How To Gain New Clients and Customers!
One of the hardest parts of a business is not setting up all the inter workings of accounting and legal. It is finding people who want your service. Part of my role in business development consulting is helping businesses, and products find customers, clients and new markets.
From there, it is about developing new customer relationships and making sure they stick!
This post will be focused a lot one doing a few things besides finding new clients and customers.
But first, how do you get new customers or clients?
If your product is too new, then you have to convince people that your product or service is needed.
If your product is more established, then you are stick differentiating your product from all the others?
So, I will ask again. How do you get new clients?
There are two overlying themes:
- Increase Your Network Size
- Create Strong Relationships
Here are 25 tips to increasing your network size, creating better relationships and finding new customers!
1.Make Sure People Know You Are Selling? Simple, But Hard
If people don’t know you exist, if you are trying to drop ship on Amazon but you are the last result, if your youtube video has no likes, if your consulting service is on the last page of google. You might as well not exist.
This is a similar idea when you work on a corporate team. If no one is affected by the project you are working on. Then you might as well not have done it!(That is why people can hide in large companies)
You don’t want to hide! You want to get clients!
Like I have said before, it is all about hype. That will never change as long as we have a capitalist society.
Why do people buy products? Why, no really, why?
It starts with them knowing your product exists.
This is why I talk about “Hype” and “Build Up” so much. Because your customers have to know your product exists, the sooner the better.
2. Give Before You Take
We live in a world that expects much better service than ever before. We live in a world that expects to get before they give.
Apps are free, more and more information is free online. This might be how-tos, free classes for programming, etc, etc, etc…
You kind of have to give…before you can take.
That is one way you can start to build a relationship, and continue to build the relationship after the initial purchase.
For services this can be newsletters, video updates, and basic walk throughs for simple questions.
3. Embrace Social Media
I get it, everyone and their uncle is telling you to get on social media.
At this point it is not about standing out on Social Media, it is about keeping the status quo. At this point, in business, social media won’t help you that much, but not having it will hurt you.
Large corporations can be much more personal than a small business because of social media. They can hire an army of social media managers to grow their followings, personally respond to their customers, and develop content.
That does not mean you can’t win! And try to create your own mini empire!
4. The Old Fashion Way — Email Them (Wait…that is old fashion?)
Sometimes, the old fashion way is calling up companies, creating email lists, personally emailing, and just trying to have conversations with your target audience.
The best part is, there are great new tools to help you do things the old fashion way, with all new ways!
Need to find emails of a director? Well, most companies use standardized email structures. So here is a great guide for “How To Find Almost Any Director or CEOs Email”
Either FirstName.LastName@company.com, LastName.FirstInitial@company.com, etc.
You can use this to your advantage when trying to email someone directly. Just make sure you have something to offer them. Something more than what you are getting out of the deal.
Calling is not terrible either. Just make sure you leave a message. Most people ignore calls they don’t know, and just wait for voice mail.
The key is to constantly increase your funnel size, but also increase the chance you will actually reach a human being!
5. Ping Old Friends
When you are just starting your company, old friends, can sometimes be your best friends. Part of the reason I started my company was because I suddenly had people who I had worked with in the past reach out and ask for consulting help!
Of course, then I ran into the issue of wanting to make sure I had a stream of business coming. That’s when you go back to old friends and constantly looking to be making new ones!
Now, you’re not going to your old friends begging for jobs. Sometimes it is just about pinging them and telling them what you are up to.
Possibly seeing if they have anyone they know that might be interested in being your customer.
Just remember, give before you take!
6. Go Do A Talk Or Give A Presentation
Like I said earlier, if no one has heard about what you do, then why do it? No one is going to come breaking down your doors.
If you’re a data science consulting team, then go do a data science talk! If you’re in fashion do a fashion talk, they exist.
You need to get you, your team, your product, whatever it may be out there.
Now, most talks, especially ones you do for free at meet ups, often don’t allow for direct advertisement of your service.
That is ok!
Because the created an emotional connection during the movie for everyone.
That is your goal! During your talk, challenge your audience. Don’t bore them with too many facts and figures.
Create an emotional connection with them. Part of giving a talk is taking your audience through a similar experience a movie does.
There is setting the scene, building a connection with the audience, causing a climax, and resolve. Maybe not always as structured as in a movie. But there is value in creating that walk through
7. Send A Piece to A Local Newspaper
Depending on your paper, especially with so many online magazines. Sometimes, they are just looking for an extra piece of written work. Especially if you are an expert in your field. This exposes your expertise to your possible customer market.
