Every week I receive at least three phone calls (or email messages) from clients asking me for advice helping them find prospects for their businesses. It doesn’t matter what line of work you are in – we should be looking for clients all the time so we are constantly reinforcing our client base.
How do you find new clients? Start with looking at your existing clients to make a number of positive conclusions.
Determine what type of clients you want. Which type of clients are you able to serve the best and get the greatest results? This isn’t just about revenue, although you must take that into consideration to survive and thrive. Consider you and your staff’s capabilities and how you can provide superlative assistance to your new client. Consider what you enjoy doing and get the most satisfaction for you and your clients. Consider what results you have obtained for the clients who have expressed the most appreciation. Now do some research and develop the preferred client list.
Establish a list of associations, groups, events and activities where you can find the preferred clients you want. You need to go where your prospects are and do what they do. Are they golfers? Are they boaters? Do they like sophisticated entertainment? Are they involved in service organizations such as Rotary, Kiwanis or Civitan? Are they involved in the nonprofit world such as Habitat for Humanity, Girls Scouts, Boy Scouts, or health service groups? Once you determine which new clients you want, you need to go where they are. This is an excuse to call the prospect and ask them about the organization with which they are involved. Ask them why they like it and the benefits derived by being involved. Meet with them in person to have this discussion; it is an ideal opportunity to get to know them better.
Prepare relevant topics and presentations that you can skillfully present where your prospects are located. You must be knowledgeable and proficient in any presentation you give. You may have the knowledge but if you can’t present it well, you will come across as not having the ability to do the work. To be a better speaker, join Toastmasters or check out Dale Carnegie. I have been involved with both in my lifetime and each has proved to provide me with excellent speaking skills and confidence. You can also work with a coach who will provide you with advice on how to be a better and more powerful speaker. Now contact appropriate associations and nonprofit groups about presenting at luncheon meetings, seminars and conferences. I like to present to large audiences so when groups ask me to present, I usually select the months when the larger turnouts are anticipated. You can start with small audiences until you build your confidence, and then approach larger groups.
Always provide leave behind materials of your presentation that includes your contact information. One of our clients does an excellent talk and always distributes an attractive book marker to all the attendees. It has excellent bullet points from the presentation and of course it has contact information. This marketing piece stays in the hands of the attendees because they use it as a reference.
Provide a door prize at your presentation so you can collect the business cards of the people attending your presentation. Soon after your presentation, send the attendees a personalized letter (snail mail!) thanking them for attending your session and inviting them to contact you in the future should they need assistance. In the same letter inform them that now you have included them on your e-newsletter list and invite them to review your newsletter. Also, inform them they can opt out at any time so they aren’t mad you have put them on your list.
Finding new clients is not easy. You have to work at finding new clients. After the initial research is done, you must methodically approach prospects numerous times in various formats. Research states that 80 percent of sales are made after the fifth contact. A prospect wants to know you are serious about doing business with them and for them. Let them know! Deborah Varallo