Finding new clients for your business can be incredibly hard. Time-consuming. Full of rejection. Soul destroying.
A lot of entrepreneurs hide behind the “the economy is struggling”, “businesses aren’t spending any more” wall of doubt and lack of confidence when it comes to selling. Let me tell you, there are plenty of prospects out there for your business – you’re just not looking in the right places.
I wanted to share a few methods I’ve used over the years to help find and persuade new clients to use our services.
Sometimes, you have to think differently to get what you want.
#1 Do stuff for free to grab their attention
No, I hear you cry. YES! If you are struggling for sales right now and work is a little light on the ground. Get off your backside and go find a business you want to call your client – and wow them with some free stuff. If you can bespoke it to their business, even better.
There were several businesses we wanted to work for and so I found the name of the owner and we created short animated versions of their logo – for FREE. I sent it to them, letting them have unlimited use of the logo with absolutely no strings attached.
This resulted in a few new clients!
#2 You’re looking for the wrong people in the business
Wanting to work for a big organisation? Don’t waste your time trying to contact the more senior members of the board or team. You won’t get very far very fast.
Instead, look for account executives, marketing executives, new employees, and other employees slightly further down the corporate food chain. Most of the time they are the ones with the most influence when it comes to looking for new suppliers. You’ll stand a better chance of building strong relationships too.
We work with lots of agencies and I will always contact an account manager or executive in the first instance – they’re the ones looking after their clients’ projects and budgets and they’ll be the ones making the decisions.
#3 Strategic partnerships
Find other businesses that want to offer even more value to their own clients and see if there’s any synergy there with what you offer. You scratch mine and I’ll scratch yours type of thing.
For example, a graphic designer might want to offer video to their clients and so they’re looking for an affordable and reliable video company to take this kind of work on. Maybe they don’t even realise that this is a possible new revenue and value stream and they need someone like you to inform them.
#4 Don’t waste your time with networking events.
Controversial I know. But, I’ve said it now. I’ve been to countless networking events, drank countless cups of tea, exchanged (and binned) hundreds upon hundreds of business cards from lawyers, accountants, financial advisors, photographers, printers, etc., and stood in a room feeling incredibly awkward trying to muscle in on little groups of business folk chatting about, I don’t know what.
You’ll spend way too much time trying to find everyone else business and lose time to concentrate on your own sales pipeline.
I get many spam emails every day for the latest, newest, biggest and best networking events (quote-unquote). Delete.
Stop. Save your energy.
Go to business events like exhibitions, talks, workshops, etc. You’ll have more success (and fun) there.
#5 Be a thought leader and own your industry
Stop hiding your knowledge and expertise. It’s time to show the world just how much you know, how valuable your knowledge is and that you are the go-to person in your industry.
We are living in the age of content, my friends. It’s also the most powerful tool for Search Engine Optimisation.
Write blog posts, record short videos and share on your website and social media. As much as you possibly can. Make it relevant and informative and under no circumstances try to oversell!!
Trust me, Google (and other search engines) will love you for this.
#6 It’s right under your nose.
Look at your current client list. Spend time looking at what you have done for them in the past, think back to past conversations and pick up on any issues they are having. Then figure out what else you can be doing to help them grow their business even more.
They call it “up-selling”, I like to say it’s delivering more value.
We’ve been producing videos for our clients for years and now we’ve started offering a wider content marketing service – a) to help them get a bigger audience for their video investment and b) to help them find their ideal prospects through other online and offline channels. Giving them everything under one roof.
This is paying off significantly for the business.
#7 Be the quickest out of the gate
Do you receive many inbound sales inquiries? Are you tagged in many posts on LinkedIN (and other channels) for people looking for suppliers?
Make sure you reply within 5 or 10 minutes! Especially for inbound emails or forms from your website. Always and forever. You’ll be amazed at the results and your prospect will be VERY grateful for your quick response as their time is very precious. This is a great first impression and could be the deciding factor in you winning the world over the other handful of suppliers they have contacted.
And here’s one more as a bonus……..
#8 Get busy on LinkedIN
We’ve had the MOST sales success via LinkedIN and I could do a whole post on the many methods I use to grab the attention of prospective clients. However, I don’t want to give too many of my secrets away.
I will say, direct messages or InMail on LinkedIN is a massively powerful tool for building and nurturing relationships with potential new clients and you should be focusing as much of your time on this as possible.
Don’t be tight, sign up for the Premium account (it’s currently £39.99 per month) and follow these instructions:
1. Make a list of the businesses you would dearly love to call a client
2. Now find the desired contact at that business
3. Spend at LEAST 20 minutes researching the business and that person (social media etc). This IS NOT about volume!
4. Write a direct message that is at least 50% bespoke to that person and contains info about their business – keep it light and personable and do not try to sell sell sell here!
5. Offer them value – a freebie maybe?
6. Show them that you are credible, trustworthy and reliable.
7. Follow them on all social media and add a few comments/likes to some of their posts (gets your name in front of them)
8. Be patient and do not hound them
Hope you find these helpful and if you have any more to add please do so in the comments below.
Feel free to share this article with your network if you found it useful.