8. Reach Out To A Sales Guy or Gal
We live in a world that has some people who are willing to be guns for hire. If you are looking for contracts worth 5–6 figures. Go on linkedin and see if you can find some sales experts! They are brilliant when it comes to find new customers.
Offer them a percentage of a deal and see what happens! If nothing happens, great! If they bring you a client then cover their finders fee.
It’s a win win! Sure, you don’t get to keep the whole fee. However, think about it, they save you time and money for finding clients!
Risk : You do want to make sure you trust whoever you find. They will unofficially be representing your company. You don’t want to accidently end up with egg on your face.
9. Create A Blog
All of the last few posts have involved writing. Although writing is old school, people still read articles. Of course, this also depends on your target market!
Blogs are great if your demographic is the reading type! It is a great way to engage your audience and let them know you exist. Maybe you write a data science blog all about how machine learning will change the world, or maybe just a blog about wines and food. It really doesn’t matter!
Plus, you can link back to your product or service. That way, they have already started to develop a relationship with you. This helps build trust with your new customers and gives them value, beyond the product.
10. Work On A Side Project
Look for side projects to work on, even if it is only a short period of time. This gets you and your company further exposure. This might lead meeting the right person who needs your service.
Of course, if you join a start up, make sure your non-compete doesn’t ban you from working with their customers. That would be a drag! Or, at least be honest with the members if you are approached by the client to work on something other than what the start up is already providing.
11. Join A Linkedin Group And Post
Especially for consulting and service focused companies. If you are looking for new customers in the professional industry. Might as well go to where they are.
They are on Linkedin! Not so much twitter or instagram. Nope, if they are business professionals, many of them are the most engaged on Linkedin.
With that tip, make sure you have a Linkedin Page!
12. Post Your Products and Services On StumbleUpon
Stumbleupon is a great site that let’s users randomly “Stumble” upon the links you add to the site. If you have a product, or…if you are more strategic! If you have an interesting blog post
You can link it to this site and then new customers and leads might “stumble upon” your blog or product.
Increasing the chance you get a new customer!
13. Write On Medium
Did you follow my advice and start a blog? Great, now take that blog and put it on Medium.com! It is great, I repurpose a lot of my work on Medium. I not only get people coming to my site from medium, I also gotten a large amount of subscribers by putting a google form inside my posts!
To review how Medium gets you new leads:
- Get new people to visit your site who would have never gone to your site before
- Get new subscribers
- Get followers who might retweet your posts and mention your username at the same time!
14. Write An E-Book Focused Around Your Product Or Service
If you are selling a product or service. You are probably an expert at some level about it right? Maybe you could even fill up a book’s worth of your anecdotes and expertise.
Go write an e-book. It doesn’t have to be long. Maybe 30 pages at most, with pictures! Inside you should have a link or two to your site as well as others.
This will help people become more familiar with you as a person (personal anecdotes) and your expertise. Building trust with both new and old customers is key to building strong relationships.
15. Run An Event Like A Charity Dinner
Some people might tell you to sponsor events. I disagree. Don’t just sponsor events, run one! Whether it is a charity dinner or a conference. It is a great opportunity to meet new contacts and show your passion for both your product and service and possibly a charity.
It is always great to give back and it opens the door for new leads. Some of the people you might be targeting, like C-level executives or directors might be more inclined to go to a fine dining dinner.
Then you might have a few minutes to respectfully talk about your product.
16. Volunteer! Yeah, I said It, Go Do Something For Free
Often times, we are so caught up in growing our businesses we forget to give back to the community. We also forget that giving back to the community can give back to us.
Volunteering now and then is a great way to meet new people, and actually serve others.
17. Have Customer Recommend You
If you have had customers in the past. Reach out to them, and ask for recommendations, quotes, retweets, and Linkedin shares.
This is a great way to create trust with new customers! Have your old customers and current customers rave about how awesome you are!
18. Create A Mini Youtube Series
Have you seen this great example!
The more content you have online, the more likely someone that will be your customer will find you.
If you make a youtube video, you could entice a new customer. Now..be careful. If you make a video, make a good one!
Don’t half ass your video. Customers will perceive your product and service to be of the same quality.
19. Create A Story On Instagram
We will talk later about getting and influencer to help sponsor your product or service. Before you do that, make sure your company has a presence on instagram.
