Every business wants to attract new customers, but not everyone has the budget for big advertising campaigns and flashy promotions. Sometimes you need to let your work speak for itself, but it can also help to give a little push.
You can start by teaching prospective customers how to buy from your company. You must educate them on your competence, culture, and style. Are you asking the right questions to help them discover how you are truly different than your competition? Are you finding out what you can do that your competition can’t, or what you will do that your competition won’t?
Once you have this information your job is to find out what is important to the prospective client, which will help him or her develop criteria on how to make a decision. If your competitive differences are not important to them, it very may well come down to price. If they are important, you just taught the customer how to buy from you.
Another great way to pull in new customers is through referrals. You may be receiving referrals already. This is a good sign, and it demonstrates the fact that you do good work. But are you asking for them?
Plenty of companies receive referrals to other agents or businesses or individuals, but these referrals are coming from the 20% of your client base that provides them unprompted. 60% of your clients will give you a referral, but you have to ask most of them. Your people may run into mental roadblocks here, as they may feel like they are being greedy or pushing people too far.
To help avoid this feeling, remember one simple rule: get permission. If you set an expectation up front and get permission to have a referral conversation after the job if you perform great work, people will be comfortable having the conversation with you. This does not mean they automatically throw referrals in your lap. It means the chances of your company receiving a referral skyrocket, since the expectation has been set and they know what is coming when you complete the work.
Never force someone to have a conversation they don’t want to have, because you will kill your relationship and any opportunity for future work – and you probably won’t get the referral that you wanted, anyway. If they provide a referral, thank them for the opportunity. If they don’t have anything for you at that time, it’s fine – just thank them for the job they provided.
Teaching customers to buy from you and asking for referrals are a pair of easy grassroots ways to grow your business without having to spend money. They simply depend on the quality of your work and your ability to connect with your customers, and that’s something every business owner can get behind.