Even experienced professionals who’ve grown their businesses organically (via referrals, word of mouth and personal contacts) are finding new business development difficult in today’s competitive market. Buyers are better informed and have a variety of channels and ways to purchase the products and services you offer. However, doing nothing is no longer an option.
I’d like to show you a simple five-step process that anyone can follow to attract more and better clients with less effort. It comprises the following steps:
• Focus on a niche market
• Create a target list
• Create a buzz piece
• Employ high-impact prospecting
• Automate your follow-up process
If you work on only one step a week, in just a few weeks you’ll have a marketing system in place to help you attract more clients with less effort. Let’s explore each step of the process in more detail.
Step 1: Focus on a niche market
Focusing on a market niche is one of the most important strategic decisions you can make for the growth of your business.
Research done by successful top producers shows that focusing offers several advantages: specialty/niche business is more profitable, easier to retain and obtain leads for, and provides a stream of new business through referrals.
The first step to finding an ideal market is to become very clear about the type of client (or clients) that are best suited to your business. Once you know what you are looking for, everything else will fall into place.
There is no magic formula for finding your ideal markets, so begin with the markets that you’re currently serving, and ask yourself these questions:
• What are the markets of your best clients?
• Is this a good fit for you and your business?
• Is this of interest to you and your staff?
• Do you have strong non-client referral sources?
Step 2: Create a target list
Create a target list of prospects that fit your ideal client profile. When building your list, quality always trumps quantity.
You are much better off with 50 good names that you’ve sourced than randomly compiling a list of 10,000 names. Three ways to create a target list:
• Your existing network
• Previous employers
Step 3: Create a buzz piece that focuses on your prospects’ problems and challenges
A buzz piece is an effective tool that can act as a magnet to draw high prospective clients to your business. It’s also referred to as a guide or special report but can be created in a variety of formats, including:
• How-to guides
• List of tips
A good buzz piece is typically published in an electronic or print format. It can make every aspect of the marketing and promotion of your services easier by wetting your prospects’ appetite for the kinds of services you provide. They will want to learn more about who you are and what you do.
Step 4: Employ high-impact prospecting tactics
You can’t acquire a client until you have a lead. Prospecting is not just about generating the most leads possible; it’s also about quality. There is no single method or combination of prospecting tactics that is ideal for all professionals; many top professionals employ one or more of the following tactics:
• Tapping your personal network: Let family, friends and acquaintances know about what you do and the types of value that you provide for your clients – and ask for referrals and introductions.
• Warm email prospecting: Send personalized emails with a customized message, using your bait piece to draw prospects to you.
• Networking: Join organizations of your target niche markets, and offer to send prospective clients your free special report.
• Website: Create a website that can be used to get prospects to request your free special report and to opt into your mailing list so you can continue to build a relationship with them.
Step 5: Automate your follow-up process
It can take some time before a prospect is converted to a client. You need to stay on their radar and remind them of your value, using a variety of methods.
It’s easy to get busy servicing existing clients and forget to follow up prospective clients who’ve shown an interest in your services but are not yet ready to do business with you.
You can automate your follow-up process to allow you to send additional communications such as newsletters and follow-up email messages in a timely manner.
It may appear that building a marketing system is complex, but it really isn’t. In fact, if you work to implement one of these steps each week, in as little as three to four weeks you can have a marketing system in place that’s probably doing a lot more for you than what you have currently. The marketing process I’ve outlined works very well for many top professionals, and I truly think it will work well for you too.
This is a slightly amended version of an article written by Clifton Warren, principal of Corporate Eye Consulting. It has been shortened to make it suitable for web publishing.
Have your previous marketing efforts been filled with good intentions but delivered little tangible results? I know from speaking to other professionals that finding, attracting and acquiring new business is still one of the toughest challenges.