The best way to make sure your company flourishes and grows is to consistently find new customers. New customers often result in quickly realized revenue with a low acquisition cost and high margins. Here are five proven techniques for finding new customers.
- Existing customers: How many additional divisions, sister organizations, other plants does your current customer have that you’re not doing business with? They know you, they trust you, you already are approved as a supplier — why not get all the business instead of the small amount you currently have? Also, who do they know that they could refer you to — either inside their company or in their business or social circle?
- Past customers: Go back to past customers to see if their needs or people have changed. Also, try selling to the company’s additional divisions, sister organizations, and other plants. As you speak with people, ask who they know that they could refer you to, either inside their company or in their business or social circle?
- Vertical markets: Much of what you do and who you work with is transferrable to other potential clients in similar sectors. For example, if you work with electrical contractors, you may want to look at plumbing, landscape, and roofing contractors. They are in the vertical market of construction contractors.
- Trade groups and associations: If you are already part of a trade organization, consider reaching out to fellow members. They might make good clients or referral sources. Work together with other members to get business that will benefit both of you. Also, don’t overlook the organization itself — they may need or have use for what you do now more than ever!
- Non-profits and civic groups: Many non-profits are hurting for revenue but they still have business needs. While you may not be able to charge full price, you might be able to secure work with a non-profit and then use publicity to leverage that work into name recognition or other jobs. Recently, a Tennessee non-profit needed a new office. A local builder took the job and while he didn’t make much money, it enabled him to keep his crews working and cash flowing. The builder got good publicity in the news media for the job. From this, the builder picked up two jobs which more than paid for the short profits on the non-profit job.
While there is no magic solution for gaining new customers, some hard work put into these five areas will keep you growing and moving forward.
Tim Shaver is a Vistage Chair in Nashville Tennessee. He is owner of Tim Shaver and Associates; a business consulting, coaching and training company. Tim Shaver and Associates is an authorized franchisee of Sandler Training.