How to Increase Sales- Business Owners’ #1 Challenge

If you have ever wondered or worried about how you will attract new customers, then you are not alone.   Annual surveys of small business owners show that attracting new customers is  their number one challenge, year after year.   How can you stop having this challenge in your business?

Fountain pen writing the word growth

Attract New Customers

If you have identified who your ideal client is, you have likely discovered what your best clients have in common and what has worked in the past to get these clients.  A question business owners often ask is, “How do I find my customers?”  Knowing the answer to this question is a golden nugget.  If you don’t know where your tribe hangs out, you are unlikely to reach them consistently.

On the Internet, there are numerous opportunities to bring this audience to you, when you have an effective marketing plan.   Trying to identify where to focus your marketing efforts can seem overwhelming. With so many options via Social Media, how can you get the biggest return on investment for your time and effort to get more traffic to your website and grow your list of prospective customers? If you want to control this overwhelming process, a step-by-step approach can help you focus.

Step by Step

(1) Your first step should always be getting clear about who you want to attract.  Recently, a client who wanted to enhance their marketing efforts was looking for guidance about choosing a marketing consultant to create content.   I asked who her company’s best clients were, and proceeded to ask what made those her ideal customers.  Did they spend more?  Were they easier to support? Had they been customers for a long time?

What my client realized was that her previous target audience didn’t actually provide her with her best clients and were probably costing the company money. For a long time, her company had been operating under the assumption that their middle market clients were their target audience. But, in our discussion, she was able to recognize that the bigger clients rarely left them and required very little support. As a software company, providing support can be expensive in both time and money. And, for any business a loyal, long-term customer is ideal, especially when they generate a significant amount of revenue. So, who are your ideal clients?

pelican-336583_1280When you know the niche you serve best, it will be easier to target your messaging to their specific needs.  However, if your message targets the wrong audience, you will keep getting more of the wrong clients.

(2) Once you have a detailed picture of your “ideal customer,” it is time to do some research.  Reach out to five of your best clients/customers to find out why they do business with you.  Sometimes their answers will surprise you, but if you consistently hear the same answers, that becomes your message.

These are the benefits you, your company and/or product bring to your customers; what they need and want.  Make sure to capture their language, as it is the language and words your best customers use to describe their problem or find a solution to the problem.

(3) Do some research on your competition.  Where are they promoting their products?  How do they differentiate themselves in the marketplace?  If you are unsure who your competition is, use the questions your clients used to do a Google search and see what comes up on the first three pages.  Understanding your competitors messaging and what differentiates you provides a framework for your marketing content.

Sales without Selling

Forrester research found that depending upon the industry, anywhere from two-thirds to 90% of the buying decision is made before a potential customer reaches out to a human being.  The more your message speaks to your ideal client, the more likely they are to purchase.  Another benefit of “speaking” via content both on your website and social media to your ideal client is that qualified prospective customers find you and self-select. When your content lets potential customers know you really understand their problem and have a solution they need, they will be interested in your product and service and seek as much as they can find on what you offer.

This process is more complex than having the right message, but continuing to talk about the issues your clients are facing will help attract other buyers with the same issues to your product/service. And, when customers and prospective customers engage with you via comments or sharing/liking your content you have found your sweet spot. Engagement on the Internet either through your website or social media is what helps get your content out to more potential clients. When people engage, your brand reaches a wider audience.

What to Do Until They Find YOU

With all of the information you have learned about your ideal client and their issues, identify blogs, forums and social media where they are spending time.  Engage as another voice, not to sell.  In other words, you don’t want to talk about your product but rather show interest in their problems or offer answers/solutions to their questions.

Additionally, connect with related products and services and engage with them on the Internet. This connection creates opportunities to link to other websites where your customers are hanging out or researching answers to their questions.

Be consistent and review regularly, to determine if your strategy is creating new opportunities. There are many ways to track where activity comes from on the Internet and in this way you get to know fairly quickly what is working and what isn’t. The sooner you get to what is working, focus your time and money on the number one activity and results will follow. Using the 80/20 rule that 80% of your results comes from 20% of your activity, when the 20% is the right activity, you will be able to work less and generate more opportunity.

How did your best clients find you? Leave us a comment to let us know what is working in your business.

16 Comments

  1. Allison, thanks putting this out there! Narrowly identifying your ideal customer and interviewing those customers about their experience with you is a page right out of the Duct Tape Marketing playbook, and I’m glad to see someone else teaching it. As for me, my best customers come by way of referrals from strategic partners, many of whom I met through Business Networking International (BNI).

  2. John Ramstead

    Allison, you start with the concept of Clarity. This is so important. Knowing WHY you do what you do and then developing a deep understanding of who you want to do that for will guide every decision. Thank you for the great post!

    1. ahmoran

      Thanks for the comment Jodi. I have the same story as you. What I think is true no matter where you build your audience is that if you are very clear about who you serve best, they will find you!

  3. fitJaime

    It took hustle to get a lot of my clients. My best clients however, came as referrals from the hustle. I’m now hosting webinars as part of my attraction funnel… seems to be getting good response… we’ll see after the next one!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.