Whether you are a personal trainer, a financial advisor, consultant or own a construction service, winning new clients is essential for business survival and growth.
The nature of the matter is that clients come and clients go, and while some businesses may be better than others at retaining clients, all businesses need to know how to attract new customers.
The Customer Acquisition Lifecycle
Just like a business or product lifecycle, a customer can also be in a growth, maturity or decline stage.
Model Source: REES46
Lindsay Kolowich suggests that the first challenge small businesses face is winning new clients. This is mainly because your business is not a household name, and so it generally requires small businesses to reach out to potential customers instead of them enquiring to you.
Here Are Three Simple Tips
1. Set Up A Referral System
A referral system is a designed process whereby a businesses uses it’s network (complementary services, suppliers, customers, partners, etc.) to recommend their service to prospective buyers.
This is the equivalent of designed word-of-mouth and can be executed both online and offline.
Referral programs are very easy to set-up online and the most common way to do this is to set up a refer-a-friend system. For better results you should look to incentivise the referee like the example below.
In offline environments it is crucial to use your personal networks to gain new business. You might establish referral partnerships with complementary services for mutual benefit. For example, if you are in consulting you might refer clients to your contacts in financial management and vice versa.
The great thing about this is that while you are building positive collaborative partnerships, you can also earn a commission on the referral. By referring to specialised services you are also improving your usefulness to the customer which consequently strengthens your relationship with them.
2. Capture Leads
This strategy is all about sourcing information from a prospective buyer through an opt-in. An opt-in is when a person willingly gives a business permission to access information about themselves and/or use that information. The most widely-used and simple capture is email, however, you can capture all different types of customer information which could be useful such as: name, postcode, age, etc.
The great thing about this strategy is you can be as creative and discreet as possible, and these two aspects will generally win you more lead generations.
Creative refers to offering some sort of unique value in exchange for the prospective customers information. This might include a game, discount, limited offer or personalised recommendations.
Example: ASOS Email Sign-Up Discount
Discreet refers to how clear you communicate that your objective is to capture information about the prospective client. Discreet captures are designed to be less obvious to the customer, and so the prospective client may not be fully aware that they are sharing their information. This method will generally result in a higher volume of captured leads. However, there are ethical concerns about the disclosure of data use intentions, so you will need to make sure you disclose.
3. Personalise Your Communications
Sales teams often face the trade-off between efficiency and personalisation. Efficiency in sales may refer to generating the most amount of prospective leads in a specific time period. This focuses on standardisation of communications to enable the business to reach as many prospects as possible. On the other hand, personalisation refers to creating a personal relationship with a client through customisable communications.
While efficiency may generate a high volume of prospects, personalisation is what will win you a client.
Customers want to feel as though they are important to the business, that they are not just another number and that their problems and needs are understood.
What Do I Do After I Have Won A New Client?
Many customer procurement experts will tell you that while attracting clients may be hard, the real challenge is finding away to keep them around. Client acquisition is an extremely expensive and time-intensive process. For this reason it is much more profitable to retain a customer than acquire a one-time customer.
Source: ZOO Media Group Inc.
If you are looking to learn more about how to win and retain clients you should consider attending the MAUS Winning New Clients Conference.