Put your customers to work

Just like many small businesses, I am a small business owner trying to compete with bigger companies, huge competition and trying to generate leads.

There is only one of me and only so many hours in the day or week, so I need to be pretty smart about who I target and how. Like a lot of business owners, I was once employed in companies that had a team of marketing people. And lots of hands and brains meant that more prospects could be found, multiple messages could be sent out and several marketing campaigns run at any one time. There was also the bonus of having a large budget available to spend!

This all changes when you run your own business and to that end, I have to stress the importance of making the most of your existing contacts to generate new sales opportunities for yourself.

So I offer you five tips on developing opportunities using old-school tactics that still work exceptionally well, but we sometimes forget about.

Existing Connections
We all have contacts, links, friends, neighbours and connections.  First and foremost, do they ALL know what you do, the services you provide and how you can help them, the business they work for or people they know? If you have not told them all, then get on and do it now!

You don’t know who their connections are and they might just know someone that could benefit from your services. The most powerful way to win business is through referral, but you have to make this happen in the first place.

Referral Incentive Offers
Even though you may have a very happy customer, they are not going to be focused or motivated to refer their network to you automatically. Why not provide them with a simple, yet compelling referral incentive offer, which remains top-of-mind for them as they network with their friends who have similar needs.

Make it easy for them to send you a referral by submitting a form online or sending a quick email. Customise the offer based on what they will find extremely valuable and what a customer is worth to you.

Social Media
Use social media to broadcast free advice or consultations or an eBook offer. This will generate leads by directing people to your website landing page, where they can sign up straight away. One of the best ways to sell is to help customers and you can do this by posting useful content on relevant websites or answering questions posted on forums and social media sites such as Facebook and Linked In.

Customer Referral and Testimonials
The ideal time to do this is when you are still working with the client and have already delivered value to them. Although some of us find it difficult to approach clients for a referral, if you are doing a good job or have provided the client with a great product or service, no one in their right mind would be un-willing to help you.

Referrals are a powerful way to create more leads and testimonials are a great way for prospective new customers to feel confident in you.

If this is something that you really cannot do, then why not ask another professional or someone you trust to make the call for you instead.

Make Case Studies Easy 
In an ideal world we would have lots of case studies from customers to fill our websites and promotional materials. But more often than not case studies never happen because they fall on the ‘difficult pile’. Many of us fall into the trap of asking our customers to write some words about the project we helped with, but we should be writing this ourselves!

Think about things from your customer’s perspective for a minute, they may not have time, they might not be good at writing, and they may not know where to start. These problems block the case study from being written, but we can change that.

The best way to get your case study written is to ask your customer for half an hour of their time, where you will ask them a series of questions and record their answers. These questions and answers will form the basis of the case study that you will now go away and write, having taken some good photos whilst there.

It is far easier for someone to read through something and make changes to it than to start with a blank sheet of paper and struggle. So make it easy for your clients to provide you with great case studies and testimonials and do it yourself!

Do you need help making your business more successful? Call me now to arrange a free half hour consultation on 07895 389919.

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