Fishing for new clients

5 tips for finding & catching them.

Now Easter is over and all those ‘pesky’ holidays early in the year are now over, business life can resume normal programming. And for most of us that means getting on with new business development.

When you first start out there’s a real temptation to chase anything that moves in an effort to get some business, any business. But as your business matures, often you can start to be a little more choosy about which types of business you take on. You’ve learned which clients initially look great, but turn into headaches later and which ones offer the makings of a better relationship.

And everyone knows that real repeat business really only comes from building good solid relationships over time that enable you to become essentially a client partner – not just a supplier.

But how do you find those people in the first place?

1. What fish are you fishing for?

Figure out what groups of people most need your product or service. Be very specific. For example, at Serviced Office International, or SOI for short, we could just say we’re after Sydney-based business owners. But really, that’s not very helpful because it’s far too broad and we could waste a lot of money promoting to people whose businesses are too big or too small for SOI’s services.

So instead we break that down by industry and business size/age. One of the groups of business owners we’re currently looking to talk to is fitness professionals like personal trainers, small gym owners, looking to outsource some of their admin such as answering their phone, so they can get on with their ‘real’ job of training clients.

2. Fish where the fish are (when the fish are hungry)

Find out where those people hang out – think laterally. Now you might think gyms are where they hang out and you’d be right. BUT and it’s a bit but – when they’re at the gym, they’re busy dealing with their customers – too busy to talk to suppliers (even future partners) and really, when you think about it, that’s why they might need our live reception services. So if the gym is out, where else can you go? Well this week, we’re exhibiting at Australian Health & Fitness Expo – where the very people we’re looking to talk to will come to us.

3.    Find out what the fish like to eat

Talk to them in terms of WIIFM. WIIFM is a critical factor in winning new business. Every client whether they’re ‘shopping’ on behalf of their business or for themselves personally, wants to know “what’s in it for me?” So when you’re putting together documents, sales presentations or even thinking through what you’re going to do to draw people to your stand at an expo – think about what’s in your (insert promotional tool) your customer. Hint: it’s not that you’re faster, easier, cheaper (because that’s about you!). It’s that you’re saving them their money, time and possibly their business/marriage/sanity.

4.    Give them a little bit at a time

If you give your potential client everything that you have to offer in the first couple of minutes of talking to you, that’s like flinging all your bait into the water at the same time and then offering a baitless hook. The fish eat until they’re full, ignore the hook and swim off.

But if you give just a little taster of what you have to offer. The client is likely to either come back or be more open to discussions the next time because you’ve demonstrated the ability to give value, but left them wanting more.

5.    Move to new fishing grounds when the fish move

Once you’ve captured as many of that particular client segment you’re looking for – perhaps you’ve a new product or service that appeals to different people, don’t forget to think about moving to a new fishing spot. After all there’s no point fishing for Flounder where the Brim are prevalent. And don’t forget, they might eat different things – so it might be back to the drawing board for a bit or you might be able to leverage what you’ve already developed by finding a market segment that has similar needs).

6.    And one final fishing tip

It’s probably safe to say that the fishing isn’t terribly good if you sit in your office, waiting or willing the fish to come to you. If you want to catch fish – you have to go fishing in the first place. But fear not, the first nibbles are exciting and landing your first (or next) clients is exhilarating.

I’d love it if you followed me on twitter or you can connect with me via linkedin. And please feel free to share what’s worked for you when you’ve had one of those days.

If we can help you keep your focus on what matters in your business, call us on +61 2 9994 8000 or visit us www.serviced.com.au

Picture credit: CASTING A LINE © Jxpfeer | Dreamstime.com

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