Starting a business is a big task, but it can seem easy when compared to step two: finding customers. The marketplace is inundated with competition in every industry, so some businesses might find it hard to get their name, products, and services in front of the right audience. If you've tried different types of marketing but none of it seems to be helping your bottom line, then you might want to go all the way back to the first stage of the sales process.
Prospecting is how businesses reach out to potential customers and convince them to learn more about their products or services. There are countless ways to prospect clients—cold calling is the most notorious—but four, in particular, stand out as especially effective in every industry.
This is one method of sales prospecting that allows you to reach out to potential customers with valuable information. The difference between warm and cold calls is that in warm calls, the customer has expressed some interest in your brand. This makes them much easier to pitch to because they're open to hearing about your products and might even have questions to ask.
You can start placing warm calls by looking at your list of qualified leads. It might be people who have subscribed to your newsletter, gave their information at an event you hosted or left a message requesting more information. Getting in touch with every person who expresses interest is an easy way to capture new customers and increase your sales.
Business thrives on referrals. Plain and simple. But how do you get them? Just ask your customers! Referrals are easy to obtain if you're willing to ask people to hand them out. This might be a simple, "Tell your friends!" at the end of a meeting or you could offer discounts to existing customers for bringing in new people. Some businesses even hand out referral cards so new clients know exactly who to call. However you choose to approach this, remember that your loyal customers are also your biggest advocate, so use them to your advantage.
This is a type of prospecting that is often overlooked because it takes the most time. Content marketing is a way to educate potential customers about your brand without it feeling "sales-y." Think of a company blog full of articles about your industry, your products and why people should choose your brand. Content marketing presents an opportunity to become a thought leader in your field, which helps to build trust among consumers.
To do this correctly, however, you have to have a little content know-how. Content marketing works best when it's focused on primary and relevant keywords that target a specific user. From there, you'll also need someone to write and edit the content before posting it to your website. After pieces are up, it usually takes between 3-6 months to start seeing growth because you're relying on organic traffic.
Another way to prospect for your business is to get going with an email marketing campaign. This is an easy way to utilize all those emails you collect from clients and your website. It gives you a marketing channel to share special news, discounts and updates about your brand with people who want to know.
This is another type of marketing that can take some time, though, which is why many businesses opt to automate their email strategies. There are plenty of tools out there you can use to create scheduled emails, automatic replies and new campaigns effortlessly. They help you to save time on monitoring your marketing so you can focus on growing your business.
These four approaches to prospecting are tried and true ways to start bringing more customers through your doors. Every business needs to find the right type of prospecting for them, but no one should ignore these simple avenues that lead to success.
Related: The Challenges With Lead Generation