Surefire marketing techniques to help build your business
How to get clients? As a marketer, it’s a question I get asked many times. Most of the time, the ‘how to get clients’ question is not asked so boldly. Surprise – it is a lot easier to build your relationship with current clients. Most industries are pretty competitive where it’s up to executives and business owners to find ways that will keep you in front of your current clients.
A few years ago I wrote an article on how to get clients. It was published in the Meeting Planners International (MPI) newsletter. I think it still holds strong today, can apply to other industry business executives and can give you some insight on how to get clients using your existing budget. I have included this MPI article below for you. Enjoy! -Sandra
Your 10-Step Guide to Generate New Clients
Surefire marketing techniques to help build your business
Are you an experienced event planner or a savvy supplier, yet there’s not much of a customer line-up to take advantage of your services? Don’t panic, or re-think your path in life. It could be that you’re not leveraging your resources – excluding your bank account. Marketing is about effective communication and the way that you market or sell yourself and your business. Here is your 10-Step Guide to learn what you can do to maximize your return on investment.
- Position yourself. Know your core marketing message. What’s that mean? This is how you would like your business or brand to be perceived by potential and existing customers; your distinctive personality. It’s basically the brand personality that you want to develop. Zeller’s positioning statement is “everyday low prices”. Once you determine this, you can surround your promotional efforts and activities to reflect and convey it effectively.
- Define your target audience. Are you a meeting planner that has worked in the high tech? Or are you a supplier that has provided a variety of environmental give away items? Find your niche and then follow the dots to the audiences that your specialty will click with and respond. There’s a saying, “A jack of all trades, a master of none.” Don’t let your company get lost in generic space. Be the expert, know your audience, and use messaging that will resonate with them.
- Get to the source. When you receive an email or phone query about your product or service, what’s the first thing you ask? Besides getting the name and contact info of the caller, you should ascertain how the person found out about your company. Learning which marketing strategies are working (and which ones aren’t) will help save future time and money. For example, during one quarter you placed an ad in an industry newsletter and exhibited at a trade show. Through market research (asking this question to your leads) you discovered 90% of your leads derived from trade show exposure. This information will help you assess the cost versus value for each activity for future decisions.
- Find the decision maker. When you get on the phone to contact a company, who are you seeking to reach? Find out who has the ability to make decisions about a certain product or service the company uses. You might find yourself getting screened out by assistants or other personnel. Getting creative to attain that first meeting might be worth it. Once you have the business, think about what your competition has to do to take your place.
- Make a good first impression. Making a good first impression is vital to building relationships with other people. Whether it’s face-to-face, over the phone, email or video conference, it is important to come across in a positive manner. We’ve all met people that we instantly ‘like’ and want to get to know more. Here are some quick tips that can help ensure a next meeting: Learn to dress well and in a clean fashion; speak clearly without rambling on or going off on tangents, be polite and courteous; use the person’s name frequently – it makes it more personal; use listening skills, and; let the other person be the centre of attention – ask questions.
- Be specific. Whether you are face-to-face with a prospective client, or developing online or print material to promote your business, develop a short and concise description of your offer. You can develop answers, ahead of time, that state what your business is (your elevator pitch), what problems you solve, what types of clients you help, and what makes your company unique.
- Ask questions. Ask a question where you can anticipate the answer and respond with solutions that your company can provide. You can also add what makes you unique here, and what distinguishes you from your competitors (try not to name competitors, unless asked).
- Give clients what they want. Understanding your clients’ concerns and what they want in service and follow up is the key to serving them well and gaining repeat business. For example, if you tell them you will call them back, ensure you do within a reasonable time frame. Clients do not like to be kept on hold, nor do they like surprises. If you know you cannot make a delivery deadline, or you cannot attain a specific speaker for an event, be honest ahead of time. When you provide excellent service and follow-up, you earn and gain competitive edge.
- Offer incentives for referrals that turn into business. So you have a few clients? Why not turn them into ambassadors? Every qualified person that knows your business, whether they are clients, suppliers, sponsors, other stakeholders, or contacts can become promoters for your business. Offering them an incentive to help turn potential clients into customers will help build your business. Incentives can include a percentage of the business earned , a weekend package, bartering services – it’s whatever can fit your budget and/or imagination.
- THINK BIG. Maybe you have the eight events in your pocket for the coming year, or you’ve sold a million dollars worth of merchandise. Congrats. What if you now find out that some RFPs you’ve submitted finally surface and you’ve won some new contracts? You think, it’s going to take too much time, lack resources, or you have a meeting conflict at the same time. This is a turning point – don’t turn your back.
Be ready to grow with your company. Give your clients your commitment and ensure that if you cannot be onsite for the event you bring someone on board that can handle the responsibility and deliver. Think big and be ready to grow. You may be CEO of yourself today, but tomorrow it could change. IF
Hopefully, this article on how to get clients can prompt you to revisit some of your business practices and find new ways to get more value out of them. Let me know if you have any questions!
Be profitable in your marketing.