This week I’ve been reflecting on customers and how we connect with them. Almost every day I’m contacted by someone via email or LinkedIn, promising me and my business hundreds of new ‘hot leads’. As if there was a silver bullet, an easy way to shortcut the process of understanding how to solve your customer’s problems and communicating with them in an authentic way. How do you ensure the customers you want to serve find you and your business? How do you keep taking the pulse of your market and build a sustainable pipeline?
“How you sell matters. What your process is matters. But how your customers feel when they engage with you matters more.” Tiffani Bova
Need more customers?
When we start a new business, our first challenge is to find one customer. One person or organisation who has a problem, who can see the value of our product or service in fixing that problem, and who is prepared to trust us and pay us money. Our focus needs to be on giving that one customer our absolute best, with total commitment to solving their problem. Until we know that the value we’re providing is real – in our customer’s eyes – there’s no point in spending lots of money or time on branding, websites and fancy brochures. Roger Hamilton is often quoted as saying, ‘A business isn’t a business because it has a product, a business is a business when it has a customer’, and successful business owners never lose sight of their customer.
As we take on more and more customers, it can be all too easy to become disconnected from them. Too many business owners are so focused on finding new customers that they forget the ones they already have. When we get too busy and overwhelmed, the tendency is to withdraw and focus on the day-to-day of the business. We can get distracted and frustrated putting in complicated systems and taking on too many people. But staying connected to customers is a vital part of an entrepreneur’s life. You need to be soliciting feedback, using trial and error and constantly questioning the value of what your business is delivering to its customers.
In years gone by, the challenge for any business owner was to be the best in their local area. Competition was known and usually local. Today, your customers may be accessing products and services from the other side of the world. Your competition is everywhere, but so are your potential customers. With so much choice available, there’s constant pressure on prices, and many businesses struggle to survive.
If you’re finding it hard to increase the number of customers who will do business with you, you need to take a look at your value proposition and the service you’re providing. Are you really offering something that people want as well as need? Your customers are the only people who can really help you figure out the value of what you’re selling. Your job is to resolve their critical problems with solutions that deliver real value. To avoid creating a load of products and services that no one wants, spend as much time as you can with your customers to understand what they need and what they want.
Here are my Top 10 Tips on getting more customer (no silver bullets here):-
🌟 Referrals. People who have been referred to you come with a level of trust that takes time to build otherwise. Don’t just wait for your customers to refer you to others. Create a system. Make it part of your process.
🌟 Network. People need to get to know you before they will do business with you or refer you. Approach networking with the attitude of trying to help others and they will reciprocate.
🌟 Old customers. Don’t forget to stay connected with people who you’ve done business with before. Be interested in how they are. Keep them updated on what’s happening in your business. Keep the relationship going.
🌟 Entry point. Do you have a low cost entry option to allow people to ‘try you out’ first/ If you offer something that’s low cost and therefore low risk, more people will get to experience the value you offer.
🌟 Support your community. Raise your profile and support your community by speaking at industry events, supporting local charities and getting involved in activities that our community cares about.
🌟 Be easy to find online. Whether it’s good SEO on your website or easy to navigate social media, be easy to contact and easy to do business with. I include my Useful Links at the bottom of every email.
🌟 Tell people what you do. Make sure that people who know you, also know what you do. Encourage people to introduce people they know to you. Ask ‘Who do you know who could benefit from having a conversation with me?’
🌟 Partnerships. Teaming up with complementary businesses who serve similar customers can be a great way to broaden your appeal. Who is talking to your potential customers that you could partner with?
🌟 Reviews. Ask your satisfied customers for reviews to help others understand what working with you could do for them. Social proof is powerful so it’s important to shine a spotlight on the good work you do.
🌟 Communicate. Social media is supposed to be social. Don’t use it to sell but to add value. Demonstrate your expertise, answer frequently asked questions, educate your market and your potential customers.
It’s completely unrealistic to expect yourself to know everything or be able to do everything. Please be kind to yourself and if you’d like to talk through the choices you’re facing or any blockers in your business, let me know.
Lisa Zevi – July 2021