For entrepreneurs to grow a profitable business, it is essential to develop a strategy that includes consistently looking for sales opportunities. To do this, entrepreneurs need to find and connect with prospective customers on a regular basis to maintain the level of sales necessary to create a positive cash flow and sustainably scale their business.
Tips on how to find and connect with your customers to help generate sales
Know your customer – Knowing your customer and what value you have to offer them is the first step to building out a sales strategy. Once you know who they are, including their goals, initiatives, timelines, and challenges, then make sure to have a clear understanding of how your product/service will benefit them.
Revisit current customers with new products/services – When selling a new product or service, look back at some of your past clients to see if there may be interest in this additional item as an upgrade or add-on sale.
Send emails to prospective customers – Collecting business cards from tradeshows, networking events and business meetings are a great way to get a list of possible customers. It is essential to follow up with these prospective sales leads as early as possible, so they remember how, why and when you met. Also, refer to the Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL) regarding rules about implied and express consent when it comes to electronic communications.
Write a success story or case study – Showcasing work that you’ve accomplished helps build your credibility with prospective clients. If you are looking to expand or sell into a specific industry, showing work you’ve done with a similar client offers added value and a possible reference if needed.
Reach out to people on social media -If you are connected with people on social networks such as LinkedIn, reach out to them to start a conversation. Take the time to see what they are doing and share with them a business update that may be of interest to them.
Ask for referrals – If someone isn’t the decision maker, ask if they can refer you to someone who is. If they are the decision maker and not able to use your product/service at this time, ask if they know someone who they think may be interested and as for a referral.
Call people – Spend a day calling prospective clients. Sometimes people are relieved to have a conversation rather than read another email. Always ask if the person has time for a few minutes to talk during the opening of the phone call and take the time to craft a few points to keep your conversation on target.
Advertise – Consider spending some money to put out some lead generation digital advertisements. Make sure to do some research first to know where your audience is spending time online (i.e. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, GoogleAds, etc.), what messaging resonates with them (i.e. keywords), what visual content you will include (i.e. video, product photo, lifestyle image, graphic, etc.) and what you want them to do (e.g. send them to a specific landing page with a product/service promotion). Start with a small budget, test it, and then invest more in what is working.
Review analytics – Are people abandoning their shopping carts on your online store? Review the data to see how you can help move people through the buying process. Are people landing on your website’s contact page and not submitting a request for consultation or meeting? Google analytics can help analyze who is visiting the page, the various pages they visited on your website, how long they stayed on your page, and more. All of this information can help you evaluate your sales process, type of sales supporting content, and marketing effort to help convert your leads to closed deals.
Listen and learn – Sales is a learned skill, and it takes time to master it. Actively listen to what your customer wants, always look to add value when presenting a sales pitch, and build a relationship with them for long-term success.
To learn more about how to develop a sales strategy for your small business, sign up for our FREE upcoming ‘Mid-Week Boost’ Sales Webinar Series starting Nov. 7 (4 weeks). More information can be found here.
The Mississauga Business Enterprise Centre (MBEC) is your central source for business information, resources and guidance. For information and guidance, visit MBEC on the fourth floor of the Mississauga Central Library or by phone or email.