You’ve registered your business name, received your ABN, developed a business plan and taken all of the necessary steps to start providing your products or services to the public. So what’s next? How do you start building a reliable sales pipeline and ultimately, get new clients to help sustain your business, and grow it, too?
How do I get new clients?
Surprisingly, this is one question we hear time and time again. More often than not, it’s this question that is pushed to the back of the pile while the short term focus of building a new business takes priority. But, what about the long term? The countless hours and tireless efforts that have been invested often go to waste when a new business goes to market, and more often than not, it’s because the long term goals haven’t been considered. You could have the perfect business plan in place – you’ve identified your niche, established a point of difference, have a great understanding of your competitors, hired any support staff you require and now there’s nothing left to do but start. Unfortunately, getting clients isn’t as easy as some startup business operators think. It takes time, dedication and, yes, financial investment to attain new clients and customers. So, where do you start?
1. Start by talking
Tell people what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Know your target market and go where they go to network – events, conferences, meetups and expos are great places to kick things off. Check out Eventbrite if you’re short on ideas or want to find upcoming events in your area. Despite the technologically driven environment we live in, face to face communication and good ol’ fashioned word of mouth are still some of the best marketing assets you can have to develop relationships and attain new clients.
2. Get a website
Building relationships in person is great, but what else can you do to get new clients on board? Once you’ve established rapport, where do you send your potential customers to take the next step? It’s astounding how many small businesses still operate without an active online presence – whether that be through a website or other online channels such as social media. Taking your business online is hands down one of the best investments a small business can make. Not only do you now have an easily accessible destination to send potential clients, it offers a platform to outline your services and pricing and explain to potential customers why they should choose your business over your competitors. With the ability to add customised forms and develop content specifically tailored to the needs of your target audience, your website is often your first port of call for customers looking for the products or services you offer and allows the opportunity for you to collect and gather their details for further marketing opportunities.
3. Invest in Advertising
You might have heard of a little thing called Google. Okay, let’s be honest – it’s pretty big. In fact, it accounts for approximately 90% of all search traffic, with the remaining 10% spread across the smaller search engines such as Yahoo! and Bing. With this much traffic attributed to Google, you can imagine that competition to appear on the first results page is fierce at best. Doing so takes time, an optimised website and a bit of trial and error, but with dedication it is certainly achievable. In the short term however, there are alternative solutions such as Google Adwords, which allow you to place paid ads in search results for specific keywords or search terms. Not only will this give your business instant visibility in Google, but the additional click throughs to your website will help build credibility and in turn your websites’ organic reach. True to the old adage of ‘You’ve got to spend money to make money’, posting ads will require a financial investment, however with the correct strategy in place, has the potential to yield considerable reward.
Over to you
As you can see, it takes time, dedication and financial investment to attract new clients. With that said, if you take the time to understand your market and put in place the appropriate steps to help reach them, you’re well on your way to building your database and generating a healthy sales pipeline.