What is nice about Instagram is that anyone could find your promotions and service. Yes, it helps to have lots of followers. However, products like Snapchat are very limited as they only allow people who have accepted your request to see your snaps.
Both platforms are great overall, because they are visual! No better way to excite new customers then through videos and pictures.
20. Write A Letter To The Editor
Similar to writing a piece for a newspaper or magazine. A letter to the editor is another chance to get your name out there in the public.
It is also a chance to create a relationship with a journalist. You never know who they know. They are constantly interviewing people who could be your next customer.
However, be aware. They are very busy. So you will have to make it worth their while. Bring them a story or an interview that they can benefit from as well!
21. Engage An Instagram Influencer(Make Sure They Are Legit First!)
If you are offering a product. A great way to get new clients is to first research which target market you are aiming for. Then to go look for an influencer who can swade that market.
This might be a youtube star, an instagram influencer, or a Snapchat king. All of them have a large network of people who are actually listening to them.
Think about it, companies put their logos on their products so people are walking billboards. Now imagine if you could pay someone to be a spokesperson!
22. Reach Out To Other Consultants Who Have Different Skill Sets
Some of the business I have received has been from other consultants who have clients who they already have relationships with but they themselves might not have the skills they are looking for.
Ask both your friends, and other one off consultants. There are plenty if you google around a bit. Offer to provide them with customers as well, when you are in need of their expertise. This world is all about us, helping each other!
23. Join An Activity Outside Of Work
Ok, half of working with people…is liking them. So if you want to expand your network and thus reach out to possible new clients. Go join an activity like an after work softball group, book club, or other group activity that forces you to interact.
Guess what, you will probably find people who could be your customers there! Or they might know people who could be your customers. Just make sure you are pleasant and fun to be around!
No one wants to hire an asshole, even if you are that good.
24. Post Your Blog On Reddit, Hacker News And Inbound
Ok, so you have written on Medium, you have your own blog, and you have made a few youtube videos. Now…you just need possible clients and customers to stumble upon your site.
How do you do that? Well, there are plenty of aggregators like Hacker News, Reddit and Digg that allow you to share your posts.
Make sure they match the themes of the site or forum. Then post away!
25. Throw A Dinner Party For your Friends Regularly
Your friends are great links into new networks. Throw a dinner party occasionally to bring them all together. It is great to mix groups and bring them altogether.
They will talk, and have a great time. This way you keep informed and find out which one of your friends might know your next customer.
Some Personal Notes About Getting New Customers:
With your customers and your friends. Why, because customers and clients can come from anywhere.
Honestly, I have had people reach out to me that I thought I would never hear from again. We worked together great, but things drifted. Then suddenly, bam, I get a text, an email, even a facebook message.
Saying “Hey, you got time”.
This all happens because you develop a relationship with your possible clients and customers first.
In fact…it is about not even looking at them as customers or clients, but as friends.
Trust me, if you don’t go into every situation thinking about the money, and instead think about the people. They will trust you more and develop a deeper relationship!
Don’t look at every new person as a customer. Look at them as a relationship worth developing.
Don’t cut them out simply because they can’t afford you, or they don’t have anything to give you at the moment.
That is how you lose friends and future customers!
Remember, in business development, you’re in the relationship game!
Further Reading About Business Development
Why Focus On Network size?
How many people are positively impacted by the things you do? 10, 20, 100,1000, 100000? The bigger the number, the better chance you are succeeding at whatever you are doing!
The larger your network, and I mean every network, online and person. The larger your reach. When you do something, it ripples out.
Your friends might talk about it, your followers may tweet about it. So you the size of your network plays a huge role in new customers!
Why Focus On Customer Relationships?
I probably shouldn’t reference this as “Customer relationships”. This is just about relationships. That is what I think some people get wrong.
Some people are so focused about what the customer can do for them, “Increase their revenue”, that they forget to ask, what can they do for the customer.
Don’t get me wrong, the first point will make you money, but it will probably never make you a lot of money. Creating deep relationships with your customers and clients will be better for you in so many ways.
If you are a consultant. Your clients will be more open about their problems, which makes your job much easier.
If you are selling widgets and your customers feel more like guests and less like stacks of cash. They are going to want to stay with your product. Even if you make a mistake here and there.
Companies complain that their consumers and employees have no loyalty. Yet, they forget that they have no loyalty or relationship development.
Develop real relationships with customers, and clients. Make them feel important and it will pay dividends in return.