3 proven recipes to help you win customers (and keep them too)
A few years ago – during the recession- I compiled a blog called “How not to fail in business”, with useful tips from my clients how to survive as a solopreneur. During those tough years everyone had to work even harder than normal to win and keep customers.
And we learnt not to take anything for granted. It seems you still can’t several years on!
It’s why I want to share with you three of my proven strategies to get new clients … and, of course, keep your existing ones too.
But first things first…
There are different ways to bring in new business:
One great way to get more business is to offer something new to your existing clients.
Another is to sell what you currently offer to a new target audience. This option can be especially worthwhile when potential customers in a different market are willing to pay higher fees than your current customers.
But how do you work out what’s best for your business?
Be innovative (and never assume what customers need)
In the start-up workshops I used to run, I would always notice new business owners relying on gut instinct when refining their service. I made that mistake too 25 years ago when I founded my training business. I assumed I had a great service that would be much in demand – but had to learn quickly that it pays to verify your assumptions!
Carrying out some research doesn’t just help new business owners. Even established business owners should check regularly they haven’t missed any new developments or changes in their market that affect their customers’ needs.
I think it’s a good idea to do some research at least once a year. The summer period (or the end of a year) can be a perfect time to do it and consider all the options. You may well experience the ‘lightbulb moment’ that helps you update your existing service or even create a new one!
When your service is always fresh, innovative and up to date, your offering will be more desirable than your competitors’ and highly relevant too – whatever the state of the economy. The time you spend updating your offerings is never wasted – being innovative has worked well for me for over 25 years!
Care about your existing customers … and care some more
There is nothing worse than losing one of your best, long-term customers, and not understanding why. Not only can it give you a bit of a shock, it can have a major impact on your business.
The first time it happened to me, I realised too late that I should have communicated better and more regularly with my client. It taught me that you should never take client relationships for granted. Being close to your clients helps you understand what’s happening behind the scenes – and this could help you to prevent the worst case scenario.
All the solopreneur businesses I see doing well, get that! They talk regularly to their customers and, more importantly, listen attentively too.
When you care about your existing customers and know exactly what they want, it’s much easier to go the extra mile by providing added benefits and greater value.
Whether the value is in what or how you deliver or how you maintain the customer relationship after delivery, it helps to differentiate you from the competition. And this will invariably lead to renewed contracts and new referrals. (There are several added bonuses here!)
Make the payment process really easy
This is such an easy but often over-looked way to add value that could help you win customers. For example, you could break big projects into manageable and affordable chunks (where applicable), and work with stage payments – a method often used by web designers.
Quite a few of my solopreneur clients have adopted this approach, much to their customers’ delight!
Offering different payment options can be useful too – for example, don’t refuse cheques, credit card or PayPal payments because they are costly or inconvenient for you.
By understanding YOUR customers’ preferred choice of payment, they won’t just be happier. You’ll find getting paid easier, and improve your cash flow too.
So here they are – three important strategies to help your solo-business win and keep customers and … ultimately… thrive!
What works for you? Why not share your ideas with our readers?