Keep tunnelling! How to entice clients to work with you
It’s been a tough year for many businesses. And as we head into winter with continued lockdowns, the next few months aren’t looking any more optimistic.
However, there are still opportunities, if you know where to look, are creative in how you adapt your business, and practice good business principles.
So how can you, as a business owner, entice clients to continue working and trading with you? And customers to keep buying from you? In this article we explore some tips to help.
Set smarter goals
Rather than making a goal to have X amount of customers by month Y, instead say you want to make Z amount of sales. Push for more sales with current customers, and expand your loyal base.
And to make this a reality you need to set yourself SMART goals and work towards them. Here are some goal-focussed actions you can take.
- Increase your marketing for the specific kinds of customers you enjoy working with. Do they work in a mainly B2B industry or B2C? Target their issues, with PPC, keyword research, video marketing and surveys to entice them to look deeper into what you offer.
- Give specific discounts. Setting your client base apart from new customers is vital as you’ll need different strategies – and offers – for each distinct group. Your customers will need to go on a journey, from discovering you and making their first purchase, to loving what you do and following you, reading your emails and making repeat purchases. Consider what offers and discounts people will respond to at each stage that will encourage purchase and loyalty.
- Make it a goal to increase communication with your clientele. Set up market research meetings to gauge their views and what they need to get through to the new year. Would they like more of the same product from you? Do they want to collaborate on a marketing campaign? Would they need help to make ties with export or importers?
Make it easier to purchase
How easy is it for customers to actually buy from you? It may sound like an obvious question, but it’s an important one to look into.
The fewer barriers there are to purchase, the more likely it is that customers will buy from you. So look a each stage of the buying journey and check that it’s obvious how and where they buy, and that you’re making full use of technology solutions.
For example, how do you accept payments online? Rather than having clunky individual options, use software that allows you to accept PayPal, Google Pay, Visa, Mastercard and American Express, etc.
Even if you’re not an online e-commerce business, having the option for customers and clients to pay online in any currency makes it easier for everyone to work with you, including importers and exporters.
It’s also good to be able to generate invoices on the spot, so you can send them over instantly – even why you are on the phone to a client, and for them to be cross-platform, so whether you’re on a tablet or smartphone, you can make a sale whenever you want.
Secure more funding
It may be that you need to make changes that will drastically improve your business’ potential you can’t yet afford. Or you might have ambitious expansion plans right now.
If so, this may be a good time to secure investment. Not only will this give you more business manoeuvrability, but it’s also a vote of confidence in your business that will help to reassure other potential partners. This is because securing investment demonstrates that an investor or company believes in your project and your ability to execute it.
Having online investor meetings is a good way to pitch your project to as many investors as possible. It’s also handy to do this online, because you can speak with many people at once. You can have a virtual room of 100 people in a Zoom call, for one hour and then do the same with a new room for the same amount of time.
You can also use a pre-recorded presentation to show clients. This is a great way to save time and energy. You can also make it your best take and best public speaking performance and use the best take to show clients what you’re about. No more worrying about hiccups during live pitches.
Reassure clients that you are not a security risk
During lockdown, virtually all businesses have had to find new ways of working online. Remote working and online meetings have become the new norm. And with is has come a greater concern for online security – after all, the more we rely on software and take our business online, the more we place ourselves at risk of hacking.
Reassuring clients you are not going to become a security risk while using lots of different software can be difficult. So make sure you implement network-level security improvements.
This means working with managed IT services. They will not only create robust firewalls, but instill proper machine practice. Employees will be trained to change their passwords, making them long and difficult to hack, never leave their machines while logged in, even if they’re at home, etc. Implement encryption strategies, so your data can never be deciphered, too.
Having large-scale data security protocols and protections is vital, but you must also prove to clients that your premises are also secure. To achieve this, cameras, alarms and secure locks need to be in place. At the very least, you can give them a tour of your offices upon their arrival and give them the confidence they need to work with you.
Keep being you!
As tempting as it can be to follow the crowd, especially if a competitor appears to have discovered a brilliant formula for success, it’s important to be you. After all, your customers appreciate who you are, and it’s essential that you carve out your own niche, and not simply end up a pale imitation of someone else’s.
So don’t try to be the next Apple, if you’re a tech company. Don’t try to emulate Tesla, Nike or any other famous brand. You have to continue to build your own brand and image.
To succeed in establishing your own unique identity, brand positioning is key. You need to angle yourself to be in a specific part of the market and stick to it. Are you an affordable brand, targeting the middle class? Are you a niche brand, targeting the affluent? What type of image do you wish to project?
You can establish and maintain your market position by doing a few things.
- Competitive pricing: Make sure you are tracking how your rivals are changing their prices. Are they trying to undercut you? Are they trying to run discount campaigns when you have lowered your price? Are you cutting too much and thus, entering into another market space just to try and compete?
- Keyword research: Marketing campaigns depend heavily on great SEO techniques. You need to be at the top of the list when it comes to keywords. This requires you bid for the top keywords, work with Google Ads and develop campaigns that incorporate the keywords the best way possible, during the short space of time you have them as exclusives or a head start.
- Branding: Evolve your brand when you need to. Don’t stay too close to the old but gold branding. Every company from Pepsi, to McDonald’s, has evolved. Change your slogan every decade, reinvent your logo when you have gone into a new era and be consistent when you need to, such as packaging and video ads.
Mergers and acquisitions
If you’re an ambitious business owner, you might be eyeing a point in the future when your small business grows. And you can show other companies who you wish to work with that you have come of age by making acquisitions and participating in mergers.
This can directly done, or indirectly done on your behalf. Indirectly, can be when you part-own a business and want it to become larger, so you merge it with another company that you also own. If you have two micro-businesses, you can merge the two into a small business.
Going from 20-30 employees, the business is now 50+ employees. It can mean that you can offer an IPO. An initial public offering can boost your stock market value, and the merger alone can send the price of your stock up.
To directly merge a business will mean your own business is being merged into another entity. This needs to be considered carefully before making a move. You will lose majority control of your business, as it will either be 50-50, or a lesser stake.
Making an acquisition makes more sense, as you simply need to buy majority control. You can keep the same employees who just work for you, while not being run by you. A director, chairman or CEO can be left in place to carry on as usual. Both types of rapid expansion will be attractive in terms of overall value gains.
It’s very important to work with clients during this crisis. Since the decline of the economy, going it alone is tough. So, working with other businesses, especially clients, will boost your sales potential and lessen the expenditure burden.