How do you attract new clients?

How do you attract new clients?

When I start working with a new client at the Women’s Business Center, one of my first questions is “How do you attract clients?”

Most people focus on advertising and public relations. These should be parts of your marketing strategy but don’t forget your existing clients! Existing clients have already taken a chance in buying your goods and services. I recommend you develop a strategy to get past clients to buy more from you, buy from you more frequently and becoming partners in building your business.

Buying more- When a client buys a single good or service, how can you encourage them to buy more? For instance, if a client pays you to do their bookkeeping, you can offer to help develop human resources procedures that will keep them out of legal trouble. Even if you do not have that expertise, you may be able to hire a subcontractor to do the work and make a profit off that service. Your client will also see you as an advisor, not just a task manager. If you sell goods rather than services, you can recommend complimentary items. For instance, if your flower shop client buys an orchid- invite them to an orchid care class or sell them the orchid pot and fertilizer. Make sure they are buying the right plant for their space and level of commitment. Give clients a “taste” of your expertise for free! Also, keep track of what clients ask for and don’t buy from you. Could expanding your offerings help you increase sales?

Buying more frequently- Keep clients “in the loop” with e-newsletters and Facebook postings. Think about your slow sales periods. How can you bring past customers back during leaner times? Perhaps this means hosting a special event during that time or switching your product mix during certain seasons. Who are your clients? When are they likely to have some time off? How can you connect with them during that time to encourage sales? Getting clients to come in during your slow months has the added bonus that you are able to provide an even better service when you have fewer clients- and it helps even out your cash cycle. For instance, if you are an accountant, the end of tax season is a good time to convince folks to hire you to train their employees; the pain of tax season is fresh in their mind and they may be more likely to invest in training or other services.

Building your business- Have you ever had a favorite restaurant or store that has gone out of business, leaving you with a bittersweet feeling? Did you wish you had shopped there more often? I do! The best way to attract new clients is if they are referred by previous ones. Don’t be shy about asking for referrals and recommendations! Don’t be shy about soliciting feedback about your goods or services! Return the favor. If you have a business partner who does a great job, make sure you recommend that person to others. Let them know that you are actively seeking referrals or recommendations! Be sure to thank others for their referrals and let them know if those referrals have brought in business! Some companies even give discounts based on referrals. This may not be necessary. For most of us, helping a great small business is payment enough. Clients love it when they feel they’ve played a part in your success!

Guest blog article contributed by Amelia Lobo, Director of the ISED Women’s Business Center.

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