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There’s no one way to get customers. It should be a multi-faceted approach, not only for the near future, but also to create enough inbound traffic so that two years from now, having taken the right actions today, your offerings practically fill themselves up. This is why getting customers needs to be a system. Like cogs in a wheel, there’s an integration, and if one gear is off, you can’t expect the most effective results.
Here are six essential elements that go into getting more customers. The system is the acronym PEOPLE. It is, after all — more people, more customers — that we are striving for.
Often, the number one stop-block keeping a business from getting more customers is that they are starting with too small of a number at the top. There are not enough prospects to begin with to convert to customers. This leaves too much pressure to convert the limited number of prospects. What happens when there’s pressure to make a sale? Or worse yet, the customer feels the pressure? They back up, and it becomes a self-defeating cycle.
The solution is to have various active and continuous prospecting systems in place, feeding in prospects all the time. It’s best if these prospecting systems can run like a machine with tasks being delegated until you or a sales representative may need to step in.
With continuous prospecting systems in place, this is where the greatest reward may be down the road a bit. But here’s a forewarning: When do most people stop or ease up on prospecting? When they’re busy. What happens then? When they slow down, there aren’t enough people knocking at the proverbial door. So, the feast-or-famine cycle continues. Systematize your prospecting so that there’s a constant and steady stream of possibilities.
Again, this is more longer-term thinking, but it’s so important for your future. Exposure comes from the content you are putting out —writing articles, podcasts as host or guest, books, live streams and social media. Rarely are the results immediate, which is what causes many people to give up before rewards are seen. Think of it as building lurkers (people watching you that you have no idea are there). Although it can sometimes feel like you’re shouting into an echo chamber, chances are, there are prospects watching what you’re doing.
These “lurkers” are building a relationship with you. They are finding you as a trusted resource for their needs. If you keep providing value, they will step forward and then begin the journey from onlooker to customer.
Exposure takes discipline. Keep putting out valuable content. Gain exposure in whatever mediums you can. But don’t attempt to do it all! Strategically put yourself in front of your intended customers as frequently as possible.
3. Open to relationships
We know businesses are built on relationships, right? The suggestion here is to be open to relationships. Sometimes the value in connecting with someone can’t be seen right away. Perhaps in our attempt to protect our time and keep at bay the number of people that want to “pick our brain,” we may not be remaining as open as we might think. If you have all the business you need right now, maybe this is not the most essential element for you. However, it also holds the greatest possibility of a pretty immediate return.
There’s no doubt you’ve had the experience of a random meeting leading to something — a chance meeting or moment of synchronicity. It may have led to immediate business, a great introduction or the building of a relationship. It has also been the story of great romances.
The point is, we don’t always know what’s around the corner and who we might meet. If you remain open to relationships, you increase your willingness to put yourself in situations where a beneficial meeting of the minds, or heart, just might occur.
Even now, quite sometime after the lockdown and pandemic, many people are not as actively interacting with other people. Perhaps they’re not going to networking events or attending professional meetings, leaving themselves less open to relationships than is best for business growth. Create as many opportunities for something good to happen as possible!
Promotional efforts will tend to be paid advertising with anticipated shorter-term results. It could be paid ads on social media, email marketing, marketing pieces or any effort where you are expecting a bit more of a direct ROI.
Promotional efforts are a good balance to other efforts and satisfies the desire to take action now and hope for more immediate results. That’s not to say it’s always a short-term strategy. An entire business can be driven by paid and unpaid promotion over a long strategy. The difference is, for promotional effort to be effective, there is typically a need to closely monitor the ROI, whether it’s return on money or time invested. A proactive promotional strategy assures that you’re taking action towards your goals.
5. Lead magnets
The concept of a lead magnet says it all. You are leading a prospect to a deeper relationship by offering something truly magnetic. It’s a point of direct value exchange. You provide value. The potential customers opt-in to a more committed relationship with you, at least in the form of providing an email.
The goal here is clear and intentional. You are leading a prospect closer to you through an exchange of value. It’s like the ask in a sale. If you don’t ask, rarely will you get. If you don’t lead, you’re not offering your expertise. Or as Wayne Gretzky famously said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
The goal of a lead magnet is a direct request, or exchange, to open up the channel of a prospect to becoming a customer. This more direct action is an excellent balance to other actions that are longer-term.
What’s the absolute easiest way to get more customers? Make the ones you have insanely happy by being exceptional. Yes, exceptional.
Anything less than exceptional may not be enough to make your business memorable or to inspire referrals. This also requires a system to maintain your existing customers and to inspire referrals.
To feed this potentially bountiful system of getting customers, I highly recommend carefully tracking and constantly implementing strategies to increase customer loyalty and referrals. It’s often the lowest hanging fruit, and it can reward you with the quickest results.
As a good system should be, this is about a healthy balance. Amongst these six essential elements are efforts that will pay off in the short term and in the long term. Consider these six elements like a checklist or elements of a healthy ecosystem. When each element is taken care of, you create a consistent flow of incoming customers now and in the future.
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