Getting your business’s foot in the door and attracting your initial customers is a daunting endeavor. The difficulty is complicated by the fact that many new home-based businesses aren’t adept marketers and the thought of “sales” scares them.
In reality, even seasoned home company entrepreneurs occasionally struggle with having enough clients or consumers.
The process of prospecting for and guiding potential consumers and clients through a purchase is time-consuming, but it may be sped up by practicing certain skills.
And since many potential consumers or clients won’t buy on their first encounter with you, you also need to build a plan for staying in touch until they are ready to buy.
1. Target new clients with special offers and discounts.
People still seek out bargains and discounts even in the modern economy. Offer deals like buy two get one half off or free gift wrapping on their first three purchases to entice new customers.
Customers who have been contemplating doing business with you but lacked the initial push to make the switch can be attracted by such deals. Then, keep tabs on their purchases and the promotions they’ve claimed to send them more tailored offers in the future and further cement their loyalty.
2. Ask for recommendations
Utilize the customer’s loyalty by soliciting referrals once you have earned them. The greatest way to attract new clients is to keep the ones you already have happy.
But you can’t remain passive and wait for your people to introduce colleagues, friends, and family to your business. Take charge and organize a method for aggressively seeking referrals from your happy clients.
Integrate actions that result in referrals into your regular sales routine. Send follow-up emails to make sure clients are delighted with their purchases, and then follow that up with another email asking for recommendations. Consider adding bonuses if the sale price merits it.
3. Recontact old customers
If you have a list of consumers who haven’t purchased from you in a while, it’s time to dust it off and start marketing again. Make it a habit to do this on a certain timetable (maybe every three months) and target consumers you haven’t spoken to in a while.
Send them a “We miss you” greeting by email, direct mail, text, or phone and give them a discount or incentive to return.
4. Network like crazy
The best method to get your name out there is to introduce yourself to new people and explain what you do. Participate in business groups such as trade associations, chambers of commerce, and networking groups. Attend Meetup events.
If you operate a local business, simply coming to PTA meetings might be a wonderful networking opportunity. Approach networking with a “How can I assist you?” mindset, rather than thinking, “What’s in it for me?”
5. Improve your website.
The internet has become the primary tool for both B2C and B2B shoppers to discover new companies. As a result, bringing in new business requires some serious heft from your website.
Check your site’s design, content, images, and search engine optimization to make sure they’re up to date. If this isn’t your area of expertise, consider hiring a web design firm and/or an SEO specialist for assistance.
6. Join forces with similar companies
An excellent strategy for bringing in new clients without breaking the bank is to form strategic alliances with firms that have a target audience but aren’t direct competitors.
Having a collaboration with a company that specializes in maternity wear, for instance, might be a terrific idea if you offer baby items.
7. Boost your reputation as an expert.
By publicizing your knowledge and experience in the field, you may get new clients and increase sales from your current clientele.
You may make a positive impression on possible new consumers and clients by participating in industry panels, hosting webinars or workshops, presenting at industry events or to groups your target customers belong to or hosting educational sessions.
If you own a business that sells to other businesses, you should try this strategy.
8. Participate in community events.
Most individuals, prefer to patronize locally owned companies. Participating in local charity activities and gatherings is a great way to make a name for yourself in the neighborhood.
Fund a community 5K, collect “gifts for kids” over the holidays, or outfit a Little League team in your area. The increased brand awareness will ultimately result in more business.
A 4-Phase Plan for Expanding Your Customer Base
First, identify your ideal clientele.
You may save both time and money by targeting customers who are interested in and able to pay for what you’re selling. However, not enough first-time entrepreneurs consider who they’re trying to reach before launching their businesses.
Instead of carefully crafting their marketing message, they scatter it around the internet without any thought, increasing the likelihood that it will fall flat.
A more efficient and successful approach to marketing is to first determine the most probable customer of your product or service.
How old are they? Which gender? Where do they come from financially? Knowing who your market is, makes it easier to reach them and offer messages that persuade them to check out your product or service.
Find out exactly who you want to buy from you before you go out and try to sell to anyone else.
Compile a List of Prospective Customers and Clients
Making a list of potential consumers or clients is as essential to starting and maintaining a business as it is to plan a party.
If you want to make a quick sale and acquire recommendations, listing individuals you know is an excellent place to start. However, you can also get information about possible customers from other places. Here are just a few:
Your personal network consists of the people who are most likely to buy from you, regardless of whether or not they are your target demographic. Or, maybe they don’t need your product or service but know someone who does or would be ready to tell others about it.
Whether you’ve already made a few transactions, you should check in with your current clientele to determine if they have any more need for your offerings. It’s much less work to sell to a satisfied client who has already bought from you than to find a brand new one.
