10 tips for generating new business
Gaining customers is very difficult, whether you are just starting out with your own business or have been in business for a while. Acquiring new leads is basically the hardest challenge for every company. So how can you generate new leads and gain new customers?
There are many ways to gain new business, but you must be prepared to work hard for it and get out there to meet new people while investing time and money into your own marketing. Do not expect everything to just fall into your lap; that’s simply not how it works. Here are my top 10 tips on how to generate new leads:
- Do your homework
Be prepared to get out there and meet as many new people as possible. If there are 30 potential customers in your region, visit them all. It may be exhausting, but you may very well gain 4 or 5 customers from it.
- Word-of-mouth advertising
Tell everyone you know (friends, family, former colleagues) that you have your own business. Tell people about the services you offer and you will see that word-of-mouth advertising results in a few decent leads. If you have satisfied existing customers, ask them for referrals. Consider offering a commission to anyone who can convert referrals into paying customers.
- Take a deep breath
Do not expect to start generating leads right away. That’s not how it works, especially in this digital age. You often need to build sincere relationships because you can gain customers. I personally talked with someone online for a full year before I gained enough trust for them to start purchasing my services. Be patient, take a deep breath, and do not expect to have customers right away. If you are only interested in the order, people will be able to smell your desperation from a mile away and will no longer get in touch with you.
- Networking works
Networking meetings appear boring these days, but they are still valuable. Try visiting one or two events per month. Arm yourself with professional business cards and talk to as many people as possible. Go there with low expectations, be friendly and relaxed, and do not expect too much from every event. It’s all about ‘under-sell’, so just enjoy talking to people and if the opportunity arises, exchange business cards.
- ‘Spread the love’
Do not forget to inform old and existing customers about every positive activity that takes place within your business. Just launched a new product or service? Talk about it! Regularly send a newsletter and ensure that your e-mail signature has a message. Seize every opportunity to spread the love for your company, whether you add promotions with your invoices or send a promotional calendar to your customers every year. In essence, you want everyone to keep you in the back of their head, so that they call you first if they need one of your products and services.
- Have online conversations with website visitors
By using live chat on your website, you can easily get in touch with your website visitors. You are already investing a lot into your website and attracting traffic, so why not talk to the visitors if they took the trouble to visit your website? Most visitors are your potential customers!
- Share your expertise
A great way to generate new leads is to share your expertise and become an ‘industry expert’. Write ‘top tips’ articles or educational articles for your own website or consider pitching article ideas to leading online magazines. Regularly write a decent blog and talk about all sorts of things that matter within your own industry. Do not be afraid to get out there and pitch yourself as an expert. Do not forget to regularly participate in competitions within your own industry and ensure you write about everything you collect or achieve via your own website, e-mail signature, or newsletter.
- Make optimal use of ‘search’
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the art of changing a website so that it performs better in the natural organic search engine results. Make sure you do SEO for your own website and start attracting new leads online. When I first started my own company, I optimized my website for the terms ‘interim business development’ and achieved a first page position within a few months. Many questions come in through my own website because many people use the Internet like a phone book. If you have not considered SEO yet, make this your top priority, because the Internet is often the first place people go to.
- Read all about it!
The media is your best friend, so get the most out of public relations and send a press release to the local newspaper or journals. Ensure your press release is about something newsworthy that involves your business. It must be truly newsworthy, so think about what might inspire a journalist. In case of doubt, pick up the phone and call the editors. Introduce yourself to the chief editor and ask them what kind of stories they are looking for. Maybe this conversation leads to an article. If you cannot think of anything newsworthy, call the advertising department of the local newspaper and ask for the person who deals with competitions, and offer something as a prize.
- Close cooperation with other companies
It is a good idea to work together with other local businesses, because you can generate a lot of business for each other. Larger organizations can hand over orders they do not want or cannot handle, while smaller companies can work together to obtain and manage larger projects. Do not be afraid to make friends with some of your competitors: you will see that you can promote each other and fill holes in terms of skills where possible.
These are some of my own top tips on how to generate new leads. If you have any great ideas you want to add, feel free to leave a comment below. This way, this can become a great source for everyone to share and use…
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