Posted by Keith Jolie on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 Under: Strategies
How do I get clients?This is a question that every business needs to examine continuously in order to continue to exist. For a start-up / new business, understanding where your business is coming from and where to find new business is easily the difference between success and failure. In the next few posts to the Getting Brighter Ideas Blog I'm going to a deep dive into the various ways that you can find customers for your business and today I'm going to start by giving an overview of some of the best ways to get started if you're a new business or start-up. Here they are:
1. Former colleagues, clients and other contactsThis is especially useful if your business is within a field that you've worked in for some time. Perhaps you worked for an architect and now you have a lighting design company - maintaining great relationships with former employers, colleagues and clients can lead to either your first sales or perhaps your first referrals. After all - these people have worked with you and know what you're capable of so reach out and talk to them.
TIP: Since you're familiar with their businesses, take the time to consider how what you offer will benefit them and what you'd want to know if it were you receiving the call.
2. Friends and family networkThis isn't so much about selling directly to your friends or family (unless there is a clear reason to do so) but rather ensuring that each of them know what you do and that you'd value their referrals, ideas and suggestions. Each of your friends may have over 100 close professional connections and making sure they know what you're doing may be the difference between a good month and a great month.
3. SearchBeing found when potential customers are searching for businesses like yours is incredibly important - maintaining your presence with companies like google, linkedin, yelp, foursquare and so on are all part of the equation and presenting a consistent brand across all of those properties will drive better clients to you.
4. Local businessesDo you have a product or service that may benefit the businesses in your neighbourhood? get out and talk to them and make sure they know who you are. When they have a need or when someone asks them if you know anyone - you'll be top of mind.
5. Business associations and conferencesIf you work within a particular niche market then there is probably an association and perhaps conferences that you can attend that will help you to meet many clients at once. Be careful here... If you're a wedding photographer, you probably don't want to join a wedding photographer association to find clients, but attending a bridal show...good idea.
6. The newsUse google alerts to monitor news stories related to your business if appropriate, or simply watch the local news for stories about government or private initiatives that may have implications for your business.
7. The governmentThe government (at all levels) is a big potential customer that buys a wide assortment of products and services. I've attended workshops put on by the Canadian Government and was astounded at the variety of purchases made and also at how possible it is for a small provider to successfully compete for government business.
8. Repeat clientsProviding great service to existing clients is one of the best ways to ensure a future revenue stream.
9. ReferralsHand in hand with repeat clients are referrals - repeat clients will refer you to other customers, but you should ask the question "can you recommend another company that you think I should speak to about my services?" I'll be providing some more detail and specific strategies about all of these in upcoming posts and please be sure to leave a comment if you can suggest other ways to find customers.
By Keith Jolie
In : Strategies
Tags: "how do i get clients" "how do i get customers" "find customers"
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