For too many people in business, prospecting for clients is like fishing with only a string and a pole. They know if they throw something out there, they’ll draw attention. What they don’t understand is that you must first be at the right fishing hole. And, second, that you have to use bait that the fish you’re trying to catch like.
Let’s address the right fishing hole first. Answer this question: Who is your ideal client? You should be able to list at least five criteria of your ideal client without even blinking an eye.
The answers might be something like this:
- Between the ages of 25 and 35
- Living within ten kilometers of my retail location
- Has school-aged children
- Drives at least 60 kilometres per week.
If you can’t list at least five characteristics of the people who you need to reach, your business isn’t going very far very fast. To get your answer quickly, consider your top three existing clients. What do they have in common? The answer to that question will get you started.
Then, start picturing your clients. Are they grandmas? Business people? Teenagers? Start thinking about them as categories of clients.
You just might have a service that teens enjoy, but who invests the money in it? Grandma, mom and dad. So you’ll need more than one marketing strategy to make sales, won’t you?
Next, you need to know how to reach these people.
If you sell to soccer moms, where will you find them besides soccer fields? Your list might look like this: Grocery stores, petrol stations, quick-stop stores, car washes, or sporting goods stores.
You can advertise on the bulletin board at the local car wash or grocery store – preferably ones that are close to sports fields. Even better, sponsor a local kids’ team. The parents feel obligated to use the services of those who help pay for uniforms, equipment, programmes and the various fees involved in children’s sports.
If you sell to those who earn very high incomes, where will they be found? Country clubs? The golf course? Nice restaurants? Where should you advertise? Where they’ll be found, of course.
Okay, it might not be feasible to advertise at the country club, but you can certainly advertise in publications that’ll be found there. Advertise where the other companies of your calibre advertise. Use your connections there to start building up an opt-in database that you can market to.
Get clients to bring new clients
No matter who your future product purchasers are, you can get the names of new ones from existing clients. All you need to do is ask.
Don’t ask if they know anyone, ask: ‘What other parents of the soccer players might have a need for new tyres?’ ‘Who do you most enjoy playing golf with at the country club, Mr Stevens?’
Or, even better, offer existing clients special discounts or bonuses for sending in new clients. I’m sure you’ve heard or seen advertising where existing clients are offered a 10% discount or free car wash for sending in three new clients.
They’re given coupons with codes on them to hand out to others. You don’t have to go crazy with this costing you money. You might offer a free R50 coffee shop gift card or a coupon worth a discount on the service of a neighbouring business. Chances are that the neighbouring business will reciprocate on your behalf.
The key to bonuses is offering something good enough that the client will think is worth their while to find others to send your way, even if it’s just in a passing conversation. Once you wrap your mind around the information covered here, you’ll know where to find the best fishing holes and what bait to use!