Contributed Column

Marketing 101

How to find new business? Five easy tips

by Christine Miller, Miller Consulting LLC

“How do you find new business?” It’s a question I hear a lot. Although it can be challenging and frustrating, there are things you can do to make finding new customers easier, and make the business come to you.

1. Mine your existing clients for new work.

You’ve heard it before: 80 percent of your business comes from 20 percent of your clients. Know and love those clients. Contact past and current clients with new products and services. Don’t let them forget how wonderful you are to work with, and thus keep their loyalty.

2. Tell everyone about your business.

Have your friends and family do the same. I once asked a very successful salesperson how he continued to find new customers. One of his techniques was to put a business card in every piece of mail he sent out — that included bill payments to the electric company and the garbage collector. You never know who may need your product or service one day, so don’t be shy about spreading the word. Add your Facebook and Twitter accounts to those business cards. Every e-mail you send should include a signature with your business contact info. And change “sent from my iPhone” to your business slogan.

3. Have your elevator pitch ready and perfected.

Then you’ll be ready for the “So, what do you do?” question. As you make an effort to gain new business you’ll be surprised by how often you get asked about your company. Being asked is great. It gives you the opportunity to share what sets your business apart.

Have a simple, clear answer as to what service or products you and your company provide. If you’re in a specialized business, make sure you speak in simple terms so the message is easily understood. 

4. Be known for what you know.

Blog, write, and speak about your industry. Become an expert and trusted resource. Attend seminars, trade shows, and association meetings and share your knowledge either as a speaker or over coffee during a break. If you are tech savvy, create informational podcasts or videos to post on your website or on YouTube.

Many organizations offer networking and speaking opportunities; most offer complimentary visits to see if the organization is a good fit for you. Take advantage of those offers. Go to a variety of meetings and determine where you feel most comfortable and have the most success.

Don’t be discouraged if your first outing is unproductive. Keep looking; you’ll find a match and some new prospects. Explore LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter groups, or create a group if one doesn’t exist.

5. Advertise.

Yes, you do need to advertise — having a great location, many years in the industry, or the best widget does not exclude you. McDonald’s has one of the most recognized brands worldwide yet it still needs to advertise. So do you.

Advertising can take many forms. Traditional advertising includes radio, TV, and print — such as this magazine. Examples of new media include everything from websites, pay-per-click, Facebook, Twitter, 4-Square, and discount coupons such as Groupon.

Done properly advertising is an effective way to generate new business and should be considered a fixed expense like utilities.

You can only bootstrap your marketing budget for so long. Spend money on what will drive results based on research and customer analysis, not personal tastes or the advice of friends. Have goals and a plan to measure the results before you buy.

Identifying which of the five techniques works best depends on your business. However, a combination of the above is usually most effective.

Yes, it’s work, but the return on investment is well worth the time. •

Christine Miller is president of Miller Consulting LLC, which provides B2B plans and solutions to the sales and marketing challenges faced by small start-up to established companies. She can be reached at 734-5689 or chris@millersalesconsulting.com.

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