Relying on too few customers can leave you vulnerable – losing just one could mean a cash flow crisis. By consistently making an effort to bring in new business.
You’ll reduce your risk of failure and grow your business in a sustainable way. Here are nine tips to help you win new business.
In a perfect world, you would have an unlimited budget to market your business in order to find new customers and increase sales.
You could buy lots of online and offline advertising, run promotions to build traffic in store and o, and launch a proactive public relations campaign to increase your product or brand’s visibility and awareness.
But this isn’t a perfect world. Realistically, most small businesses and even many mid-sized firm have more great ideas on how to peddle their wares than available resources.
Know Your Customers
Before you can find new customers and increase sales, you need to understand who your customer is, what value proposition you offer to customers, and what your competition is currently offering in the market and where there are gaps for a new entrant.
In other words, you need to do some market research — whether that means hiring an outside firm to do the legwork or trying to do it yourself. There’s an underlying disconnect between your motivation to increase sales and your customer’s motivation to solve their problems.
Build a profile of potential customers – in particular, think about what they want and how you can appeal to them. Always aim to offer something unique or better value for money than your competitors.
Give Incentives To Existing Customers
Offer discounts on future purchases or even commission, if your existing customers introduce new customers to you. You can as well try a rebate.
With an instant rebate, such as what is often used in the auto industry (“only $33,999 with a $5,000 rebate”), the customer is rarely handed the cash. Instead, the rebate amount is applied as a discount to the purchase price. For mail-in rebates the customer pays in full and then receives the rebated amount by mail at a later date.
The sky is the limit when it comes to incentives! Most incentives fall into one of the following categories.
- Price reduction – rebates, coupons for dollars or percentage off, and “buy one get one”-type offers
- Loyalty programs – punch cards and points systems such as buy 10 coffees and get the 11th free, frequent flier miles, and insurance discounts given based on the consecutive number of years insured with that company
- Free samples – the sample itself (such as diapers and baby formula mailed to expectant mothers) is the incentive
- Bonus product with product trial – test drive a motorcycle and get a free pair of sunglasses
- Bonus product with purchase – buy $100 worth of cosmetics and get a free cosmetics carrying case
- Free upgrade with purchase – buy a car and get free floor mats
- Trade up programs – bring in your infant car seat and get a discount on a toddler car seat
- Options at time of purchase – buy an RV and get a choice of either a free generator or a free extended warranty
- Sweepstakes and prizes – complete our survey and be entered into our free drawing
- Free information – give us your contact information to receive our free white paper; take our survey and we’ll send you the industry-wide results.
- Promotional items – stop by our trade show booth and we’ll give you a free smart phone holder.
Affiliate Marketing For Consistently making Profit
Look at non-competitive products or services that are reaching out to the same audiences.
See if there are ways you can collaborate through shared outreach efforts such as newsletters, mailings (online and offline) or co-branding opportunities.
You probably can uncover a handful of like-minded products or services that are talking to your customers. Suggest to these business owners ways your businesses can support each other.
Your customers will see joint efforts as a value-added opportunity to reinforce their choice of brands.
Networking Is Key For Consistently Making Profit
This can be done the old-fashioned way, by getting involved in community organizations, such as the chamber of commerce, or attending business functions, such as trade shows. Social functions — dinner invitations, book clubs, etc. — can also lead to potential business.
All of those kinds of things are important ways to network to find new customers.
Networking has also taken a 21st Century twist on the Internet, with the rise in popularity of such websites as LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Plaxo.
Many businesses find that this type of networking, making contacts through friends or former colleagues, can lead to new customers.
Advertising Is A way To Go for Consistently Making
Typically businesses are encouraged to spend 3 to 5 percent of their revenue on advertising.
But a small business needs to make sure that advertising is effective. One way to do this is to ask your customers where they heard about you so that you can measure what is effective.
In addition, you also have to carefully pick your markets for advertising to make sure you’re reaching your target audience.
If you’re targeting an older audience, newspaper ads might be the way to go. But if it’s Gen X or Y you’re after, then you may be better off advertising online or on TV. You’ve got to define your demographics before you develop your advertising or marketing plan for consistently making money.