If you are just getting a business started or even growing an existing one, you need to find customers. It can be difficult to get started particularly if you are the kind of person who likes to sell or do not have a good referral network. Here are useful ideas to get you started:
1. Tap into your network
Your network of friends, family, neighbors and colleagues at work provide a great starting point for your marketing efforts. At the beginning, you want to focus on the fruit that is hanging lowest. You find these in your immediate network. In leveraging this network, identify people who are a great fit for the service or product you are selling. This is important because such people will recommend your business to others on their network. Often, it is advisable to create a core customer group that helps you get referrals from which you can generate strong business leads. Also, identify strategic individuals in your network to constitute your core customer group.
2. Create a contact list
The easiest way to do this is to develop a spreadsheet with data fields for first name and last. As you do this, you’ll come across many people that you probably have forgotten about. Include two columns at the end, one labeled lead status and the other labeled lead type. Under the status column, categorize your leads as either cold or warm. Your warm leads would be persons on your list that you would not hesitate to give a call because you are certain they’d receive the call warmly.
Any other person on the list would be a cold lead. Under the lead type column, categorize your contacts as either as a referral source, a potential customer, a mentor or anything else. You’ll find it easier to reach out to each person on your contact list when you know why you need to call them in advance. This also makes it more likely for you to realize your desired results.
After populating all the columns, filter your warm reads and call them up. You can do this in bits by scheduling the number of calls to make each day. If you don’t have phone numbers, use emails. This requires persistence, be ready to email or call several times.
3. Create a customer relationship database
As you reach other to new leads, you’ll need to create a customer relationship database to stay organized. Such a database will remind you who to call back, who is a potential client and who is a great referral spot. If you need help with this, you can find it from platforms such as opporty. Online tools such as Less Annoying CRM, Highrise and Insightly can also help with this on a small budget. For best results, ensure you maintain updated notes on actions, activities and dates on when you’ll need to call your contacts again.
4. Pitch your business to new audiences
Reaching more customers requires that you push the boundaries and reach out to new audiences. Sometimes expansion of your customer base may be a challenge because of a narrowed focus. Using the same methods to pitch your business will hinder your efforts of getting new customers. To overcome this challenge, get out of the comfort zone and try something new. Selling requires that you transfer trust to customers. This means that rather than depending on sales pitches that tend to be comfortable, you go a step further to start building relationships with potential customers. This is a great way to get new customers because by earning trust, you capture their attention. Once this is done, you can start educating them to recognize the value your product offers.
5. Expand your network
Besides having a great business idea and structure, it is necessary to have contacts that are interested in supporting you succeed. While an existing network provides a great place to start growing your network, it is possible to run out of new business leads with that network. To avoid getting in such a situation, it is important that you start working to expand your network early. To grow your network, take advantage of networking events, form partnerships and join organizations.
Another way to do achieve this is to match your relationships with demand by developing a relationship map. This simple tool that matches your best relationships with areas that have high demand for services or products you are selling can help you know who you need to focus on to expand your customer base. Update this map on a regular base so that you continually have new leads to untapped opportunities.
6. Speak in industry events or gatherings
Find communities that require your expertise and get involved as a speaker. Sharing your expertise and experience in such activities at local level enables you to increase your connections. It builds your reputation in the community and positions you as a thought leader in the industry. Business events also provide unique opportunities to interact with potential customers, consider hosting a free workshop during such events to reach out to ideal customers who might be present in these gatherings. Once you stand out at local level, bigger opportunities that place you before more people will come your way with time.