers happy), owners can often forget to keep their pipeline of potential customers primed full of leads and prospects.
So how can entrepreneurs make sure that they have a ready stock of new customers, and potential customers, to keep their income flowing?
Here's my top tips.
My NUMBER 1 golden rule: You MUST set aside time every day to develop your revenue streams and bring in more money – at least one hour, if not two. If you don’t at the moment, start today. It’s the only way to ensure that you have a regular flow of income. Oh, and even if you’re doing well, you still need to go out and look for more clients. You need a consistent pipeline of good, qualified leads: from the freezing cold to the boiling hot. More leads, more money.
2. Know your customer inside out: The more you know about your customer, starting with your current ones, the more new ones you can bring in. That may make you scratch your head - but it's true. Customer needs change on a regular basis; when was the last time you spoke to those you're currently working with or selling to, and asked them why they buy from you? What they like, or don't like, about your offer? The more you know, the easier it is to then find new ones - and, crucially, ensure that you're actually offering what they want.
3. Get networking! Networking is a great way of finding new customers, and it doesn't even feel like you're selling! Building relationships with other business owners is really important; they might not need your service but they may well know others who do - and word of mouth marketing is proven to be many times more successful than cold calling or sending out leaflets and emails.
4. Get some testimonials: I love testimonials, they are so powerful and compelling. Personal testimony from someone who's used your product or service is a great way of showing why other people buy from you and how you've added value to them. Make sure you put them on your website, at the bottom of emails, and regularly use them across social media.
5. Have conversations! Whilst we're on the topic of social media, don't use it as a way of pushing out news - have conversations with other users. Comment on interesting topics, ask questions, re-tweet or post other peoples content, and start to see it as a form of networking; which it is! I've made some great connections for my businesses on social media, and brought in some valuable clients as a result, just by chatting to other people.
6. Show your customers/clients how much you appreciate them: I'm not really a fan of discounts, however, I make an exception for those who bring me new clients. After all, the new client has cost me nothing to find - so it's the least I can do, and everyone's happy (plus a discount suggests that my client will buy another item or service from me, of course; yielding yet more income). See it as a finders fee...
7. Treat your customer as though they were a member of your family or your best friend: My first business was so successful, not least because we treated our clients like gold. We answered their calls and questions immediately, sorted out problems within 24 hours, were flexible in our offer to suit their needs, and sent them cards and gifts for birthdays and Christmas. Nothing was too much trouble. The result? We had 100% repeat business and 95% recommendation rates.
8. Revisit your offer: Have customers stopped buying from you? Are your marketing efforts falling on deaf ears? Maybe you need to revisit, and refresh, your offer. Is your design right? Are you actually selling what people want? Does your USP resonate with them? A refresh should be carried out on a regular basis in any case; maybe yours is now due.
9. Get some press: By now, you will have something interesting to share with other business owners. So how can you do that, and raise your profile at the same time (and bring in new customers?). Invite local journalists into your business, and show them what you do. Offer freebies for a competition, or run a reader offer through their publication or platform. Write some thought leader articles, showing you as the go-to in your field. Remember to accompany these with some well-placed testimonials from happy customers. You're an expert on what you do, show potential customers or clients why they need your services or products too.
10. Don't give up. It's easy to get disheartened when customers stop coming through the door, or potential clients decide to work with someone else. However, remember why you started - and keep at it. Go back to the drawing board. Do the basics again: competitor analysis, customer profiling, marketing and sales planning. Speak to current clients or past customers, and sell to them again. Find something they want or need, and supply it. Get out there and tell people about what you do. Sales is a numbers game; the more you do, the more success you have.