Looking for clients is hard, boring work. You will most likely have more fun offering your services or selling goods than hitting the sidewalk, and trying to convince clients to use your service. Worse off, it is tougher for a new business.
However, being able to close clients is the most rewarding part of running a business. It’s undeniable proof that your business is filling a real need; whatever that need might be. If you somehow fail to claim this reward, you might find yourself struggling with an unsustainable business and eventually closing up shop.
This article highlights 9 ways to ease this uphill climb and avoid the heartaches of building unsustainable businesses by closing the clients you truly want.
Firstly, why don’t you have customers?
Client droughts happen, even to business veterans. Successfully businesses are better at diagnosing their client droughts and actively try to fix them.
For new and growing businesses, there could a number of reasons for client droughts. Some are more common than others. Here are some of the common reasons.
Your Market No Longer Exists
The worst thing that can happen to your business is having clients that no longer want what you offer. This is the reality for many companies that file for bankruptcy.
Kodak and Blockbuster are good examples of businesses where clients no longer needed their products.
To avoid this, you have to evolve as customer needs and industry trends change.
You put out too much information
Information overload is a menacing problem for businesses trying to close clients. If you put out too much content for customers to read, your message could get lost in translation.
Also, too much information and options make it harder for the customer to make a definite decision. Remember, Ford Motors made the Model T so customers can have any color they want, as long as it is black. And it recorded the greatest automobile sales of all time.
Provide information and options for users to choose from, but limit them to make decision-making easy.
You are focusing on the wrong clients
Your business is not for everyone. As known as Google is, certain people still prefer Bing.
Many companies fail to close customers for their new business because they haven’t identified the people their products are designed for.
Once you get this out of the way, closing new customers can become considerably easier.
Your pricing structure is poor
For new businesses, a poor pricing structure can make the uphill climb steeper. Many new businesses make the mistake of offering cheap prices for their products or services. To customers, this can create some doubt about the quality of the product or service. And the fact that you’re a new business doesn’t help.
Some businesses make an even worse mistake of overpricing their products. While some customers may have the money to spend, they are fully aware of product prices. And nobody likes being ripped off.
If you are a new business or offering a professional service, you should consider learning the best way to set your prices so as not to chase customers away.
Now, how do you find the right clients?
Simply knowing why you’re not closing clients will not miraculously bring clients your way. Instead, recognizing and avoiding those pitfalls can make your sales efforts more productive.
So, while avoiding the four causes of client droughts discussed above, you should consider incorporating these steps to solve the problem of how to get clients.
1. Set SMART goals
Almost everyone sets goals but only a few people can accomplish the goals they set for themselves. People fail to meet these goals not because they don’t work hard enough. Instead, they might be setting their goals the wrong way.
When building a business, the first step to figuring out how to get customers is to set your goals using the SMART framework.
Make your goals Specific by explicitly defining the type of clients you want to close and how to find clients.
You should also make it Measurable by putting a number to the number of customers your wish to close. You could get tempted to set a huge goal. Don’t do it.
Set only Attainable goals because huge, unrealistic goals could dampen motivation and precipitate failure. But even while setting attainable goals, don’t get drawn to the allures of easy solutions just to avoid the tough ones.
So, make sure that the clients you want to target are Relevant to the success of your business in some way.
Finally, you don’t have all the time in the world.
Your business can only go on incurring expenses for so long. You have to set a realistic timeline for you to close these clients. This gives you a sense of urgency. That’s the best way it can work.
2. Network the right way
For new businesses owner, people are more likely to buy from you if they know you in person. When you find yourself around people talking about their businesses, you can sense their passion for their products or service. This passion is infectious. Soon enough someone in that group will want to try your business out.
Even more, they could run into someone that has a problem that your business is solving and you’ll be the first person to cross their mind.
So, one of the easiest ways to get business clients is to attend relevant events, utilize networking opportunities, and seize every given opportunity to talk about your business and the problem it is solving.
3. Use social media the right way
Almost everyone that matters in the world is on social media. There is so much buzz on any social media platform; if you’re not careful, you can get muddled up by the noise.
However, no real entrepreneur or salesperson will negate the huge relevance of social media. For many businesses, social media is the only means to finding customers in today’s world.
The right way to use social media depends on the platform you use to search for clients and the type of clients you want to find.
