It’s common knowledge that a loyal customer base is the best source for a continuing revenue stream. But what about using that base as a primary source for generating new business? Here are a few techniques for doing just that. The first six will help you find the new prospects, while the next five will give you a much greater chance of closing the deal.
The key to finding or “hunting” new customers is through truly understanding the behavior, wants and needs of the customers you already have. It is quite likely that those current customers’ competitors and associates share similar characteristics. So, how do you nail down this information? Through the following simple techniques that we can call customer stalking.
- Understand how your current customers found you. If you can find out what routes your current customers took to get to you, you can begin to identify themes which will allow you to hone your marketing strategy in a more rational way—cutting out the things that aren’t working and investing more in those that do.
- Figure out what trade shows and conferences your current customers attend. Go to the same events and chances are you’ll meet your customers’ competitors and associates- a whole slew of possible new clients for you.
- Find out what trade associations your current customers belong to. Often trade associations post their membership information on their websites or other publications—a treasure trove of information about potential clients. Many of these groups host monthly events where you can meet new prospects.
- Ask your customers what trade shows and conferences they attend. You can attend these same events as well and take advantage of your customers’ presence at them to gain introduction to potential new business.
- Find out what networking events your customers typically attend. Concentrate on non-industry specific groups like Rotary Club or Chambers of Commerce. Attending some of these events will open up a whole other level of potential business.
- Ask your customers what industry publications and websites they’re reading/visiting. Chances are your customers’ competitors and associates (new potential business for you) are reading and visiting the same publications and sites. Write an article for a publication and partner with the sites through advertising, affiliate deals or guest posts.
Closing the Deal
Once you’ve identified potential new business through the above techniques, here’s a few simple ways to use your current customer base to help you close the deal:
- Understand your customers’ decision making process. The better you know your current customers and can fully understand key elements of the decision making process across the customer base, the better positioned you’ll be to close the deal with similar companies.
- Get a referral to a new customer from multiple current customers. The best way to get in the door of a new prospect is through the recommendation of a satisfied current customer. The more referrals you can get the better for your credibility.
- Post testimonials from multiple customers on your website. This takes the referral one step further and deepens its credibility and potential impact. If a potential client can read specific information about the positive aspects of your relationship on a current customer’s business, the potential client will have more confidence doing business with you.
- Case studies – This technique is similar to #3, but a more in-depth analysis. Ask a current customer to help you put together a case study of how your product or service has impacted the customer’s business. Presenting a positive case study to a potential client with a similar business will further reinforce your credibility.
- Nurture, Nurture, Nurture! Finally, it is extremely important to continue to nurture a client relationship after the deal is made to fully understand what it is about your product or service that the client finds compelling. Almost always, the client’s concept of this will change dramatically from the time that the deal is made to when the client is actually using your product or service. By focusing on what your client currently finds important about your product or service, you can refine your sales technique and emphasis to reflect that. By doing so, you will be more successful in closing the deal with a new customer.