In a perfect world, your business would have an unlimited budget in order to find new customers who do not yet know your business or the value you can offer them. You could buy different advertising avenues and drive new customers to your door and steadily increase your sales. However, we all know that we don’t live in a perfect world and one of the most challenging aspects of increasing sales is securing appointments with key prospects. Learning how to generate new sales leads is essential for any business, but if you don’t consider yourself a natural sales person, it can prove to be a difficult task. These four essential strategies for the fastest approach to increasing sales can help you find the best way to drive new business to your company.
Understand Your Target Audience
Before you can even think about finding new customers and increasing your sales, you need to figure out who your target audience is. Ask you and your sales team these questions:
- Who are your customers?
- What value can you proposition to your customers?
- What is your competition currently offering?
- Are there any gaps in the market that you can fill before a new business emerges?
What this really means is that you need to do some market research, whether you hire someone to do it for you or you do the legwork yourself. Attracting new customers is really about listening to their needs and coming up with a solution for them. It’s not about being a solution looking for customers who have a problem that fit your solution. Innovation is key. There are a lot of problems that customers are willing to pay for a solution for. You just have to be able to come up with one.
Know Your Current Customers and Define Your Market
To develop a marketing plan to reach new customers, you first have to understand who you are already selling to. Again, this means more market research.
- What sort of customers are you already selling to?
- What are their demographics and what solutions do they look for?
You can conduct market research with your existing customers by simply sending them a survey. You can do this inexpensively by using online survey tools like Survey Monkey. You can also look at existing sources of information such as the U.S. Census Bureau for target audience information. It all depends on your market research budget. If you have a fairly large budget, you can conduct more in-depth research with extensive interviews with current customers about how they feel about the products and services you provide, and the overall feeling they have toward your business.
You have to keep in mind that your products and services may appeal to one customer, but not to another, so understanding your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in your market is essential to your success. Using the information you get from your existing customers, you can define your target market for your product in order to win new customers and increase sales. You can determine which features and benefits matter most for each potential market. Being very clear with what you can offer a customer will give them a reason to want to come to you. Most people want something easy to understand and to the point, nothing hidden from them.
Generating Sales Leads
Now that you are equipped with all the information about your company’s strengths and weaknesses, and you have nailed down your target market, you're ready to generate sales leads. There are a number of ways you can do this, but the most helpful are:
- Cold Calling. This is a blind contact with a potential customer who isn’t expecting your pitch. You can find customer leads to call by looking through newspapers, hiring a third-party to create a list, or watching people and businesses moving into your turf.
- Advertising. Most businesses spend three to five percent of their revenue on advertising, but if your business is small, you want to be sure your advertising is effective. Ask your customers where they heard about you so you can get an idea of where your advertising is effective and reaching your target audience.
- Networking. This can be done all the time, anywhere. You can network at community organizations, events, business functions, even at your kid’s play. You can also use the 21st Century mode of networking by using social sites like LinkedIn.
- Ask for Referrals. This goes along with networking. You should routinely use your relationship with existing customers to ask for referrals. When you are trying to secure appointments with new prospects through a referral, it's important to offer a sample template for your introduction. This will help them save time and help you start a conversation.
Sell More to Existing Customers
Many companies believe the only way to increase sales is to find new customers. But that strategy leaves out a huge potential source of new sales. It’s much easier for you to convince existing customers to buy something from you than it is to try to persuade a new customer. Your existing customer base already trusts you, making it easier to increase your sales. Here are a few ways of increasing sales with existing customers:
- Bundle Products. For a special price, you can bundle products and services to get your existing customers to try new things.
- Upsell. Go back to existing customer and try to get them to buy related products or services to the ones they are already getting from you.
- Customer Rewards. Thing about a loyalty program. Incentives for your existing customers is a good way of ensuring they continue to return and buy from you.
- Free Samples. Offering free samples won’t cost you a lot and it is a good way of getting your product and services out there. Your existing customers can pass along the free samples to new, potential clients or the free samples may convince them to buy it.
Finding new sales leads and increasing sales doesn’t have to be a burden. The easiest place to start is with your existing pool of customers. You got them for a reason. Figure out how you got them, what problems you solve for them, and look for similar customers. You got this!