We are all looking for new business and we spend so much time focussed on the new opportunities it is easy to overlook what may be under our nose. I don’t need to remind you how much easier it is to get business from those who know you already as opposed to engaging with new people and then taking the time to grow that relationship before we are able to convert them into a new client/customer.
So let me share some suggestions that I hope will have you thinking differently and perhaps may deliver opportunities that were missed in the past.
1. Have a look through your database and look at all those who gave you business in the past.
You have lost contact with them and perhaps your offering has changed. Use this as a reason for a coffee and a catch up. Check out their website and see how much they have changed. Are your original contacts still there or can you lever your past relationship to get a meeting with a new contact or department.
You may have lost contact because your relationship broke down, perhaps you may have let them down in the past and they no longer wanted to do business with you. Here is an opportunity to rebuild this relationship by telling them how much you have changed or perhaps you might suggest that you will look after them personally.
You may feel these are difficult conversations but they are a lot easier than trying to build a new relationship with a stranger.
2. How much of your products or service are you up selling?
It is quite common to have a relationship with a customer but their needs change and we don’t respond to it. When was the last time you sat down with a customer/client and had a conversation about their changing needs. Are they aware that you may have introduced new products or do they see you as the company they started doing business with x years ago.
3. Are you asking for referrals?
Hopefully, you have a number of very satisfied clients and how easy it is to take them for granted. However, these people know people just like themselves who could benefit from your products or services, do you ever ask them? It is not difficult, as part of a meeting I suggest that you ask, what are we doing well, what could we do better. This may give you some better insights into how you are performing. If they are really happy they will say so and that presents the opportunity to ask them if they know someone who could benefit from what you offer. A warm introduction is much easier to convert than a cold call. So how many people can you list that may give an introduction.
4. Are you getting testimonials?
Similar to the last section do not be afraid to ask for a testimonial and get permission to use their details on it. We tend to get embarrassed asking for these but look at it from the other side, would you give a testimonial to a supplier that was giving you great service, I would suspect yes is the answer. Try to get specifics rather than ‘they offer a great service’ or similar bland statements. A simple formula is – what was the problem, what was its impact, what was the solution and how did our product or service resolve it, what was the impact of that? Here is an example;
I was struggling to free up time so I could focus on building my business. This meant that I was working long hours, missing many family events and being stressed. Alec introduced me to his ‘Destination Success’ plan which very quickly showed me how to manage my business more efficiently. I now have time to focus on the important issues and enjoy the family events which were so important to me.
5. Are your work colleagues aware of who you are trying to target?
I was talking with a business owner who told me they write the names of key people they wish to engage on a whiteboard as a reminder to staff to keep an eye out for a way of meeting with them. One day a new receptionist was staring at the board and a senior sales person asked what interested her. She asked what the board was about and it was explained to her. She pointed to their number one target and said, he is my brother in law and we meet every week, enough said.
I was talking with someone else in financial services at a launch of his new software system that was prompted by this story. He was working in New York and was trying to contact someone senior in another financial house for months without success. Finally, after failing to get through again he said ***** that person and was overheard by a colleague at the next desk who asked who he was trying to contact. It appeared that his colleague went to school with this person and they meet up regularly for BBQ’s, contact made.
The point of these two true stories is that the answer may be right beside you.
Can I suggest that you go through your database and start a new list using the criteria above. You may find a reservoir of untapped wealth sitting in front of you.
I talk about this and other valuable networking opportunities, more details here: