New clients are the lifeblood of your business. If you’re flustered when it comes to attracting them and frustrated about what you need to do with your marketing this brief talk might help. I will be sharing a 7-point checklist on what you need to look out for and do to win more new business.
1. Reduce the Risk and Boost the Reward
You are a risk. Who would have thought it? Let me qualify that...doing business with you presents a risk to someone who hasn't done so before. They don't know you or your team, your product or service, your trustworthiness, or anything else about you for that matter. Your prospect needs assuring. Their multitude of doubts, fears and questions need addressing to their satisfaction - or ideally beyond. So be aware this is how they feel and these are the sorts of things they are thinking. Find ways of reducing the perceived risk of doing business with your company and improving the perceived reward.
2. Really clear and compelling offer and value proposition – it has to grab them
Trotting out "we use the latest XYZ technology and ABC platform" or variations of this bore and deter new prospects. It fails to persuade prospects and pushes them nearer to clicking the back button, delete key or needing to go to a non-existent meeting.
What can you do for your prospect? What value will your product or service add? What problem will you solve for them? A good guide here is that if a 12 year old can get your sales schpiel it's pitched about right. Imagine you have seconds to persuade them - actually, believe that you do - because you do. 'What's in it for them?' is your benchmark question.
3. Define who you are targeting – you can then focus on and persuade them more effectively
The more you know about who you are trying to sell to the better. There are two elements to this:
- finding your potential customers
- communicating with them in a persuasive
Where they are located, what industry or sectors they tend to be in, what their income or turnover is etc will help you build a picture of who you are trying to sell to. You could get more detailed and granular, which will only put you in a better position to sell to and persuade them. What do they care about? What kind of character does your customer to be - professional or informal, sociable or more introvert?
The more focused and specific you are the more successful you are likely to be, as with most things in marketing.
4. Get your advertising, website and conversion right
New business takes time to win - that is unless you are willing to pay to attract your target market. Online advertising though Pay Per Click or on social media platforms and email marketing are the primary routes - not forgetting the many and varied offline options. Your advertising needs to engage your prospect and motivate them to buy, enquire or request a quotation or consultation. If you succeed, the next stage is your website or sales team - depending how your business is set up. These need to be geared up and fine tuned to take the baton from the advert and progress the potential customer and convert them into a paying new customer. The other medium is your email marketing strategy. Once someone signs up, you need an effective strategy to convert them depending on what they enquired about. Your business and marketing is effectively a funnel - you want maximum numbers coming into the top and maximum percentages filtering through and converting into customers.
5. It’s a process, not a one-hit event – a first date not “marriage on sight”
Picture this...two people meet and get talking. An attraction develops as they chat and connect. Then one of them proposes marriage. As crazy as that sounds, all too often we see that happen in business. 'Buy now', 'Sign up' etc absolutely need to be firmly in place - but only when it's appropriate - when the prospect has enough information to be able to weigh up their decision and can reasonably go ahead with the purchase or contract. Now there is an old sales maxim 'ABC' - Always Be Closing. I am not suggesting hold back in trying to get the sale, but you need to lead and build up to it. If you are going to try to clinch it early in the game, expect to ask again at least once.
6. A formal referral system – who has the customers you want?
Leads or enquiries from a trusted source are warm and will generally have a higher chance of converting as you represent a lower level of risk to the prospect than if it was a cold approach. BUT, if you have a loose and informal 'send people my way' understanding with another business you are missing a trick. You need a firm system in place - assuming the relationship merits it. Think of it as a JV (joint venture) agreement. You could offer a free or discounted service to prospects your partner refers. You could also or alternatively offer a referral commission. This is common in many lines of work. The great thing about it is that you pay on performance.
7. Pure new business is hard and expensive – exhaust other relationships
The final tip is suggested at the risk of going against the point of the post. New business is tough and expensive compared to selling to an existing customer. What we are saying is be 'eyes wide open'. Considering the time, cost and effort of winning new business, exhausting other avenues and prospects before pursuing new business makes sense. These may be previous customers, lapsed customers, previous enquirers etc. Weigh up the cost of sale for a new client and know your numbers. Having said that, guard against being short-termist; once you have paid to acquire a new customer, you have minimal cost of sale for future orders or contracts. Find this all a bit contradictory? Maybe so. But the more you get this and do your numbers, the more savvy you will be about generating new business.
Implementing these in your business
If you have picked up things you can use in your business, my advice is to give them a try. Very little is critical in marketing and sales - unless your committing to a bog fixed expense, you can experiment with something to test it out and see how it performs and how you and your team feel about it.