B2C businesses often find Facebook and Instagram useful for reaching consumers. Instagram is the hub for pictorial brands, using visually appealing pictures and videos to promote consumer products.
B2B businesses, on the other hand, may find tools available on LinkedIn more useful. About 51% of LinkedIn users have a bachelor’s degree or more advanced qualifications; most of them are decision-makers in their company. So, brands looking to connect with people that make business decisions should explore opportunities on LinkedIn.
Of course, there are other platforms. Approaching your pursuit for new business clients on multiple social media platforms is a good idea. However, you should consider developing a strategy to maintain the uniformity of your brand across the media.
There are over 830 million individuals on LinkedIn. This makes the platform the perfect hotbed to find and connect with new clients.
4. Collect and use reviews
User reviews are proofs that people have tried to work with your business and have something to say about it. These reviews are strong tools of social influence. So, you should consider using them.
As the world’s trust level hits an all-time low, it’s increasingly difficult to convince strangers to try out a new product. But if they do find other people within their demographics sharing positive feedback about their experience, they could be compelled to give your business a try.
However, reviews are two-edged swords. If you are offering a product or service below par, customers will blow their trumpet on your shortcomings. So, as figure out how to collect reviews, be sure to do your best to deliver a satisfactory product or service.
5. Leverage word-of-mouth referrals
One of the oldest ways to find new clients, word of mouth is still the most effective in our world today. A study by Forbes reveals that word-of-mouth referrals are the second highest source of quality leads.
So, as a part of your pursuit to get more clients, do everything you can to get people talking about your product or service, especially those that have tried it before.
Actively encourage current customers to refer their friends and family to your business. You might be surprised how much people will be willing to bring business your way. But you can do a little more to make this easy.
Marketers rate referrals as the second highest source of quality leads.
6. Offer Incentives
Incentives, like referral bonuses and discounts, are very good ways to encourage your customers to tell others about your brand. Really smart salespeople can leverage discount offers to turn first-time customers into returning buyers.
When defining your sales goals, creating your customer personas, and developing a strategy to close your clients, make sure to understand the most appropriate incentives to offer your target customers. For instance, a 10% discount on a micro-purchase (e.g. $1/mo subscription) may not be very incentivizing.
7. Build an email list
Email marketing is one of the most rewarding forms, with an ROI of over 4,100%. As you build your business, you should consider building an email list, containing every ‘John’ and ‘Jane’ that have expressed the slightest interest in your business.
With an email list, you can have a direct channel to communicate with new clients, returning clients and even potential customers. It could reduce the effort and resources poured into trying to establish new contact with potential customers every time.
Several tools are available to build a quality mailing list depending on your brand. The LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a good tool for B2B businesses looking to pile up email contacts of potential customers.
However, it’s always advisable to build your mailing list organically. This way, you can collect more personally identifiable information, and enjoy above industry standard response and conversion rates on email outreaches.
There are good tools to build and manage your list. Here are our top recommended tools to consider.
8. Always Follow Up
A majority of your sales outreaches will hit a dead end. For some, you won’t get a response at first contact. Only 2% of sales are made at first contact.
So, when you reach out to a potential client, there is a 98% chance that he won’t buy from you immediately. Therefore, remember always to follow up. This will increase your chances of closing a new customer for your business.
Only 2% of sales are made at first contact. If you follow up, you have a 98% chance of converting a client.
9. Write a guest blog post
If you’ve defined your target audience well enough, you will figure out which media outlets or magazines they read. After figuring this out, one of the ways to reach them is by publishing articles on those outlets as guest contributors.
Although many magazines frown at self-promotion and salesy posts, you can find a way to create articles that sells your business without actually selling it.
Most of these media outlets and magazines have contributors’ guidelines on their websites. Try finding it to know the criteria for guest posting.
Great products are very good for a business. However, even the best products are nothing until there’s a customer willing to pay for them.
If you’ve been in business for a while, you may realize that closing new customers is not an easy task. To ease the difficulty associated with getting more customers, existing businesses should consider diagnosing the causes of possible client droughts. Then, they can implement some of the measures proposed in this article.
However, efficiency should be a watchword for small businesses. Explore opportunities that yield the best outcome. Email marketing has shown to help businesses make over 40x of investments made. Do you want to try it?
You can begin with our review of top email marketing solutions in the market. And don’t forget to join our newsletter to get more insightful articles like this.