On my travels, I am often asked how to find more quality prospects so that time can be spent solely with people looking to invest, rather than with time wasters. People try targeted advertising campaigns and high volume direct mail to create opportunity, but they are often disappointed with the response rate and eventually realise that there is no shortcut to success.
Yes, these techniques have their place and each bring a level of success. However my biggest concern is that if they do work better than anticipated, the business may not be in the position to service the response.
When I question business owners looking for more customers, the desired growth rate in relation to number of customers is often a very sensible number. In most circumstances just 1 or 2 new customers a week would revolutionise a business. So what could 100 new customers do for your business?
If you are serious about this level of growth, then I have a tried and tested strategy that will guarantee success. Before I share it with you, please let me explain my 3 key concerns with all forms of traditional marketing.
1. They all go looking for people that have already decided they are interested in your product and service and hence have a strict brief for their requirements.
2. Prospects will typically shop around so you do not have an exclusive opportunity.
3. There is no way to control the results.
With this in mind, the job of persuading our prospects that they should do business with us can become extremely difficult, as they have developed too many pre-conceived ideas.
My route to market is completely different. I believe that there is no fast track to the perfect opportunity, and often the missing ingredient to the success you desire is a little extra activity and a lot more direction. I urge you to try my simple technique for just 4 weeks and measure the results.
- Define your target market. By target market I do not mean perfect customer but rather people in a position to buy your product or service. For many, this could be all UK businesses, of which there are around 4 million; yet for others, it will be a little narrower. The trick is not to be too specific and to have the largest target market possible.
- Create a list of all local contacts that are not currently customers with an aim of a minimum of 50 names.
- Make phone calls to arrange appointments with as many contacts from your list. The purpose of the appointment is for two local business owners to have 15 minutes together over coffee and see how you can help each other.
- You will get at least 10 appointments. During your appointments, first establish how you can help them. Then ask questions to establish what requirements they have for what you do and look for simple solutions. Do not try to sell to them. You are simply looking to establish if there is a genuine business opportunity.
- At least 5 of your meetings will highlight a requirement for what you do. Then say these words: “I am not sure if this is for you, but do you know anyone who …” and introduce your products and services. By presenting your business this way it is completely rejection-free and makes it easy for your prospect to answer.
- If done correctly, at least 2 of your prospects will buy from you. The good news is by using this technique those who don’t buy will typically refer you to someone who may. They find it easier to pass you on than give you a reason why they don’t want to buy. Then you simply start the process again.
The trick to this method is to get the appointment without being too prescriptive. Yes, you have a lot of meetings. However, if 2 new customers a week could change your business, then getting 10 appointments a week is surely worth trying. Meetings typically last less than an hour and you may just find it is the best way to invest 10 hours a week.