4 Steps to Growing Your Customer Base
“No more customers for me thanks!”
– said no business ever!
The challenge to attract new custom has become an increasingly fast-paced treadmill in an over-subscribed gym. The opportunities are there, but the competition is fierce.
So, how do you make sure all your hard work delivers results? You need to employ my 4-step approach:
1. Find them
To find your ideal customer you need to know who they are, where they are and that what they are looking for is what you provide. Use your current customers to create the model customer, and by this I don’t mean the most profitable. Your model customer is one that finds most value in your offering, is very happy to talk to others about how awesome you are and costs your company the least to maintain.
A Relationship Map can uncover connections between customers and prospects that can be invaluable when trying to start communications. Taking the time to build a comprehensive Relationship Map of your key clients (including elements such as industry niche, professional associations and geography) will provide a new rich vein of prospecting.
The best compliment you can get as a salesperson is a referral and they are incredibly powerful. A referral is 4 times as likely to convert into a sale, plus they have a 16% higher life time value. The superpowers of referrals increase the more involved your referrer is involved in the process with an impressive 4.2X boost to your chances of getting an appointment with a decision maker.
Never underestimate the power of a referral. Ask for them, chase them up and treat them like VIPs and you can boost your existing customer relationship whilst bringing new clients onboard
But what if you’ve already maxed out your network? Let’s suspend my disbelief and say I believe you, now what? Opportunities are endless for your skills to be demonstrated at networking events, partner showcases, charitable functions etc. Giving your time for free, being generous with your knowledge and being willing to help others will come back to you in leads and referrals in the future. Plus, it always helps to have a few favors up your sleeve for when you need an introduction.
You can also find prospective clients by aligning your brand with respected partners, associations and complimentary services. These may incur a cost to set up but provide you with the industry version of a referral by allowing you to get your brand under the nose of those who are already working with partners.
2. Woo them
Now you know who they are and where they are hiding you need to begin to woo.
OK, whilst this animal kingdom display is amusing, it does highlight that you need to clearly display what you can offer a prospect. Be equally open when addressing their needs and concerns. It may be that they aren’t the golden goose you first thought and you save yourself a lot of time and heartache by admitting it early on.
Act like a human being. You have been wooed by companies before and you know how far generic and clunky personalized communications get – not very. Make sure you speak to your prospects in your own voice. Be respectful, professional but don’t swallow a thesaurus in your emails – it will just jar with how you communicate once you get to your face-to-face meeting.
Being human also means avoiding cliché sales techniques. These include fear-based ultimatums such as limited offers. No-one really believes these anymore. There is always a deal to be had – make sure you build a deal that is the best for them as well as you.
Be picky about who you onboard. Choose to woo the prospects that will make great clients (which you should have established at the research stage). Great clients are perfect fits for your product AND ones that will find value and benefit from it. These clients are the ones who will rave about you and your business to anyone that will listen to them. Who doesn’t want that, right?!
Put on a show! Run educational events, bribe them with branded freebies and keep good company with respected brands. You could even turn your CEO into a local celebrity to build your company’s social acumen. If you are THE go-to specialist in your field in their network, your chances of getting your call connected will rise.
3. Win them
“A man who buys a drill doesn´t want a drill. He wants a hole.”
– Theodore Levitt
The Devil is in the details
Sweat the details. You need to show your prospect that you understand their business, how you can make their life better/easier and ultimately that you care. An attentive and helpful salesperson can show the value of their ongoing service.
Create a pitch designed to suit your prospect rather than a standard presentation that even you are bored of giving. Put their challenges first to show how your product works, it might sound obvious, but it is shocking how many sales pitches just tack on something about their prospect, or worst still, just slap their logo on their tired PowerPoint presentation.
Offer to set up a frank conversation about your worth between one of your top clients and your prospect.
Use the resources you have
Employ the skills of your marketing team to create specific remarketing campaigns based on the angles you have been working on in your industry niches. It will take more than one reminder about who you are, what you do and why they should take the plunge to get that contract signed! Remarketing campaigns will keep your brand front of mind for your prospects, making your follow-up calls ‘warmer’.
Word of mouth
You may be the most honest salesperson in the world, but your claims of trustworthiness will always be eclipsed by Word of Mouth (WOM) recommendations, reviews on third-party sites and current customer case studies. Don’t be affronted, it’s not personal. It just means that you need to invest time building or encouraging WOM, reviews and case studies and (don’t forget this step) sharing them with your prospects.
4. Keep them
Congrats! You closed another sale and your sales bonus is already earmarked for your next tropical beach escape. Job done, right? Nope. Now you have to keep them and if possible, turn them into evangelists of your brand.
How? If you deliver more than you have to you will delight your customers by going the extra mile. The wooing never stops. Keep your customers happy, continue to solve their problems and they will be the next source of golden referrals.
Remain in touch
You should be as active with your existing accounts as you are with your prospects. You may have handed over relationship management to your service team but you are still the face of the brand they signed up to. Little actions can go a long way. Show your support for their achievements on social networks, at industry events and personally with direct emails and calls. Showing that you are up-to-date with developments in their company, and showing that you are proud to be associated with their brand, goes a long way.
Have you got more tips to Find, Woo, Win and Keep your precious customers? We would love to hear all about your tactics in the comments section below.