As a marketeer, as well as a Business Development Director, I am constantly asked the question: ”How do you prospect for new customers?”
The answer isn’t as simple as you may think: It comes from a well-rounded selection of prospecting tools which I have built up over the years, and it’s all in the combination and the lack of reliance on any one thing.
There are so many indirect ways of attracting potential customers, such as social media (Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn), PR, email marketing and your website: These are all vital for your business and brand awareness, but what really get measurable prospecting results are the direct methods of communication.
You can’t always expect your perfect customer to find you….we believe you can find them first.
I am always looking out for our new customers and I make a point of introducing myself. One of the best ways to do this is to read through your local business publications and newspapers, identify people from the stories and write them an email introducing yourself. This also works well for the businesses neighbouring: Introduce yourself and what you do; you never know when they may need you.
Lumpymail is all about being creative with your direct mail. We use Lumpymail as one of our key prospecting tools for Tasty Marketing: We start by creating a wish list of around 50 key prospects (this is all about being focused and targeted on smaller lists). We then write a personalised letter to each prospect, showing we know all about them as a business.
The reason these letters really get the attention of our prospects is that we add a little ‘lump or bump’: A gift from us, which is usually a gingerbread man to maintain consistency with our branding. It’s also vital to pay attention to detail, so we send the letter in a high-quality envelope, with the recipient’s name handwritten on the front.
One of the most successful prospecting tools I have honed over the years is finding ways to keep in touch with old clients and contacts, even prospects that didn’t turn into clients at the time: These people already know of you so they are already warm contacts.
I keep in touch by inviting them to events, emailing them to ask how things are going; any reason to catch up and remind them we are here.
Referrals have been shown to be the most reliable and successful way of acquiring new prospects as they already appreciate your credibility. We encourage referrals from both existing customers and affinity partners (people who would work with the same audience but don’t compete).
Encouraging referrals is simple: Make it easy for people to refer to you, ask them to refer to you, and say thank you when they do!
In the past 12 months, LinkedIn has become one of my biggest sources of new prospects.
Of course, I post regular status updates and connect with people I know, but what really makes the difference is being proactive: I make individual contact with each connection on a regular basis to remind them and educate them about what we do.
We love LinkedIn so much that we run courses to help you out.
It’s true that people still buy from people: I find public speaking always generates new leads.
I speak at other people’s events but we also run several of our own, just make sure that you follow up with every single person you meet.
Networking can be time-consuming but it still reaps results, as relationship marketing is still an integral part of the marketing mix.
I pick and choose the events and groups that are right for me for two main reasons:
1.) They are the right audience
2.) I enjoy them
We have up-to-date lists for all of the local networking events, just drop us a line to see them.
Whatever shape your marketing takes, your existing customers will always be at the heart.
Some questions to ask yourself:
Creating yourself a prospecting plan, with the winning combination of these tools, is sure to give you a steady flow of new enquiries.
If you would like further advice, please speak to one of our team today here or call us on 01202 656762.
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