Seven tips for generating new business profitably

Bringing in new customers is essential to the long-term future of your business but it can be costly and time-consuming. We look at seven ways you can bring in the customers you need, while keeping your costs low.

  1. Qualify your leads

    Each contact that you approach could bring in new business – but they’re not all equal. Some are more likely to convert, some will be worth more when they do, some may be more likely to stick with you in the long-term. All of these factors affect their worth – and therefore the time you should invest. Many sales people use the BANT model to evaluate leads. This stands for Budget, Authority, Need and Timeline and can help you to understand whether the prospect is worth pursuing. Those with a higher score should be your focus.
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  2. Know what’s working now

    We live in a world where we have access to more data than ever before, so it pays to use it to understand more about your sales. Look for commonalities in your new customers. Where do they come from? Where are they based? What type of business do they have? What motivated them to buy? You can also look at how your marketing and sales are working together to see which channels and content help to convert people. By understanding this, you’ll know where to focus your efforts.
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  3. Use lookalikes to target the right people

    Once you understand your existing customers, you’ll know who is a good fit and can target new prospects more effectively. Finding people who are similar can increase your success rates and lower your costs, because they are more likely to sign up. If they’re the right fit for your business, they’ll also be more likely to stay with you too, increasing their long term value.
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  4. Make the most of referrals

    Did you know that fewer than 1% of cold calls lead to a sale but 55% of referrals generate new business. If you can get a personal introduction, that figure rises to 80%. Research shows that on average, 91% of customers say they’d give referrals but only 11% of businesses ask for them. Don’t be afraid to ask.
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  5. Tell stories

    People are naturally cautious about spending and some customers will see advertising as a cost, rather than an investment. By telling them stories of other businesses who have achieved success, you not only offer proof but also help them to associate more strongly with the business involved and understand the benefits of working with you. They’re also more likely to remember your pitch – research shows that 63% of people remember stories but only 5% remember statistics.
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  6. Outsource some or all of your customer acquisition

    Using a media partner can reduce your costs, as you only pay when you have guaranteed new business. That means there are no costs until the sale is closed, which reduces your overheads and fixed expenses. The right media partner will also ensure that they are targeting the customers who will be a good fit so they’re more likely to sign up.
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  7. Don’t neglect your existing customers

    Many businesses fall into the trap of putting their resources into generating new business at the expense of supporting existing clients. You’ve probably experienced it yourself: the annoyance of special deals only available to new customers; finding it much harder to contact someone once you’re a customer; freephone numbers for new enquiries but charges for existing customers. Don’t fall into the trap. It costs between 4 and 10 times as much to acquire a new customer as it does to keep an existing one, so it’s worth keeping them happy. Not only that, they’re a source of referrals and positive word of mouth, so do invest in keeping them happy. Have regular contact with your customers, provide them with useful content and take the time to help them refine their campaigns. They’ll be more likely to stay and possibly increase their spend too.
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