Everyone looking to build a business is always on the prowl for new customers and more new businesses. The questions are:
- What are you doing to find more of ‘the right kind’ of people?
- Who are ‘the right kind’ of people?
- Where are you going to get them from?
I’m amazed at the number of people who don’t have a prospect list of potential customers who you can phone, email, pop in and meet or find a way of approaching to help guarantee them success in their business.
As a general rule, you need ten times the number of prospects to new customers, so if you want to add ten new customers this year, you need a hundred people on your list, who fit your target market, who you can invite to take the next step on your product or service. If your list is lower than that number level, you need to find more prospects for your list.
Consider whom you could do business with. Start with friends and how they might be able help, or perhaps you can do business with them. Making cold calls is not something we relish, so by taking time to identify your ideal customers first, then decide on a genuine reason to contact them, other than doing business, those cold calls suddenly became warmer! So start with your friends. In fact use the word ‘FRIENDS’ as an acronym to help build up your prospect list:
F – Friends
Explore phonebook, mobile, address book, Outlook contacts, people you classify as friends. Consider if there’s any fit, or could lead you to someone who fits, your target market? If so, add their name to your list.
R – Records
We all keep records–customer files, business cards, files from previous employment–these records are useful. Go through them, check if any fit your target market or could lead to somebody who could, and add their name to your list.
I – Industry
Consider industries you’ve done business with, or who are your very best customer. This will give you a clear definition of your target. Consider companies within your geographic constraints, similar to those or who you already have a proven track record on. Consider industries you would like to do business with and add to your list those company names and names of individuals within those companies.
E – E-marketing
Using the web to create leads for your business? Looking at the basics to create new opportunities:
- Facebook profile – look at your friends?
- LinkedIn connections – could any of these be people you could do business with?
- Twitter followers – might some of these be able to do business with you?
- YouTube channel subscribers – could any be potential customers?
- Website – is yours generating leads and enquiries for your business? Is it adding names to your list?
Ensure your website is performing as the second best sales person in your business, providing you with names and phone numbers of potential customers. Consider website users as window shoppers with a genuine interest in your product or service, but who have not picked up the phone or made an enquiry. A strong ‘call to action’ is needed to create an exchange of email addresses for something of value.
N – Networking
Network with a purpose – Attend formal events and meet similar groups so you can introduce yourself and your business. Network in rooms full of strangers, who you could potentially do business with.
D – Directory
There are groups of potential customers for us to tap into, such as Chamber of Commerce, business organisations or regular networking events. Identify a particular sector, then find a club or association where those people gather. A simple Google search could lead you to an ideal membership directory to get access to those people. Make contact with the association and see if it would benefit you to join.
S – Same name
Our memory works in remarkable ways. It needs to be trained and programed to be able to pull out information that’s already in there. All I ask you to do is to go to the top of your written list now–a list full of names of people. Go to the first name, and if the first name is Phil Jones, who else do you know called Phil? You either know somebody or you don’t. Who else do you know called Jones? You either know somebody or you don’t. Do that all the way down your list and I bet you, you’ll add 20% more names to your list, giving you even more confidence to run out into the marketplace to go and find more of the right kind of people.
Use this system regularly, and you’ll soon have a stream of quality prospects that fit your target market, who you can pick up the phone to, email and arrange meetings or start making contact with, and find out if you can do business together.
Always continue building your prospect list, and remember, you want ten times the number of prospect names to the number of new customers, to set yourself up to succeed.