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Finding and landing new customers

The first step is outlining your customer acquisition process, working out which features are most important to you in finding a potential customer.

Are they in the right location for you? Are they profitable and growing? Do they buy simply and without altering their orders? Are they looking for a business partner, rather than just the bottom price? These are among the aspects to consider.

Quality is more important than quantity. However, while a dedicated base of support may be the ultimate goal, expanding that base is an always-ongoing process.

Take a systematic approach to finding customers

Some businesses get very busy – perhaps with work from one major customer – and take their eye off the ball when it comes to their marketing and sales efforts.

I’d suggest that no customer makeup more than around 15% of your gross margin. That big customer might have made you a lot of money, but you should remain aware of the risk that they might not be there next year.

Another bad habit is to rely on the phone ringing to pick up new business, or to continue to take the same approach while the market is changing around you. You need a systematic approach to finding and landing new customers.

Where do customers gather?

Having built a picture of your perfect new customer for your business, you need to locate those who fit the profile – whether that’s in the physical world, at events such as trade shows, or in specialist online forums.

Finding out where they get their information, and what influences their buying decisions, will help make your business more accessible.

Be clear on what your value proposition is – which problems are you able to solve for this customer. You should convey a compelling and consistent proposition. Whether it’s service, price or innovation, keep it simple and easy to understand.

Marketing to new customers

Equipped with your proposition and a knowledge of what your potential customers need, you can start your marketing campaign, based on clear targets for the growth you want to achieve.

Here is where you’ll need some tools to deliver emails and track how your targets respond. It’s worth the investment.

The ideal is to create a marketing ‘machine’ that just keeps churning. That way, no matter where you are in your business cycle, you should always have a healthy pipeline of new opportunities.

Best of all, successfully attracting quality new customers to your business has a snowball effect: It will spark growth in your business, because they’ll keep buying and spread the word to others.

5 Ways to find new customers and increase sales

  1. Define your targets

Decide which features make a customer desirable to your business. Then identify the businesses in your marketplace that fit the profile.

  1. Get to know them

Find out as much as you can about your target customers, including where they go for information and what influences their buying decisions.

  1. Make the best of yourself

Present your business proposition in the most attractive way. Keep it concise and easy to grasp. Which problems are you solving for your customers?

  1. Reach out

Start your marketing campaign – and be ready to respond speedily when a potential customer bites.

  1. Keep the wheels turning

Set clear targets and track the response to each marketing activity. Make sure the quest for new business never stops, even if your main focus is elsewhere.

Business owner support

If you have any questions on running your business more efficiently please see our Business Challenges section of the site where we offer open, supportive and valuable advice that can help you grow your business and achieve your ambitions.

Find and contact your local Haines Watts office

About the author

Paul Addison

Paul helps business owners recognise and address issues that are inhibiting growth and success. He supports clients with complex projects such as aligning management teams with business owners, improving leadership skills and developing practical business plans that support owners’ goals.

He also has experience with developing forecasting models, both financial and operational, which support the future growth plans of his clients.

“I love to help owners make their businesses better places to be.”

If I wasn’t doing this I’d be: a Sports Scientist.

Favourite book: Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed

Dream Location: anywhere where I can watch the world go by, sitting next to the right people.

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