"Customers": the CEOs use this word over and over! You too surely think of them a lot. You especially wonder how to attract them to develop your professional activity. Find clients for your business is essential. Many entrepreneurs have a rather risky commercial prospecting, without follow-up and without overall reflection. However, the strategy is essential, in this area as in all others. Imagine your customer is a needle in a haystack. Are you going to pick it up by hand? Or are you going to use a magnet? In this article, I explain the stages of a commercial prospecting effective. Good reading !
1. Define the commercial target and its needs
Define a communication target
Have you made a customer study before seeking to prospect? It's hard to find what you're looking for when you don't know exactly what it looks like, right? How to attract new customers when you don't know who they are? So your first question is this: what does your needle look like?
This question is strongly linked to that of your corporate identity. You certainly want to work for people who share your values. It is completely normal and recommended for your development.
First you need to know what kind of customers you want to deal with. If you are in BtoC, you ask yourself How? 'Or' What find specific clients. In the context of a company belonging to the wellness sector, for example, your target marketing can be executives overworked by their active life. Or people who, on the contrary, have already integrated well-being practices into their daily lives. On the contrary, you are in BtoB and you want find professional clients ? A company seeking welfare benefits for its employees is a good example of target customers.
Do you know your core customers? Perfect ! Now also define relay targets, who can recommend you to your aimed target : family members, therapists, etc. (still in the example of a company in the well-being sector).
Know if the offer corresponds to the target's needs
To find customers for your business, you also need to know the needs of your target on your fingertips. Why ? Quite simply because your offer (of services or products) is supposed to meet these needs.
But in fact, how to define a target audience and its needs? Normally you already know all this thanks to themarket research done at the creation of your company. If you haven't done it or if you want to offer other services to your customers, it is important to (re) do this market research.
There is another element that is very valuable in knowing the target and their needs: the customer feedback ! They are worth all the marketing analyzes in the world, because they have the advantage of being concrete and relevant… even if they are not always very pleasant to read, we agree!
Yes, I know: at this point we still haven't gone to meet the client. I'm coming ! Remember what I promised you: strategy before action. We're not going to go dig through the haystack manually to find the needle. Strategy is your magnet. And your magnet is the intimate knowledge of your client, his needs and his purchasing mechanisms.
2. Find customers in direct prospecting
Choose the supports and places of prospecting
The direct prospectingBy definition, you get to meet the customer. You will look for it where it is. And this is where I want to ask you this question: are you looking in the right place? A single needle in a pile of hay is not easy, so imagine if you are also not looking in the right one!
You will understand why the definition of target client is so important. Depending on their profile, one can find clients for his business in many different places. For example, retirees over the age of sixty-five will be more sensitive to field prospecting (at home) and in newspaper advertisements for adults between the ages of twenty and thirty. You will find these rather on specialized forums or on specific networks (Instagram rather than Linkedin, YouTube rather than Facebook, etc.). If you are targeting a socio-professional category sensitized to the environment, it is in your interest to bet on specialty shops in organic like Biocoop. If you want to work in BtoB, you must go to trade shows...
Also consider your radius of action. If you are a health care provider, your market is more local, and you should also look at local events to market yourself.
In short, how to find potential customers what if we are not looking in the right place? Think carefully about this before embarking on a direct commercial prospecting without strategy.
Adopt the right mindset in commercial prospecting
It is not easy to prospect. We expose ourselves and we can sometimes feel a feeling of illegitimacy in proclaiming our expertise and competence. This is the famous impostor syndrome ! You might be one of those who hate the phone. You don't want to harass your prospects in this way. I understand you !
However, it can pay off to have that nerve, at least if you've targeted your prospect well and your offer really brings them something. You need to develop your trust in you and in your product or service. It's part of entrepreneur mindset, so essential to succeed in this field.
The same goes for theemailing, which can be considered spam when it is intrusive, systematic and not personalized. If you use this lever ethically and intelligent, it will be very useful to you.
Direct prospecting works when it's targeted, but you can't stop at it. Let's address the third point: indirect prospecting or the art of attracting customers to you… like a magnet.
3. Find clients for your business in indirect prospecting
A active prospecting also develops indirectly. In the long run, it is even more effective at bringing customers to you. Imagine: it is as if your magnet is so strong that it attracts the needle on its own! If you've heard ofinbound marketing without really knowing what it was, there you have it, you now have a vivid image. It is not you who will seek the customer, it is the customer who comes to you because you have been able, in one way or another, to capture their interest.
Develop a professional network
Ah! The network ! Extroverted entrepreneurs feel like fish in water, while the more introverts tremble as they imagine themselves shaking hands endlessly and spending hours on Facebook. I understand that it can be intimidating in the early days of a business. You are forced to get out of your comfort zonelike when you pick up your phone to call a prospect back. Like I said above, it's all about the mindset.
Register for events entrepreneurs clubs (aperitif, breakfasts…). Go to exhibitions related to your industry. Create your social media page or business profile. Talk about your business, make yourself known. The results are not quick but, over time, what is called "networking" is excellent. solution to find customers.
Solicit your client ambassadors
I am sure that you already have customers who are convinced of your services and who will be delighted to share it with others. People's benevolence is often underestimated, and this is a strength. Ask them to leave an online review of your services or products. This one can be written or video for the more outgoing. And then there is the word of mouth. It is difficult to measure, but you know that the sincere opinion of a relative, a friend, a colleague has much more weight in a purchasing decision than sixty anonymous opinions on a sales page.
It's a really very effective way to find new customers.
Make yourself known on the Internet
Let's be honest, the majority of the population now prepares their purchases on the Internet. Even the elderly, contrary to some preconceived ideas. An entrepreneur therefore has every interest in building a digital strategy of remote prospecting on the web to find clients for his business. From the web, you have access to an incredible number of prospects. You can quickly search a whole field of haystacks to find much more than a single needle ...
How do I find customers on the Internet? You have several options. First, that of create a website. The big advantage is that you can show your expertise there with quality articles, post your customer testimonials, describe your services and products, etc. You can also find customers on Facebook, on Instagram, etc. Target the most suitable networks for your industry, as I explained above.
It takes time and skill. I can hear you here: “Yes, but I don't have time! I understand you very well, don't worry. Along with the need for effective methodologies, the lack of time is the number one reason for calling on my services. And that's why I'm talking about strategy: so that you do things efficiently from the start. Efficiency is the achievement of better efficiency-time ratio. Winning customers without spending hours on the phone or on social networks, it's possible!
I think you get the idea! For find your client (the needle) in the mass of unqualified prospects (the haystack), you need a strategy (the magnet). Put it like that, it sounds simple, but I do recognize that there may be obstacles to implementing these tips. You probably thrive in your area of expertise, but you don't feel like a salesperson at all.
The support solution then presents itself to you. It helps you remove blockages and, at the same time, it gives you all the elements to establish an effective strategy of business development. I am at your disposal if you need to be reassured in this process. Take a first appointment free so that we can study your situation!
Image credits 1: S. Hermann & F. Richter
Image credits 2: Roberto Cortes
Image credits 3: Pete Linforth