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Have a plan

Businesses are always seeking new clients and most companies do so without a plan or use a process to find new clients. Making 100 sales calls per month isn’t productive anymore when you consider the odds to close new business is about 1% at best. New business development programs have been around for decades. Yet we keep searching for a full proof system that doesn’t require effort.

Maybe it’s time to stop searching, and time to begin with a plan or process that will help your business today. For those who want to grow their business, use these 8 tips. You might be surprised how these tips (reminders) can help your business grow this year.

1-   Existing Clients Bring More Business.

After we close a new client, typically we move on to look for the next new client. This is time consuming and not always rewarding.

Existing clients can bring you more business. For example, ask what their goals are and see how you can help them reach those goals. In turn, they just might buy more from you. Also, when you ask them for referrals, you might be surprised to see how eager they are to help you.

2-   Go Beyond What Is Expected.

Providing the goods and services to your existing clients is the easy part. Go one step further. Show interest in their industry and learn more about it. Use your network, or contacts to see if someone might be a good match for your client.

3-   Painkillers Remove Headaches.

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Learn how to listen to your customers

It doesn’t matter what type of business or service you provide, the reason why a client does business with you is to remove their pain. So become a “listener.” Whether you are at a cocktail party, an event or other social gathering, let a potential, or existing clients vent their pain. This might sound strange, but gaining their loyalty and being there to listen will show you are interested. Who knows, you might just have a solution to lessen their pain.

4-   Power Partners.

Surround yourself with similar businesses. Ask how they built their customer base and what things they did right and wrong. Ask how they improved their sales and if they have a new business development program. You may not get all the answers you are looking for, but you can learn from their mistakes to avoid those pitfalls.

Another great business source are your vendors. Ask them who they know that could use your products or services. It’s ok to request an introduction, just make sure you are offering your vendor an incentive. It can be a finder fee after you make that new sale, or a gift card to a nice restaurant.

5-   Networking Face-to-Face.

Belonging to groups online, such as LinkedIn is fine. But the best way to find new business is through the traditional face-to-face meetings. Some people call these one-on-one meetings. The point is to meet prospects in person, while keeping your online social network active.

6-   Elevator Speech.

This is the most known term in business, the elevator speech. Unfortunately most sales people, even business owners cannot explain their business in a short 30-second speech. Probably because we want to tell everything about our business fearing we might miss something in a short introduction. One way to better understand the elevator speech is to ask your self what would you put on a billboard, or say in a 30-second TV commercial. I recommend having two maybe three different elevator speeches. They can be written for specific markets, or industries. Then use the one that is most appropriate.

7-   Get Noticed. Stand Out in the Crowd.

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Make yourself and business known

No matter how successful or popular a business or person might be, they are continually marketing themselves through all forms of media: print, broadcast, mailers, and social media. A day almost doesn’t go by without reading about Apple, UPS, Taylor Swift, or Kim Kardashian to name a few.

This doesn’t mean you have to spend millions, or invent the first smart phone to get noticed. You need to be creative. Join a local community program or offer your spare time to a charity. If you are a B2B company, or B2C, you can use social media to build your awareness. Using publicity is another inexpensive form of media that will get you noticed.

8-   Do Your Homework Before Making Any Contact.

Know what the company is selling, if they have more than one location, who their competition is, and where they fit into their market are just a few things to know before making that first sales call. Being knowledgeable about their company can give you the advantage over your competition.

These tips might sound like reminders, and they are, and you’re probably saying, “I have used a few of these in the past”, well, that’s the problem. These should be used all the time. So why aren’t you using them? Now get your team together and make this part of your new business development program.

If you need further help in growing your business to the next level, give George Carson a call at 949-477-9400 or you could wait until your competitors call him first!

As a business entrepreneur, it is very difficult to know if you are making good or bad decisions. Or if you chose the right type of business. So how did you get started, and how do you avoid any of these mistakes?angry-boss1

Starting a business in your mid 40’s or 50’s can be fulfilling, but has its risks if you don’t have any guidelines, especially if this is your first venture. To help you avoid being one of the 80% of businesses that fail in their first three years, review these mistakes that many businesses have made over the years.

1-    Start with a passion and keep it going. When you started the business you might have thought you had clarity and direction. Try to not get caught up in the “BUT” excuses. For example, if you are not a super salesperson or know how to generate sales leads, don say “I don’t know how to do this”, rather seek help and do some research to find how to improve your sales approach. Don’t make excuses for not knowing how things get done.

2-    Are you undercapitalized? Don’t rely on banks or other financial institutions lending you money because you have a great product/service. Banks are not in the business of loaning money to new businesses, it’s just a fact in life. So make sure you have enough capital to keep your business afloat for several months to a year before jumping in.

Before starting, estimate the overhead to run the business, consult with friends or colleagues who have their own business and ask questions on how they managed their first year and what expenses they did not expect. There are a few organizations available to help such as SCORE who can provide guidance and direction.

3-    Build it and they will come. If you want to start a business based on the fact you have a unique product and people are just waiting to buy, think again. People have developed buying habits and the only way to break into that habit is to let people know you exist and have a great product. Offer compelling reasons why they should switch to your product.

bigstock-Businessman-Circling-Success-41064631Do your homework. Identify who your customers are, and then develop a plan how to sell to them. The two simple reasons people buy are to avoid pain and gain pleasure. Not just aches, but the pain of not liking something, such as their kitchen, their clothes, or poor skin or hair.

4-    Know when to quit. This is about an exit strategy. Even though you are just starting out, knowing how you plan to leave the business will help you develop a plan to grow the business. Sounds weird, but this will help give you some clarity to building up the business.

Keeping track of your investment and what you plan to get out of it puts things in focus. Did you know that 90% of businesses that go up for sale never get sold? So have an exit strategy.

5-    Support from those you know, especially family. Starting a business is a commitment, and that will put a lot of stress on a family. In the beginning most of your time will be dedicated to building the business, and that should be clearly understood when you take this giant leap. After you get a foothold and the business becomes profitable then you need to take time off. If you are married and have children, you need to take a break from work. Vacations, even short, two day camping trips will re-energize you and keep the family supportive.

To sum all this up:                                                                                                                                 Keep the Passion, Have Clarity and Continue To Learn From Others

Give George Carson a call when you need to build more traffic to your business. A solid publicity campaign and marketing strategy can keep your passion alive! Call: 949-477-9400 today.