Do you ever think that you could do more to attract or retain business but you’re not sure exactly where you are going wrong?
Try this technique to see if it will help you:
Get a pen/pencil/phone/ipad etc and make a table like the one below. Fill in all the communication methods you use. These might include email, face to face networking, Facebook ads, leaflets.
How I communicate with prospective clients
How I communicate with existing clients
Now think about each item on the list. Do you plan what you are going to say when? Do you have a schedule or timescale for communications? Do you know what return on investment each gives you? Are you trying to do too many things?
Be Proactive Not Reactive
It’s very easy to get into a reactive mindset where you react to a lack of clients or lack of funds and suddenly send out an email or react to existing customers only when they reach out to you or when you want to sell them a new product or service.
If you can start to communicate proactively, this might be one step on the way to gaining more clients or helping to retain existing ones.
How do I become more proactive?
One suggestion is to schedule and then automate your social media posting and email campaigns. Before you dash away to do this be careful not to become one of those people who rolls out the same text and the same image over and over again and schedules it to send to all their platforms at the same time. You should make sure you tailor the text, and image where appropriate, to each platform and its audience and keep it fresh by making sure you don’t repeat the same message too often.
A second technique to be proactive is to have a strategy of when and how to reach out to existing clients. Find the medium they prefer the most (yes, ask the client – don’t just do what is easiest for you!) and contact them using that medium with something of value to them. As I’m sure you know, it is easier to retain an existing client than to find a new one so make sure you are doing all you can to maintain good relationships. You might make the first of the month the day you find articles or other products or services that might be of interest to your top five clients and get in touch at the appropriately planned time according to each client to share them.
Next, look back at your table. Do you have time for all of the things you have listed? If not, think about ways to either save time by automating (as suggested above) or delegating. If these are not viable options, then perhaps look at removing some of the less productive items from the list to focus more time on the things that do give you a good return on your investment of time and/or money.
What if I Don’t Know the ROI?
If you aren’t sure which of your methods gives you the best return on your investment, spend a bit of time setting up some systems to find out. You could be spending money on leaflets that aren’t bringing in customers whereas a listing on a local directory could be very profitable for you without you even realising.
Engagement, Engagement, Engagement
Finally, make sure you are engaging with other people in whatever medium you are using. If you are using social media, make sure you comment on the posts of other people or get involved with groups, rather than just promoting yourself. If you are calling a client or meeting for coffee, don’t just talk about your business ask them what’s going on in theirs; this might lead to new opportunities. If you are meeting face to face, don’t get distracted by your phone – focus on the person you are talking to. Communication takes time and the key is building a good relationship with others whether it is in person or virtually. You can’t do that with adverts alone.