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Where to Find New Customers

By: Alison Daniels - Updated: 11 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
New Business Customers Business

Somewhere out there, are people who want to buy your products and services, but where are they and how can you find out? What can you do to find out what they are looking for?

Local Products and Services

If you offer a product or service within a localised geographical area – things like window cleaning, fast food deliveries, cleaning or ironing services, then door to door leafleting can work very well. If you offer a discount voucher, you will increase your response rate.

Door to door leafleting is preferable to leaving a flyer under a car’s windscreen wiper. People often initially assume that they have either been given a parking ticket or that their car has been dented; neither is going to put them in a good frame of mind for getting in touch with you.

Word of Mouth and Referrals

If you’re a trades person, then the simplest way to gain new customers is to leave some cards when you’ve finished a job. People are happy to refer good contacts to their friends and colleagues. Some supermarkets and DIY stores offer displays that dispense business cards for local businesses, which can also lead to new business if chosen carefully. It might also be worth talking to solicitors and estate agents who may be happy to pass on your details to prospective home buyers. If you supply business services, asking clients to make introductions to other companies they know can also be a good way to find new contacts.

Thinking About your Target Customer

The key is to think about your customers and where they are likely to be. If you offer a service such as driving lessons and you find that most of your customers are teenagers, then approaching school boards or parent teacher associations to offer discounted lessons in return for being able to put a poster up in the school may pay off. It also helps to think laterally. What other groups of people may want to learn to drive? What about nurses, or multinational companies that regularly bring in executives from overseas. Maybe there’s a contract for teaching them and their families to drive on the appropriate side of the road.

If your target customers belong to a profession or occupational group, then look at writing for their trade magazines, advertising in them or buying their mailing lists for direct mail or e-marketing.

Lifestyles and Life Stages

Some products and services lend themselves well to being targeted at people who are at a certain stage of their lives or who lead certain lifestyles. For example, younger families who’ve just moved into a newly built home and are faced with a garden full of mud and builder’s rubble may be prime candidates for garden design and maintenance services or painters and decorators. It can be worth the effort to leaflet new builds offering a “welcome to the neighbourhood” discount. A similar approach could be employed by sandwich makers and food companies when tenants move into business or industrial premises.

If you sell on a UK wide basis to selected groups of consumers, then it can be worth spending a few hundred pounds on buying a demographic profile and mailing lists. This allows you to specify what type of customer you’re seeking very precisely – to the level of age, sex, social class, children, pet ownership house type and what they spend their money on.

Your next customer could be anywhere, you just need to keep on the lookout and maximise your opportunities of finding them.

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