There is science and skill behind the act of getting good customers. It is not just good fortune! And, like any other area of business which needs expertise, the better you get at it, the more successful you will become. A plumber or electrician did not get to perform as such without learning the required skills. Likewise, a software engineer or rocket scientist must spend many hours in books, classrooms and the inner workings of a computer before being trusted with their work!
Whatever your area of expertise, especially if you are a contractor, small business owner or sole trader, you still need to find customers. Just as with the actual work you do, if you take a haphazard approach to finding good customers to work with then you will always underperform. So here are a few tips to help you find the best possible customers for your business.
Step One: Always measure your marketing. If you have been around for more than a handful of years, then you will notice that the Yellow Pages has disappeared. Actually, it has just got a lot smaller as a printed book and gone online to try and compete. This is because people finally realised (it took some a long time) that the standard way of getting found in the past didn’t work anymore. You can only know what works by measuring the results.
Look at all of the things you are doing to get new customers, most of which you would have started based on intuition, following your competitors or the advice of others. Then work out (it’s easier if you measure it as you go) which of these created the most leads or new customers. If you do not measure it, then now would be a good time to start. Use Google Analytics on your website, one of a variety of conversion tracking tools on social media or a simple spreadsheet for face-to-face networking. This could be as straightforward as asking people where they found you.
Even if you are a one-man-band, it is important to know what activity or marketing cost is getting the best return.
Step Two: Don’t waste money! After establishing where your best referrals and leads come from, stop doing the other things. Why waste money on marketing which doesn’t perform as well as activities which do? If networking works for you, do that; if it is Facebook then that is where you should spend your time and advertising spend, and so on…
It is this realisation that has killed the Yellow Pages. What’s interesting, though, is that there is still a very small version that gets delivered from time to time. So it either works for some, or they still haven’t cottoned on (or maybe their salespeople are even pushier than they used to be!)
Step Three: Start to spend even smarter. When you become more established (that doesn’t necessarily mean bigger) and have a more regular income, you can start to spend really wisely. Look at your customers and pick the top five or ten percent – the ones that you enjoy working with the most and who are the most valuable for you. Then create a little profiling exercise to see if you can find anyone else that fits the same mould.
Aiming some of your marketing budget specifically at getting more fantastic customers is a sure-fire way of creating a more heavenly working environment.