Get on the phone and ask people you know if they know of anyone who may benefit from your product or service. Offer a bonus for referring friends and family.
Exhibitions, such as those seen at trade shows or craft fairs, maybe a terrific opportunity to meet potential new clients and consumers, especially if you’re in the business-to-business sector (B2C). At events, you can build your contact list even if you don’t make a sale.
Speaking at conferences or hosting your own seminars is a great opportunity to showcase your knowledge and experience. If public speaking gives you the jitters, maybe you should join a panel at an event.
You may meet other local companies, learn from experts in your field, and more by joining your local Chamber of Commerce and participating in their many networking events. Joining organizations composed of your ideal clientele is yet another choice. If you’re trying to reach other mothers, you might want to consider joining a mommy and me club. It’s another thing that may be accomplished online using Linkedin and other social media.
Connected online communities: Social networking is a great location for service firms to meet new consumers and expand their client base. How many people follow you on social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin? You shouldn’t bombard them with sales pitches, but you should engage them in conversation to raise your profile and establish a connection.
Get a prospect list for sale: In a bind, you may buy mailing or contact lists of prospects that meet your target market. This is costly and generally yields poor results (demographics, location, etc). If you search Google for “mailing lists,” you’ll get results for dozens of businesses. Direct mail marketing is the most common use of this list, but telephone and email contact information may also be included.
Get in Touch
The next step is to make contact with potential customers once you have compiled a list. Here are a few suggestions.
Many individuals are put off by the prospect of making cold calls, but you may increase your chances of success by first determining what problems your potential customers are having and then offering your product or service as a solution. Talk about your product or why you’re calling in a natural, conversational way. Keep in mind that you can’t sell by telling. If you do all the persuading, it won’t be easy to sell your goods or service. By shifting the conversational focus to the other party through inquiry and the presentation of value, you may avoid having the call become all about you.
End on a call to action, such as getting them to sign up for a free trial or providing their contact details so you can give them further information. Last but not least, if someone indicates they aren’t interested, you may always inquire if they know somebody who might be.
Though an email introduction isn’t as good as a face-to-face meeting, it’s less intimidating and may lead to amazing things. The key is not to send a simple “buy” email, but to provide actual value to the recipient instead. Introduce yourself briefly and provide something of value, such as a discount or an informative article. Keep in mind that unsubscribing options are mandated by anti-spam regulations and should be included in all communications. Some further reading material about email marketing is provided below.
Personal Interactions: There are several opportunities to meet prospective consumers and clients face-to-face. For business-to-business transactions, a visit to their establishment is acceptable. If you want, you may also arrange a business or consumer-to-business meeting via phone. Prospects may be found just about anywhere; the grocery store, the airport, the airline, etc.
There are a few essentials to keep in mind for successful face-to-face selling. You shouldn’t spill the beans all at once. Instead, you should learn what it is they need and desire and then offer it in a way that emphasizes how your product or service can solve their problem. Keep promotional materials on hand at all times to aid in this endeavor (such as samples or catalogs). Remember to close with a call to action and a commitment to follow up.
Regular Mail: Although it doesn’t have quite the same success rate as email, direct mail is a fantastic tool for raising brand recognition. Make the item (postcard, brochure, letter, etc.) you intend to send. You have the option of manually addressing and stamping the completed product or having a fulfillment center do it for you. If you have a lot of mail to send out, it might save you time and money to have a fulfillment center handle the addressing, stuffing, and stamping for you. A fulfillment center may save you up to 40% on your postal costs by taking advantage of the bulk stamp discount. However, mail with a stamp applied by hand can appear less like spam.
The key to success lies in what comes afterward. A lot of people are going to tell you “no.” When someone says “no,” they mean it. However, for some, the answer of “no” is only permanent for the moment.
When company entrepreneurs repeatedly encounter rejection, they often quit. However, just 20% of deals are closed after the initial contact. Five or more touchpoints are often necessary to close a deal.
The ability to take criticism and keep believing in oneself are prerequisites for success in the customer acquisition game. A person’s “no” now is no guarantee of the same answer tomorrow.
The secret is to set up a follow-up strategy that isn’t bothersome, like an email list or a commitment to contact again in six months.
Use a free customer relationship management (CRM) database to keep track of your interactions with leads and prospects. Set up alerts on your calendar to remind you to contact people who declined at a later date.
The procedure for acquiring customers is simple. In order to make a sale, you must first get people interested in learning more about you through your marketing efforts.
You should collect their contact information during this procedure, whether through an automated email follow-up service or your own database of customers. Last but not least, you need a method of maintaining contact for as long as they are interested in hearing from you.