Everyone wants more business and there’s a ton of information on how you can go about getting it. But it really boils down to three simple steps.
1. Attract Your Target Market
The first thing you need to do is attract attention to your company, product or service. You need people to notice what you have and to take an interest in it.
But, you don’t want to attract just anyone. You need to attract the right people – the ones who are most likely to buy what you’re offering. These people are your target market.
You need to know what attracts your target market so that you can attract them, and only them, repelling all others.
And, in order to know what attracts your target market, you need to know as much as possible about them – such as their social media preferences, what forums they hang out in, and what their opinions are of your competitors’ offers.
The best way to learn about your target market is to ask them questions. This can be done easily if you already have some prospects and/or customers. All you need to do is send them a survey and you will quickly get some answers.
Don’t have any prospects or customers yet? No problem! The internet has made this a snap! You can still get answers from your target market directly by going into a forum where they hang out and asking them your questions.
FOR EXAMPLE, if your business sells collectibles from cult classic movies, you’ll want to find an online forum where collectors gather to discuss their latest finds or what they’re currently looking for.
You’ll want to pay special attention to the language the posters use, because that is the language that will attract them. It’s always best to speak the same language in all of your marketing materials as that which your target market speaks.
A patient says “I have a cut.” A doctor says, “You have a laceration.” How you describe the cut will determine whether you attract the doctor or the patient, and the same is true for your market.
Its a good idea to lurk on a forum for a little while before you post. You might even find the answers to your questions without posting. But, if not, lurking will help you become familiar with the language and culture on the forum, and help you seem like less of an outsider trying to sell something and more like one of them.
Quora is also an excellent way to get information on your target market. Just type in a question or look at the questions others are asking in your category of interest and read the answers.
Another thing you can do is talk to people face to face. If you’re selling collectibles, go to a local collectibles show or shop and strike up some conversations with some of the people there. Most people won’t mind answering a few questions as long as it’s part of a natural conversation and you’re not drilling them.
Or, maybe you don’t sell products but services? If there’s a local convention or conference, go.
Blogs that reach out to your target market are another great way to get information. But, don’t just look at the comments. Look at the posts too. If it’s a popular blog it means they’re doing it right and they’re attracting attention – just like you want to do. Look at the posts to see what it is they’re writing about that is attracting so much attention.
Once you’ve gathered enough information on your target market (you know their language, where they hang out, and what interests them the most), you can use that information on your web site, in your social media, and in all of your marketing materials to attract the right people.
2. Develop An Ongoing Relationship
When someone first hears about your company, products or services, it might peak their interest but you’ve still got a ways to go before you make a sale.
Most people won’t buy the first time they hear about you. In fact, most people will forget about you within moments of having first heard of you and been interested.
In order to help your target market remember you, they’re going to need to see or hear your message many times. And, not just your sales message. They need to be able to make a connection with you or your company, and that can’t be done through most advertising. For most small businesses today it’s most often done through the mail – either snail mail, email, or both.
You don’t want to bombard your prospects with sales pitches and advertisements. You need to gain their trust and loyalty and you can’t do that if you’re constantly trying to sell them something.
You want to become like a dependable, trusted friend to your target market. To do that you need to give them a steady flow of content from you so they can get to know you and see that you’re knowledgeable about whatever you sell that they are interested in.
It’s easy to offer content to your target market online. You can start a blog and then email your prospects whenever you’ve got a new post. You can also put content right into your emails.
If you want to reach your target market offline you can send them a monthly newsletter as well as things like holiday, birthday and anniversary cards, postcards, and an occasional sales letter. This route is more expensive but it’s also a better way to ensure your content is read.
It’s harder to lose a physical piece of mail. It won’t get buried in the inbox and it demands immediate attention. It also can’t be instantly deleted.
And, don’t worry if you’re not a writer. You can hire someone to do the writing for you. Different writers specialize in writing different things, so just make sure you’ve got the right person for your project and that they’re very good at what they do.
Developing an ongoing relationship with your prospects is the most important thing you can do with them once they’ve opted into your list. It’s what gets them from prospect to customer to repeat customer.
3. Convert Your Prospect Into A Customer
You’ve attracted your target market, gained some prospects and started an ongoing conversation with them through email, snail mail or both.
Now it’s time to convert those prospects into customers!
The easiest way to do this is to make an offer your prospect can’t refuse. This is usually done in the form of a minimally priced product or service. At this point it’s not about making a big sale. It’s about getting the prospect to say “yes,” and they’re most likely to say yes to a small purchase.
Once the customer says “yes,” and they make that first purchase, you have a 60 – 70% chance of selling to them again, as opposed to only a 5-20% chance of selling to a new prospect.
This is why it’s so important to cultivate a relationship with prospects, and continue that relationship after the first sale is made.
Once the customer has made a small purchase, they can then be offered a larger purchase and because they’ve already said “yes” once, they’re more likely to say it again.
This process can be repeated to get the customer to continue saying “yes” to higher price points.
If you’re thinking this won’t work for you because yours is a brick and mortar business, rest assured you can use this tactic as well.
If a prospect comes in to your bridal shop, for EXAMPLE, and she’s looking for the perfect wedding dress, you’ll certainly show her some wedding dresses. But, chances are she’s not going to buy it today. She’s going to want to continue to look around.
So, you’ll also want to show her some accessories – shoes, purses, hair jewels, and veils – as well as the dresses. If you can get her to buy one of the smaller items, you’ve got a better chance of selling her the dress when she’s ready to buy because she’s already done business with you.
Understand, however, that you’re not trying to sell the customer something just for the sake of selling. You want to be helpful and offer only what the customer will truly want, or what will make their original purchase even better. You want to be thought of like a trusted friend or adviser, not a sales person.
Another way to make an offer your prospect can’t refuse is if you’ve got exactly what they’re looking for, and nobody else has it.
Let’s go back to the EXAMPLE of the bride. She’s not looking for just any dress that strikes her fancy. She’s already found the dress she wants in a magazine. It’s an expensive designer gown that’s difficult to find in her area. And she comes to you.
If you’ve got that dress she’ll buy it right now. If you don’t have it, there’s no point in trying to change her mind.
If you carry bridesmaid dresses, you might make a sale there, but you’re not going to be able to sell her the dress of her dreams. You can show her other dresses that are similar, but chances are she’ll continue to look for the dress she wants as long as she believes she can find it.
If you’ve done your homework to attract the right prospect and you’ve developed a relationship with that prospect, making an offer they can’t refuse is pretty simple because you know what they want. It’s easy to sell a product or service when the prospect wants it.
Attract, develop, convert. These are the three steps to getting new customers. They are the steps that you’ll go through over and over again to grow your business. The more you do them, the better at them you’ll become and the more your business will grow!
Dedicated to your success,