Nine top tips for finding new customers

A man looking through binoculars seeing money

Finding more customers is vital if you are going to grow your business in a sustainable way. Relying on too few customers can leave you vulnerable - losing just one could mean a cash flow crisis. By consistently making an effort to find high quality sales leads and get new customers, you boost your chances of success. Here are nine tips to help you win new business

1. Know your customer

You have a better chance of getting new customers if you know what sort of person or business you are looking for. You don't have to pay for market research, but you do need a good idea of your target market. Build a profile of potential customers - in particular, think about what they want and how you can appeal to them. Always aim to offer something unique or better value for money than your competitors.

2. Give incentives to existing customers

Offer discounts on future purchases or even commission, if your existing customers introduce new customers to you. Word-of-mouth recommendation is the most potent form of advertising, so surpass customers' expectations where possible.

3. Freshen up your image

Make sure your business looks appealing to any potential new customers. Is your signage or business logo looking tired? Does your website need revamping? Is your online marketing strategy working? Could it be time to rebrand or even rename your business?

4. Use direct and local marketing

Put flyers up in local shops. Distribute leaflets and provide introductory offers. A direct mail campaign or an email marketing campaign can also be an effective way to reach new prospects; be sure to observe data protection rules if you go down this path.

5. Advertise on a budget

Well-plannned advertising can be a good way to get new customer enquiries. Could your advertising strategy be improved? Give free advertising on your website to non-competitors who return the compliment. If you do pay for advertising, try to negotiate cheaper rates. Pay-per-click advertising online can be targeted and cost-effective.

6. Get in the news with PR

Try to get coverage in your local paper or trade press. You will need a newsworthy story, or you could put yourself forward as an expert to comment on your industry.

7. Network with potential customers

Go to trade events and speak to as many people as possible. Get involved in local business associations and events. Would closer involvement in your local community be good for business? Online networking can also generate sales.

8. Find new sales channels

Maybe it's time to start selling online, if you aren't already. This could enable you to reach many more customers and to sell round the clock.

9. Set targets for new sales and leads

Sales forecasting doesn't just help you plan ahead, it's also a way of challenging yourself to get more customers. Aim to set demanding but realistic targets for sales leads and new customer wins - for example, by benchmarking your performance against other companies.

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