~by Haley Lynn Gray~
The lifeblood of nearly every business is the clients. If you have no clients or customers, you have no business, no matter how great things look. So, how do you go about finding those clients that your business needs – without spending a fortune?
There are lots of ways to find clients which involve significant expenditure, but many small businesses simply cannot afford the expenses involved in advertising or big media. Many small businesses also have such niche markets that they really don’t benefit from advertising to the world at large.
One example of this is in my home care business. Sending direct mailers and post cards does generate some clients, but not enough to justify the expense of buying the mailing list, printing the cards, and paying for postage to send the cards. Additionally, there are design fees and other hidden costs associated with mailers.
What do you do instead? Here is a list of 6 things you can do to gain business and mine your resources.
- Craft an email, and send it to everyone in your email list, your Facebook Friends, and your LinkedIn Contacts. Ask them who they know who might need your products or services. Let them know that they are not being added to an email list, and haven’t been, and that this is a one-time correspondence.
- Find a local networking group to join. I’m partial to a BNI group, especially if you can find one that is a good fit for your business. The idea behind a BNI group is that you refer to other people in the group, and they also refer to you. On a weekly basis, you can remind group members who your ideal client is so you are always top of mind for them. By scheduling one on one meetings, and also networking with other members of the group outside of the meetings, you can build meaningful relationships and fantastic referral channels to your business.
- Use this opportunity to contact people you know on LinkedIn, and network with them. You might also ask them to meet for coffee or tea. Take the time to figure out how you can help each other. What kind of clients do they need? How can they help you?
- Give yourself a call challenge. Decide that you are going to get up one day, talk to 20 different people, and ask them who might need your services. You might be shocked at who pops out of the woodwork. Every time I’ve done this, I’ve gotten new clients.
- Start talking to people you meet everywhere you go. If you are working a corporate job, talk to those people too. I’ve gotten tons of referrals just talking with people around the swimming pool and with other parents in Girl Scouts. Church is another great place to talk to people about what you do. The more you talk about what you do and let people know, the better. It may feel like you talk about business 24/7, but if you don’t tell people about what you do, then no-one will know about it and be able to find you. Another tip is to always carry business cards in your purse or wallet so you can hand them out to everyone you come across and talk to.
- Put magnets on the side and back of your car. We’ve gotten several clients this way for our home care business. You’d be amazed at how many people see them and call us asking about our services. I’ve even been asked about my business while in the drive-thru lane.
For this strategy, it’s the numbers that will determine the success. The more people you talk to the better, and the better your business will perform. Shout it to the world, not just your immediate family and friends.
Meet the Author: Haley Lynn Gray
Haley helps female entrepreneurs create a strategy plan for their businesses – so they can make enough money to spend quality time with their family, pay for their children’s dance lessons, pay bills – and not worry about where the next client is coming from.
Haley is a serial entrepreneur and founder of Leadership Girl. She helps other entrepreneurs build their businesses by sharing the benefits of her business education and experience through Business Coaching.
Whether you want to get a new business off the ground or expand an existing business, Haley can assist you.
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